On the morning of March 20, Pennsylvania State Troopers investigated a car crash that involved Lois Gift’s vehicle, which was being driven by her son, Zachary, at the time of the crash. Zachary was taken to Tower Health-Reading Hospital for treatment after the accident.
While being interviewed at the hospital, he allegedly confessed to smothering and strangling Lois on March 19 while attempting to steal her purse and car keys. He was able to escape with his mother’s purse, phone, wallet, and car keys.
On March 22, Zachary was charged with criminal homicide, strangulation, robbery, and theft upon release from the hospital.
Ephrata Police Chief Christopher J McKim made a statement acknowledging the family’s loss, keeping them in prayer and giving praise to the Ephrata Police Department.
“First and foremost, I acknowledge the tragedy of this family’s loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. I must also express how proud I am of the work done by the officers and detectives of the Ephrata Police Department, from initial response to collection of evidence and up to the arrest; Adamstown and the greater community are safer for their efforts,” said Police Chief McKim.
The Lancaster County Coroner’s office concluded from an autopsy that the cause of death was homicide by strangulation. Zachary Gift is being held in the Lancaster County Prison, where he is denied bail.