EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Hoping that his intervention will be instrumental in solving the 33-year-old slaying of Joyce McLain, friends of the McLain family will ask Gov. Paul LePage to intervene with the Legislature to create a cold case investigation squad, they said Monday.
Patrick Day, a volunteer working with the McLain family and helping Rep. Steve Stanley, D-Medway, with proposed cold case legislation rejected by legislative leaders last week, said he and Stanley will accept LePage’s offer to help push the bill through.
They also will ask whether LePage can fund the proposal administratively or through his means as governor, Day said.
“The 120 families of cold case victims deserve to have all of us fight for them. If it was me, I would want someone fighting for justice,” Day said Monday. “We will not wait until 2015. We need the governor to get involved and he seemed very open to it. In fact, he offered that if the bill failed to pass committee, we should bring it to him and he said he would introduce it.”
Adrienne Bennett, LePage’s spokeswoman, did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Monday.
Cold case victims “deserve to have Mr. Alfond find a way to get this law passed and get a team in here to find every killer of every cold case. Shame on them for not standing up for what is right and really for something very much needed,” Day said.
Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland; Senate Assistant Majority Leader Anne Haskell, D-Portland; Senate Minority Leader Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport; Senate Assistant Minority Leader Roger Katz, R-Augusta; and House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, voted to drop the proposal Thursday from legislative consideration this year.
Five other legislators on the Legislative Council approved allowing the bill to be considered. Speaker of the House Mark Eves, D-North Berwick; Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash; House Majority Leader Seth A. Barry, D-Bowdoinham; House Assistant Majority Leader Jeffrey McCabe, D-Skowhegan; and House Assistant Minority Leader Alexander Willette, R-Mapleton, voted to allow legislators to review the bill. The 5-5 deadlock killed the proposal.
Stanley, who proposed in October the creation of the squad to handle the 120 homicides the state classifies as cold cases, has said that he will reintroduce the proposal next fall for consideration in January 2015, if he is re-elected.
Joyce McLain was a 16-year-old Schenck High School sophomore from East Millinocket who disappeared while jogging in her neighborhood on Aug. 8, 1980. Her body was discovered near school grounds almost two days later.
State police developed more than a dozen suspects and worked thousands of hours on the case but have never made an arrest. Stanley, Day and the victim’s mother, Pamela McLain, support the cold case legislation and another bill that would allow outside agencies to review cold cases.
Stanley and Day have said that LePage promised his support when he met them Nov. 9 during one of the governor’s Saturday morning constituent hours at the governor’s office.