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Episode #37 & 38: The Mainline Murders - Murdered (1978) & Missing (1979)

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

This 2-part episode examines the case of the Mainline Murders and missing persons cases with possible connections to a missing couple from a year prior. Grace tells the story of Susan (Gallagher) Reinert's murder, her two missing children, Karen and Michael, and a possible connection to missing couple Stephanie (Smith) and Edward Hunsberger.



Karen Reinert

Birth: 1968 - Missing: 06/22/1979

Ethnicity: Caucasian - Sex: Female/Male

Height: 4'8" - Weight: 95lbs

Hair Color: Brown - Eye Color: Blue/Gray/Green

Hometown: Ardmore, PA (Delaware/Montgomery Counties)


Last Known Location: Karen was last seen with her brother Michael on June 22nd, 1979 around 9:20PM getting into her mother's vehicle. Susan Reinert (Karen & Michael's Mother) drove an orange Plymouth Horizon Hatchback. They were planning on visiting Susan's boyfriend William Sidney "Bill" Bradfield.


Clothing: A yellow scoop-necked peasant blouse and shorts


Distinguishing Characteristics: Unknown


Additional Information: Susan Reinert was found murdered in the trunk of a car parked at the Host Inn in Swatara Township, Harrisburg, PA. Susan had been giving Bill large sums of money and changed her life insurance policy to make Bill the sole beneficiary, to the exclusion of her children. At the time Bill was also dating several other woman. To date, Karen has not been located.

 

Micheal Reinert

Birth: 1969 - Missing: 06/22/1979

Ethnicity: Caucasian - Sex: Male

Height: 4'2" - Weight: 60bs

Hair Color: Blonde - Eye Color: Blue/Gray

Hometown: Ardmore, PA (Delaware/Montgomery Counties)


Last Known Location: Michael was last seen with his sister Karen on June 22nd, 1979 around 9:20PM getting into his mother's vehicle. Susan Reinert (Karen & Michael's Mother) drove an orange Plymouth Horizon Hatchback. They were planning on visiting Susan's boyfriend William Sidney "Bill" Bradfield.


Clothing: A v-neck red and white Philadelphia Phillies t-shirt and sneakers.


Distinguishing Characteristics: Unknown


Additional Information: Susan Reinert was found murdered in the trunk of a car parked at the Host Inn in Swatara Township, Harrisburg, PA. Dr. Jay Charles Smith, who was the principal of Upper Merion High School at the time of Susan's death, was charged with murdering her and the children in 1985. It's believed that Bill Bradfield had orchestrated the events and Dr. Smith actually committed the murders. To date, Karen and her brother have never been located.

 

Stephanie Hunsberger

Birth: 1954 - Missing: 02/25/1978

Ethnicity: Caucasian - Sex: Female

Height: 5'0"- 5'8" - Weight: 100-140lbs

Hair Color: Red - Eye Color: Unknown

Hometown: North Wales, Pa (Montgomery County)


Last Known Location: Stephanie and her husband were last seen on February 25th, 1978 when they visited Edward's parents. They had said that day, "We'll be back a little later". They never returned.


Clothing: Unknown


Distinguishing Characteristics: Unknown


Additional Information: Stephanie has a long-standing addiction to heroin, dating back to her mid-teens. She did not hold a regular job and sometimes would work as a prostitute in Philadelphia, PA. She had married Edward in 1977 and moved to King of Prussia area with her father to start a new life. Stephanie's father, Dr. Jay Smith was the principal of Upper Merion High School. Stephanie's father at the time of their disappearance had been convicted of armed robbery and was serving probation. When Stephanie missed her appointment at the methadone clinic, Dr. Smith told the staff " he had gotten some Placidyl and "really good pot" and he was going to try to detox his daughter himself." He even admitted to cashing a few of Stephanie's welfare checks following her disappearance. Stephanie would sometimes go by her maiden name of Smith. To date, Stephanie has never been located.

 


Edward "Eddie" Hunsberger

Birth: 1948 - Missing: 06/22/1979

Ethnicity: Caucasian - Sex: Male

Height: 5'5" - 6'1" - Weight: 15l0-200bs

Hair Color: Brown - Eye Color: Unknown

Hometown: North Wales, Pa (Montgomery County)


Last Known Location: Eddie and his wife were last seen on February 25th, 1978 when they visited his parents. They had said that day, "We'll be back a little later". They never returned.


Clothing: Unknown


Distinguishing Characteristics: Unknown


Additional Information: Like Stephanie, Eddie was a known drug user for over 10 years. After several weeks of no contact, Edwards parents called Dr. Smith to inquire about their whereabouts. At the time, Dr. Smith said Stephanie and Edward owed a large amount of money to drug dealers and had fled to California. The couple had left behind all of their belongings including an uncashed income tax check. There have been several sightings including a confidential informant told police he had met Stephanie in mid-August 1979 and that both she and Edward were alive and well in Philadelphia. A neighbor came forward and said they saw the couple and Dr. Smith's younger daughter claimed she'd seen Stephanie as well. To date, Edward has never been located.


 

Additional photographs of people associated with the Mainline Murders case.



If You have any information on Karen and Michael Reinert, no matter how small the detail please contact PA State Police Department at 717-671-7500. If You have any information on Stephanie and Edward Hunsberger, 717-346-3378 please contact PA State Police Department at 717-671-7500. You can also call PA Crime Stoppers at 1-800-4PA-TIPS. Remember you can always remain anonymous.


CASH REWARD: Unknown



Sources

The Main Line Murders — Unresolved

Let’s talk about it: Stephanie and Edward Hunsberger – The Charley Project Blog (wordpress.com)

Jay C. Smith is dead while the Reinert and Hunsberger mysteries live on - lehighvalleylive.com

Main Line murder case echoes 30 years later - CNN.com

Does photo found in cell show children's grave? - CNN.com

Susan Reinert Killer | America's Best Crime Writer (barrybowe.com)

All You Need To Know About Susan Reinert - CDP (criminaldiscoursepodcast.com)

REINERT KILLER APPEALS CONVICTION IN ROBBERY TRY AT NESHAMINY MALL STORE - The Morning Call (mcall.com)

Michael Reinert – The Charley Project

Karen Reinert – The Charley Project

21 Sep 1992, Page 4 - Philadelphia Daily News at Newspapers.com

23 Oct 1983, Page 1 - The Philadelphia Inquirer at Newspapers.com

Twisted Philly Podcast

Death by Gossip - Wendy Williams Season 1, Ep 1

Principal Suspect by William C. Costopoulous (Jay Smith’s defense attorney) 1996

Engaged to Murder by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel 1988

Echoes in the Darkness by Joseph Wambaugh 1984




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