ADAMSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster County man has been charged with the strangulation death of his mother.

According to Ephrata Police, on March 20 officers responded to the home of Lois Gift to conduct a welfare check after she did not appear at scheduled events. Police found Gift deceased and determined the death to be suspicious.

Police found that earlier that morning State Troopers investigated a crash involving Gift’s vehicle that was allegedly driven by her son, Zachary Gift, who resides in the same home.

Zachary Gift was transported to Tower Health-Reading Hospital for treatment after the accident.

Police say while interviewing Zachary Gift he allegedly admitted to smothering and strangling his mother to death on March 19 as he was allegedly attempting to steal her purse and car keys.

Police say Gift allegedly fled with his mother’s purse, phone, wallet, and car keys.

Zachary Gift had been a patient at Tower Health – Reading Hospital until the time of his arrest on March 22. He has been charged with criminal homicide, strangulation, robbery, and theft by unlawful taking. He was denied bail and held at the Lancaster County Prison.

Ephrata Police Chief Christopher J. McKim stated, “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.”

The Lancaster County Coroner’s office conducted an autopsy and determined the cause of death to be homicide by strangulation.

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