AUGUSTA, Maine — After a brief meeting with Gov. Paul LePage, Rep. Steve Stanley said he believes the Maine governor supports the state in starting its first cold-case squad to solve unsolved murders like the homicide of Joyce McLain 33 years ago.
“The meeting went very well,” Stanley, D-Medway, said of his encounter during LePage’s Saturday morning constituent hours at the governor’s office. “The governor is supportive of ‘Joyce’s Law’ and the cold case thing.
“He did say, though, that the financial side of it is the problem, funding it,” Stanley added. “We’re just going to have to go from there to see what we can do.”
LePage’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
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 that they have taken the case as far as they can. McLain was last seen jogging near her home a few blocks from the school on the night of Aug. 8.
The victim’s mother, 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. McLain also challenges Stokes’ decision denying the reality TV show “Cold Justice” a review of the case.
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 re-submit the bills in the following session, he said.
Stokes has said he supports the cold-case squad proposal but believes Joyce’s Law would be impractical, violate state law governing investigative confidentiality, and could severely impair police abilities to investigate cases. That reasoning forced his rejection of “Cold Justice,” he said.
Stanley and Patrick Day, a volunteer assisting McLain in her quest for justice for her daughter, requested the meeting with LePage to see what help he might provide. LePage collected paperwork from Day and promised to review it, Stanley said.
“He said he would do anything he could to help,” Stanley said of LePage.
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