MEDWAY, Maine – The body of Joyce McLain was reinterred at a graveside service Saturday that mourned the bright, gentle girl lost 28 years ago and celebrated new forensic evidence that might bring her killer to justice.
The Rev. Ralph Jacobs said he saw God’s hand in the intuition that compelled Pamela McLain to seek a forensic review of the homicide and the efforts of the Justice For Joyce Committee to raise the $20,000 that paid for the work performed Friday by renowned forensic experts Drs. Michael Baden and Henry Lee.
McLain’s joy was as visible as she buried with her daughter’s coffin a newspaper, the headline of which read “New evidence.”
“Pam hasn’t stopped smiling. I could hear it over the phone when I was talking to her. It’s been a long time, and I know she says thank you over and over to everyone who contributed,” said Jacobs, who handled Joyce McLain’s first funeral.
“When you think, about everything, the preservation of the body and how everybody’s pulled together and working on this now …Wow. Whether you believe in God or not, this is a wild thing, an unbelievable thing,” Jacobs added. “All the little things have added up. All the [scattered] things have come together. It’s amazing.”
A 16-year-old Schenck High School sophomore, Joyce McLain was killed on or about Aug. 8, 1980. The East Millinocket girl’s body was found two days later in a power line clearing near the school’s soccer fields. Her head and neck had been struck repeatedly with a blunt object.
Several suspects have been investigated, but no arrests have been made. The new evidence Baden, Lee and state forensic experts gathered Friday stirs hopes of a break in the case.
“It’s a great start,” Jacobs said. “Today is a great consummation, and let’s hope that the Lord finishes His work.”