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Unsealed Bucks court records reveal how decades of lies unraveled into cold-case murder arrest

William Korzon's admitted deceptions to police helped prosecutors charge him in his wife's 1981 disappearance.

William Korzon, 76, is escorted out of district court in Jamison after his arraignment in April. He's accused of killing his wife, Gloria, in 1981.
William Korzon, 76, is escorted out of district court in Jamison after his arraignment in April. He's accused of killing his wife, Gloria, in 1981.Read moreVinny Vella / Staff (custom credit)

In February, William Korzon was pressured into facing nearly 40-year-old lies in front of an investigating grand jury, falsehoods pertaining to the mysterious disappearance of his wife, Gloria, according to court records unsealed last week.

An investigative grand jury’s presentment, including voluminous detail from investigators and former friends of Korzon’s, was revealed late Friday, after a motion to make public was filed in Bucks County Court by The Inquirer. It provides insight into how prosecutors were able to bring murder charges against the 76-year-old in one of the county’s most persistent cold cases.

During the testimony summarized in the presentment, Korzon admitted that he lied that Gloria had briefly visited him at their Warrington Township home a year after being reported missing in 1981. He admitted that he had forged her signature on checks, promissory notes, and even a Mother’s Day card to “steal her money.” And he even conceded that it would be “unusual” for a 38-year-old woman to leave a turbulent, violent marriage with little more than the clothes on her back and without taking her driver’s license, Social Security card, and other personal documents later recovered by investigators.

What Korzon didn’t admit to was killing Gloria. He repeatedly denied it during that same testimony that focused so much on tarnishing his credibility.

Still, the grand jury elected to charge him with her slaying, and Korzon was taken into custody at his York County home in April.

Korzon’s attorney, Keith Williams, did not return a request for comment Monday. Korzon remains in custody, denied bail given the nature of his charges. Gloria Korzon was legally declared dead in 1997.

Besides Korzon himself, the grand jury heard from Barbara Gordeuk, his former girlfriend, and the Warrington Township police officers who elected to resume the investigation in 2016, according to the presentment.

Gordeuk’s testimony about her relationship with Korzon contained details that were eerily similar to the physical abuse he put Gloria Korzon through, as documented by multiple police reports filed before her disappearance.

Korzon repeatedly struck Gordeuk during their relationship and once threatened her during a fight by saying “the same thing was going to happen to [her] that happened to Gloria,” according to the grand jury presentment.

Gordeuk’s testimony also revealed that she, like Korzon, had previously made false statements about Gloria’s disappearance to “protect herself." She admitted to the grand jury that Korzon had given her Gloria’s birth certificate to put into a safe-deposit box, and that she had witnessed Korzon and his since-deceased mother forging the promissory notes.

She also alleged that Korzon’s mother routinely called the house in Warrington she shared with Korzon, pretending to be Gloria. And she drew attention to a patch of concrete in the home’s basement that seemed newer than the rest of the foundation.

Samuel Culp, a former tenant of Korzon’s, also described the patch to the grand jury, saying he “knew it was his wife’s grave.” Culp also testified that Korzon solicited his help in an aborted plot to kill a Warrington Township police officer, and that Korzon appeared at his wife’s office, visibly angry, after police searched his home years after Gloria’s disappearance.

Culp told the grand jury he feared Korzon saw him as “a liability” because he knew about the conspicuous concrete in the basement, according to the presentment.

Bucks County Detective David Hanks testified that investigators used ground-penetrating radar in 2018 and discovered that the basement foundation had been disturbed since the home’s construction, but no body was found.