York County man arrested in '81 homicide of wife in Bucks County

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
William Walter Korzon

A York County man accused of battering his wife for years until she disappeared in Bucks County in 1981 is now accused of killing her — and also is accused of trying to arrange the murder of a police officer investigating him.

William Walter Korzon, 76, of the 200 block of Barcroft Road in Lower Windsor Township, is now in Bucks County Prison without bail, charged with homicide, solicitation to commit homicide, perjury and four counts of forgery, according to court records.

He was arraigned on the felony charges Thursday, April 18.

When questioned earlier this year about his wife's death, Korzon asked, "Did you find the body?" according to charging documents.

But as he was led out of the courthouse Thursday, he told reporters that "she went to Florida" and has no idea where her body is, according to The Associated Press.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said he and investigators haven't given up hope that Gloria Korzon's body will eventually be found.

"Whether that occurs remains to be seen," Weintraub said. "We had hoped to locate Gloria Korzon and bring her home to her family. ... (But) we cannot just wait and hope for this case to improve."

Circumstantial case: The DA acknowledged it will be a difficult — and circumstantial — case to prosecute because of the absence of a body. The victim would have turned 76 years old on Easter Sunday, he said.

"The shadow of this case has loomed over us for decades, and we did not give up," Warrington Township (Bucks County) Police Chief Daniel Friel said at the news conference, adding there was a sense of urgency to close the case because those involved are getting older.

Police said the investigation into the disappearance of Gloria Korzon has been ongoing since 1981, when the Korzons lived in Bucks County. She was declared dead in 1997, Weintraub said.

"She did go to work that day — that we have proof of," the DA said. "And afterward, there is absolutely no evidence of her continued existence for the 38 years since that fateful day."

Meanwhile, William Korzon appears to have stayed below the radar, according to Weintraub.

"I think he was living a relatively regular life," and he moved to York County about 25 years ago, the DA said. The couple had no children together, he said.

Admitted batterer? William Korzon has admitted that he beat and battered Gloria Korzon for years after their marriage in January 1967, according to allegations in charging documents.

"Police records show that during the course of their marriage, William Korzon ... (was) the perpetrator of repeated domestic abuse towards his wife Gloria," charging documents against him state.

In December 1967, he was arrested in Springfield, Massachusetts, for threatening to kill her, after which he was committed to a state mental hospital there and eventually moved to a veteran's hospital in Connecticut, according to documents.

That's where he "underwent a surgical procedure on his thyroid that was purportedly (supposed) to reduce his aggressive tendencies," documents state.

'Numerous violent assaults': The Korzons moved to the Philadelphia area in 1968. Between that time and 1981, "various police agencies" in the area investigated numerous violent assaults in which William Korzon assaulted and threatened to kill his wife, according to charging documents.

Those assaults left her with injuries including a broken arm, broken collarbone and  bruising and damage to the bones in her nose — many of which required hospitalizations, documents allege.

"Gloria documented Korzon's history of abuse against her in a series of letters she wrote to her attorney," according to documents. "She also sent a letter to her father and advised him not to open it unless something happened to her."

She disappeared March 6, 1981, after which "It is as though she ceased to exist," according to charging documents.

Lied, concealed, profited? "Within days, William Korzon went to Gloria's place of employment and advised her manager to terminate her because of poor mental and physical health," charging documents state. "He retrieved her belongings and requested that her final paycheck be sent to their home."

William Walter Korzon

He sent a Mother's Day card to his dead wife's mother in May 1981 and signed her name to it, later admitting he was trying to keep up appearances that Gloria Korzon was still alive, documents allege.

He forged her signature on checks issued to her and filed a joint income tax return four months after she went missing, documents allege.

"In the months and years following Gloria's disappearance, William Korzon engaged in a series of actions to lie, conceal and profit" from his wife's disappearance and death, documents state. "He forged documents, lied to police investigators and perjured himself in court, all in an effort to give the appearance that Gloria was still alive."

In 1986, her driver's license, Social Security card, medical-insurance card and voter registration card were found in William Korzon's home and were given to police by his girlfriend at the time, documents state.

Tried to solicit cop's murder? Charging documents allege that in the months after his wife's disappearance, Wiliam Korzon tried to enlist a former tenant of his Bucks County home to kill a police officer.

The former tenant in 1986 told police that William Korzon solicited him "to help ambush and murder Sgt. Joseph Adams of the Warrington Township Police Department and that Sgt. Adams should be 'blown away,'" charging documents allege.

Adams was one of the officers investigating Gloria Korzon's disappearance, police said.

In 1988, during a hearing in Bucks County Orphan's Court to determine Gloria Korzon's estate, her husband submitted and testified to the authenticity of five forged documents that he claimed were promissory notes for "personal loans" allegedly given to him and Gloria by his mother, according to charging documents.

Forged documents? He also submitted other invoices, all in an attempt "to increase his share of the proceeds from Gloria's estate," his charging documents allege.

But those who purportedly did the work later told the court that the work either was never completed or that the invoices submitted to the court by William Korzon were merely estimates for jobs, not invoices, police allege.

William Korzon subsequently admitted to forging documents and perjuring himself so he could have access to her money, documents state.

Weintraub said Thursday's arrest was the culmination of years of work and cooperation by Bucks County agencies. He also praised the work of a grand jury that heard the case.

"We would not be where we stand today without their efforts," he said of the grand jurors.

It is unclear whether William Korzon has retained an attorney.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Bucks County detectives at 215-348-6344.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.