After murdering his wife, police say, Christopher Murray immediately made a series of missteps that quickly made him into a prime suspect.

For one thing, his first effort to find her once she went "missing" was to contact police and hospitals, not family friends.

For another, he left out of his narrative to police something investigators quickly documented via video footage: He had been videoed talking with her from his car while she walked in Pennypack Park shortly before she was found strangled.

On Sunday, detectives detailed these aspects of their investigation as they announced that Murray, 48, had been arrested and charged with murder in the death of Connie McClain-Murray, 46. Police said a quarrel between them ended when Murray strangled his wife with his hands on the evening of Aug. 4.

Murray confessed Saturday after he flunked a lie-detector test, Homicide Lt. Philip Riehl told a midday news conference.

He was charged with murder and jailed. No bail is permitted for that charge.

People in the neighborhood where McClain-Murray was found "can have a sigh of relief that there is no predator," Riehl said.

But he added that there was "no celebration in this case."

Asked whether the killing appeared premeditated, Riehl replied: "I don't know. I think it was more a rage incident."

He added: "She was out walking. He intercepted her . . . things went bad."

McClain-Murray's body was found Tuesday morning near a cemetery at Holme Drive and Convent Avenue, several blocks from the family home on Tolbut Street near Ashton Road.

Riehl said the couple reportedly had a fractious marriage and had quarreled earlier that evening. They have two daughters, ages 12 and 15.

He said that although there were no known witnesses to the attack, detectives found security videos showing McClain-Murray walking on the perimeter of Pennypack Park -- and then her husband's silver Ford Taurus pulling up alongside her, pausing, and her leaning into the open window to talk to her husband before walking on.

Another video showed the same car pulling up and parking near where the body was later found.

Police have recovered what they believe to be McClain-Murray's cellphone from a nearby storm sewer.

Riehl credited the arrest to "really good detective work," and he cited Detectives Greg Santamolla and Howard Permen, as well as Trooper David Lang of the state police, for their sleuthing.

Riehl said police typically look first to the spouse as a possible suspect in homicides of this kind, but that Murray's actions only reinforced their suspicions.

He said Murray had expressed remorse for what he allegedly did.

___

Distributed by MCT Information Services