Lawmaker, ‘Justice for Joyce’ supporter seek meeting with LePage to discuss 33-year-old McLain homicide

Posted Nov. 07, 2013, at 10:40 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 07, 2013, at 11:12 a.m.
Joyce McLain
File photo
Joyce McLain

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — A local state lawmaker said he plans to meet with Gov. Paul LePage Saturday to ask for support in creating a state cold case squad to help solve a 33-year-old homicide.

Rep. Steve Stanley, D-Medway, and Patrick Day, a volunteer assisting Pamela McLain in her quest to get justice for her murdered daughter Joyce, will meet with LePage during his morning constituent hours, they said. McLain will probably not attend due to illness.

“We want to talk to him about cold cases and stuff like that, especially Joyce’s,” Stanley said Thursday, noting that the governor had agreed to a meeting. “We want to see what we can do to develop a cold case squad and explore all avenues.”

Day said they hope to elicit LePage’s support in many areas, not because they presume to tell police and prosecutors how to do their jobs, but rather out of a sense of “desperation.”

“I think everyone is desperate to get this resolved,” Day said. “We are not law enforcement. We don’t have the facts of the case in front of us, but Pam wants to know why it’s not going to get solved and she deserves that answer.”

State police and Deputy Attorney General William Stokes have said many times that investigators have worked hard and developed a list of suspects who might have been involved with the death of 16-year-old Joyce McLain, whose body was found near Schenck High School’s soccer fields on Aug. 10, 1980, but have taken the case as far as they can. McLain was last seen jogging the night of Aug. 8.

Pamela McLain questions whether the case has been pursued vigorously enough. At her request, Stanley has submitted to the Legislature proposals to form a cold-case squad to investigate homicides and “Joyce’s Law,” which would compel state police to allow outside agencies to review unsolved homicides more than five years old.

A legislative committee rejected reviewing the bills during the upcoming January session. Stanley will appeal the decision to cut the cold case bill later this month and will resubmit the bills in the following session, he said.

The Maine Constitution limits bills in the second year of each legislative session to those of an emergency nature, proposed by the governor, forwarded by citizen petition, budgetary or study bills.

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett could not immediately confirm the appointment with Stanley and Day. She said that LePage typically sets aside 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays to review constituent concerns in the governor’s office.

“There is a lot of follow up with these [requests from constituents],” Bennett said Wednesday. “If it [an issue] relates to a department it will be kicked to that department, but there are issues that need to be looked into, and the governor is there to help if he can.”

McLain said she has sent a letter to Maine Attorney General Janet Mills this week questioning Stokes’ decision denying “Cold Justice” access to the voluminous McLain murder investigation. “Cold Justice,” a TNT network show that employs former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary to solve old unsolved crimes, could help state police while drawing national attention to the unsolved homicide, Day has said.

The move to draw “Cold Justice” into the case mirrors McLain’s insisting in 2007 that her daughter’s body be exhumed for forensic re-examination. State officials denied the request, so McLain led “Justice for Joyce” fundraisers that paid internationally renowned forensic examiners Drs. Michael Baden and Henry Lee $20,000 for their work on the exhumation. “Justice for Joyce” is a grassroots group McLain formed years ago to help her bring her daughter’s killer or killers to justice.

They found an exceptionally well-preserved body and evidence, Lee and Baden said, that would give police a much greater understanding of how the crime unfolded, yet no arrests have been made.

Day said he hoped that LePage would back forming a cold case squad. Perhaps, Day said, the governor could fund the effort administratively or otherwise get it in motion.

BDN writer Christopher Cousins contributed to this report.

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