EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Joyce McLain’s grave was desecrated about three weeks ago, the second such incident since her body was exhumed for a DNA evidence examination in 2008, her mother said.
The second incident, whose precise date Pamela McLain could not recall, was much more damaging than the first. At least one small angel left on the gravestone was damaged among several other items. Some money left on the grave also was stolen, she said.
“It is only hers that this is happening to,” McLain said of the grave site, which is in the Grindstone Road Cemetery. “They destroyed some of the things pretty good.”
A team of state police detectives and evidence technicians took McLain to the cemetery where she helped provide an inventory of the damaged items, she said.
A 16-year-old Schenck High School sophomore, Joyce McLain was killed sometime around the night of Aug. 8, 1980, apparently while jogging. Her body was found two days later near some electrical lines close to the school’s athletic fields. Her head and neck had been hit with a blunt object.
The state police investigation has been ongoing since then and produced more than a dozen suspects but no arrests, McLain and state police have said.
East Millinocket Police Chief Garold “Twig” Cramp, whose department covers Medway, confirmed Sunday that the vandalism occurred but declined to give details, referring comment to state police. A state police spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment and Detective Brian Strout, the case’s lead investigator, was on vacation Sunday and could not be reached for comment.
In the first incident, vandals used a brownish substance to paint a smiley face on a small picture frame that was attached to the tombstone. A ceramic angel left on the gravestone, but not attached to it, was smashed, state police have said.
Shortly after the discovery of the vandalism, police found that a cross was torn from the utility pole it had been hammered to near where McLain’s body was found on Aug. 10, 1980. Police suspect that the grave vandalism occurred on the weekend of Sept. 12, 2009.
Investigators collected evidence at the scenes.
McLain said she would not let the incidents deter her in seeking justice for her daughter, but said of the vandalism, “I find it kind of sickening.”