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On the afternoon of Thursday, July 31, 1980, 14-year-old Evelyn Fisher left her parents' New Holland home wearing a white T-shirt with yellow stripes, blue jeans and faded blue-and-white sneakers.

She walked across the family's yard toward a nearby vacant house, which she had been asked to clean.

She was never seen again.

Two days later, the hunt for the missing teenager was front page news. Fire company volunteers, police and other community members mobilized for the search.

Meanwhile, the man who had most recently lived in the house Fisher was asked to clean - Gerald Zimmerman, 28 - had checked himself into the psychiatric unit of St. Joseph Hospital and hired an attorney.

The search began in the borough of New Holland and then moved to the surrounding cornfields and ultimately into the Welsh Mountain region, one of the most rugged, undeveloped woodland areas in the county.

Zimmerman continued to be a person of interest in the case. He repeatedly declined to speak with police. 

By Aug. 15, police had acquired warrants to search Zimmerman's apartment and seize and search his car. The suspect's 1972 Buick Electra had been spotted in several places on the day of Fisher's disappearance, and police had reason to believe Fisher was in Zimmerman's car on that day.

As the end of August neared, and Fisher had been missing for almost a month, the search turned aquatic, focusing on the many creeks and small lakes in the county's northeastern section, using divers and groups of waders to search the muddy, murky waters.

Finally, on Oct. 9, after 10 weeks of searching, the remains of Evelyn Fisher were found partially buried in a heavily wooded area of the Welsh Mountains, about four miles southeast of her New Holland home.

The search had been the largest and longest in Lancaster County history, and it ended with a single police officer, walking alone through the woods. New Holland borough police Officer Rodney Hartman found the remains about 100 feet away from a footpath through the dense woods, about 500 feet off of Route 897.

About four weeks later, an arrest was finally made. Gerald Zimmerman, the former neighbor who had been an early suspect, was arrested and charged with Fisher's murder on Nov. 6, 1980.

On Jan. 2, 1981, Zimmerman entered a plea of not guilty, and his attorney announced that he intended to request the trial be moved outside Lancaster County because of the tremendous publicity the case received locally.

For months, Lancaster County judges heard pre-trial motions - about jury selection, change of venue and even suppression of incriminating statements Zimmerman made to relatives while he was hospitalized.

On March 20, Zimmerman was ruled mentally competent to stand trial, and on April 2, a trial date and venue were finally announced. Zimmerman's trial was slated to begin on April 27 in Easton, Northampton County.

It would be a death penalty case.

As the trial got under way, the public learned numerous details about the case that hadn't been revealed before:

Fisher died from two events - a severe blow to the face, likely from a fist, and asphyxiation after a balled-up sock was stuffed into her mouth.

Zimmerman was the person who called her to come clean the house he had recently moved out of. He claimed to be calling from his new apartment, but his phone had not yet been hooked up. Thus, he was likely calling from inside the supposedly empty house.

Hartman, the officer who found Fisher's remains, gave a grisly and detailed account of his discovery.

Zimmerman suffered from "memory lapses" surrounding Fisher's death, relatives said, and psychiatrists testified for the defense, stating that Zimmerman suffered from paranoia, depression and "disorganized thinking."

Zimmerman was found guilty of first degree murder on May 6, 1981. He was sentenced to life in prison.

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