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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Survivor of Trevose “Family Massacre” Seeks a Place to Call Home

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Pt 1 (1976) The Abt Family Murders

A majority of present day Bucks Countians may know little or nothing of the name Mike Abt when it stands alone, but his name paired with the name of George Geschwendt lives on in Bucks County infamy. 

On Friday, March 12, 1976, Geschwendt ambushed the Abt family and murdered five of the seven family members, one other person, and the family dog. Family members killed in the “massacre” were Cathy, 15, John Jr., 13, Margaret (mother), 46, Margie, 19, John Sr (father), 49. Margie’s boyfriend, Gary Engle, 20 was the final casualty. 

For good measure, Geschwendt executed “Heidi,” the family’s St. Bernard. Geschwendt concealed the dog from sight with articles of clothing and perhaps felt some measure of guilt, according to court records. 

Mike was the first to find all six murdered. 

“My life ended that day,” he said in a whisper. 

“Everything changed for me and my brother. You can’t know what it was like to walk in that door and find that mess.”  

Pt 2 George is Dead 

He is the last of the Trevose Abt’s. Brother Clifford died in August of 1989.

On a brutally cold Levittown night this past January, Mike had one question he wanted answered. 

Where’s George? I heard he died and I’ve tried to find out but no one will tell me anything,” annoyed by his not knowing.   

`His blue/gray eyes seem to change depending on the lighting or sunlight.

With sharp deep blue eyes, he said, “I have a right to know,”. 

He takes a long drag on his Maverick 100 cigarette and then said, “I wanted to kill that Motherf***er for years.

When asked what he thought when **Geschwendt was originally sentenced to death, Mike said, he smelled the aroma of revenge, but not anymore.

George Geschwendt while he was alive in Prison
Credit: Criminal Minds Wiki

He says now, maybe feeling some of that Catholic guilt, “The only person that can take another’s life is God.”  

It was a surprising response considering Geschwendt’s murderous rampage in his childhood home. He did live for many years after, somehow co-existing with the stirring of echoes. 

But it begins to make perfect sense the more you get to know Mike.  He is an enigma of sorts. 

One minute, a loner living in North Carolina with a friend, “Larry” drinking, smoking, laughing. The next minute, holding court telling stories of his misspent 20’s,30’s. etc. He is far from a perfect righteous man.  

A thin and tall white-haired man.  A spitting image of his father, sans  the dark hair. He’s a curmudgeon  of sorts. Smart. Articulate. Can tell a tale that makes you gasp because you’re laughing so hard and loud. 

He’s also caring. Calling his friend, “Larry” everyday to remind him to “take his meds.” He often does this three times a day if needed. His friend has an unrelenting form of cancer, but every morning, he calls yelling into the phone loudly “LARRY! It’s MIKE, time for your meds, man” in a high register gravelly voice.

For everything Mike went through, he is a nice man who is talkative and humorous. Describing the tragedy, he was matter of fact without sounding bitter, thus his interest in wanting to know about Geschwendt.

In February, 2023, Mike, myself and Joanne Ames took a ride back to where it all happened 47 years ago in the Trevose section of Bensalem. 

Days after the trip “back home” Lower Bucks Source (LBS) reached out to law enforcement officials seeking information on Gescwendt’s status. 

With help from state Representative K.C Tomlinson’s office, we were put in touch with Department of Corrections (DOC) Communications Director, Ryan Tarkowski. 

“He died of natural causes in DOC custody on May 22, 2020. He was housed at State Correctional Institution at Waymart in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.”

While eating lunch in January, 2023, Mike read the DOC response. He allowed for a picture to be taken, requesting to omit his face; not wanting anyone to know where he was living at the time. LBS obliged.

He said little to nothing, reading the email exchange that day twice. His  private thoughts were his own and he was unwilling to share them. 

Mike’s father John Credit: UPI wire services

Pt 3 October, 2023  

Mike, if anything, is a guarded person. So much so he’s been unwilling to allow LBS to report some facts about his current situation in this story. This past Friday, he relented and said “I’m gonna trust you…”.

He lost his trust in reporters years ago when one working for a tabloid, he says, bought him a case of beer. They drank it, got drunk and fell asleep. Days later, as ”rag publications” do, there was Mike  sounding like a psychotic loon screaming about how he should be the one to “Throw the switch” on “George.”  

He says the only reporter he ever really trusted was Kathryn Canavan who worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and has written books. She is celebrated for many of her true crime stories before the genre  became cultural phenomena. She declined to comment on the record in April about Mike. It was clear she was fond of him though. 

He said they kept in touch through the years because he “liked her” and “she respected my privacy.” He also said she was writing a book on the murders. 

Canavan would not confirm, or deny, this on the record.  

Since May, Mike has dealt with some serious medical issues. He’s been staying in an array of hotels from one end of Bucks County to the other. This past Saturday, we spoke briefly as he was getting ready to “come back to Lower Bucks until …and then who knows where he’ll go or be. 

He is a proud man in a way that can be unsettling. He refused for months to let us say what he’s been facing. He finally gave in. 

How many people do you know survived the execution style murders of six people? It’s a safe bet the answer is none. 

Mike won’t have a place to be after Monday 11 am. His health isn’t the best and quite honestly how long can a 65 + year old man survive out there? He’ll make a go of it of course, because as he has proven, he is a survivor.

He doesn’t want money either. He just wants a place to live. One “I can afford.”

“ I don’t want no pity party” he yelled at me after agreeing to let us publish a version of this story saying he’ll be out in the street. 

I’m gonna trust you. Don’t F**K me, he said in classic Mike style. 

Editor’s Note: If you want to help Mike please contact Lower Bucks Source in one of the following three ways: On our Facebook book through messenger by clicking here 2) E mailing us at lowerbuckssource23@gmail.com or call 609-362-6325 and leave a detailed message that includes contact information. LBS is NOT asking for any money and or funds to be sent to us directly.

Editor’s Note 2 Geschwendt’s sentence was reduced to six consecutive life sentences after Pennsylvania’s death penalty was found unconstitutional in 1977.

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Man Charged for Possessing Kiddie Porn

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A Bensalem man stands accused of uploading and saving pornographic images involving children to his Google account.

Michael Dunbar, 55, was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Michael W. Gallagher Thursday morning on one felony count of child pornography and one count of criminal use of communication facility with his bail set at 10 percent of $300,000.00.

According to Bensalem Police,  on Thursday, April 25, 2024, a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was received.  The tip referenced a particular Google account that had uploaded and saved numerous videos depicting child pornography, including prepubescent boys and girls engaging in sexual acts with each other. Detectives began an investigation and were able to determine that the owner/user of the Google account was Dunbar.

On Thursday, June 20, 2024, Bensalem Detectives served a search warrant on Dunbar’s residence.  The suspect was interviewed, and he allegedly admitted to intentionally uploading child pornography into his Google account after finding the videos on the Dark Web.

Bensalem authorities did not comment about the results of the  executed search warrant.

Dunbar was unable to post bail as of early Friday morning and was remanded to Bucks County Correctional Facility. He is currently scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on July 2 and has no attorney of record presently, according to court records.

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Wanna Help Police Find a Way to Cool This Alleged Thief’s Jets Off ?

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It takes a certain kind of chutzpah too walk out of a big box home improvement store with just under $1000.00 in merchandise and leave without paying and what appears to be a grin on your face.

That is the case, Bensalem Township Police say happened last week at the Home Depot. 900 Rockhill Drive on June 10, 2024. and reported at approximately 7:30 p.m.

An unknown white or Hispanic male entered the store and selected two air conditioner units, a Dewalt Saw and a Milwaukee grinder, valued at $946.00. The suspect, exited the store without paying for the merchandise and fled the area in a black sedan, possibly a Mercedes Benz, Bensalem authorities say.

Please look at the photos closely. If you have any information regarding “this bandit’s” identity, please submit an anonymous tip here or contact Bensalem Police at 215-633-3719.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Twp Council To Vote On Volunteer Fire Company Consolidation Monday Night

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Just under two years ago at a Bristol Borough Council meeting, officials were getting an update on the then planned fire company consolidation effort by Steve Reeves,  president of the Bristol Borough Fire Association. At the time, talk of consolidating fire companies in the borough and Bristol Township was a hot topic.

During his presentation Reeves mentioned consolidation talks of the Bensalem fire company volunteer services were also in progress. At the time tidbit was not in the public domain.

Credit: Submitted

Now after two years of planning, the Bensalem Township Council will vote on a resolution to form The Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department at its next meeting Monday night.

If the resolution is passed, the six legacy fire companies, including Cornwells, Eddington, Newport, Nottingham, Trevose, and Union, will be consolidated into one volunteer fire department. This consolidation plan is necessary to ensure adequate fire/emergency response within the township because of reduced membership amongst the current companies, a press release announced late Friday afternoon.

Credit: Submitted

Reeves knew what he was talking about at the time. Lower Bucks Source in the following days reached out to area first responder sources, officials and Bensalem area volunteer firefighters. No one anywhere would go on or off the record. LBS was directed, by Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Robert Sponheimer, to the Deputy Director of Public Safety Robert Race who politely declined to respond to a request for comment at the time.

Credit: Submitted

Late last year, according to a Lower Bucks Times report, Bensalem officials spoke rather openly about dwindling volunteer numbers.  This led William McVey, director of public safety, to ask for council approval to apply for a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant through FEMA, which was subsequently approved in November by council.

This past February the township announced the hiring of Mark Antozzeski as the first career Fire Chief in Bensalem history. He is leading the volunteer fire services, as well as Bensalem Fire Rescue, career staff. McVey told Bensalem Patch.com the hiring was an important piece of the consolidation process.

 

Credit: Submitted

Earlier this month,  Nottingham Fire Department Chief Ron Harris was named the Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief as part of the consolidation effort, according to published report. 

Credit: Submitted

Beginning Friday evening, shortly after receiving the Bensalem announcement on the expected consolidation vote, first responder sources Lower Bucks Source contacted said that back in 2022 when first contacted they declined to comment because the topic was sensitive in nature and a real possibility of backlash existed and concerns about “sabotaging” the process were also omnipresent. Those sources again declined to comment on the record.

Consolidation Efforts in Bristol Borough & Bristol Township

In February, Bristol Borough voted to consolidate their volunteer fire services. Prior to that step the borough approved applying for a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant in the amount of $1.5 to build a new fire house at a yet to be determined location.

As far back as February of 2022, a smaller plan in size and scope was being discussed in Bristol Township involving Newportville Fire Company #1, Third District Fire Company with career fire personnel from the township which came off the heels of  a fire study completed in 2020.  That plan is no longer in play, fire officials say. Third District Fire Chief Howard McGoldrick said it’s a “complete mystery” why Newportville ultimately decided against the discussed move and merger.

” Volunteer fire services in Bucks County are changing right before our eyes” one first responder said last year.

Credit: Submitted

In each of the consolidation efforts, public safety, declining volunteer numbers and increasing costs have been cited repeatedly by officials publicly.

“It’s just not sustainable anymore financially for fire companies, the municipalities they serve, and taxpayers. It’s consolidate or die”, a high ranking first responder source said Friday.

Bensalem Council is expected to pass the resolution with its vote tonight.

Editor’s Note:  Each of the images in this story come from the volunteer fire companies serving Bensalem Township.

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