State mulling appeal to ‘Cold Justice’ TV show for help on 33-year-old homicide

EAST MILLINOCKET — The 33-year-old unsolved homicide of Joyce McLain might soon get some Cold Justice.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes confirmed Friday that his office and state police are considering turning to the true-life television series to help solve McLain’s 33-year-old homicide.

“We are certainly not ruling it out,” Stokes said Friday. “We want to consider it, discuss it among ourselves, and arrive at a decision. Does it have the potential to help the case? Does it hurt the case? I think the best way to describe it is to say we are considering it.”

Patrick Day, a Rockland resident who was a year behind the 16-year-old McLain at Schenck High School of East Millinocket when she was beaten to death in 1980, suggested enlisting the TV show to Joyce’s mother, Pamela McLain. McLain was very receptive.

State police detectives have completed applications available online to “ Cold Justice, ” a TNT network show that employs former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary to solve old unsolved crimes. They await approval from their supervisors before filing the applications with the show’s producers, Day said.

Day said he hopes they will be allowed to apply, but cautioned that the application won’t guarantee that the show will feature the McLain homicide.

“I think Joyce’s murder changed our town so much,” said Day, 49, a disabled former butler who is recovering from throat cancer. “Once Joyce’s murder hit, everything changed. People didn’t trust each other. They looked at their neighbors differently.

“Until this is resolved,” Day added, “I don’t think the town will ever get over it.”

McLain announced the fruits of Day’s efforts on her Facebook page on Friday morning.

“Prayers, please,” McLain wrote. “God answers prayers. We have the patience, God.”

Joyce McLain was a sophomore at Schenck High School in East Millinocket when she was killed sometime during the night of Aug. 8, 1980, state police have said. She was last seen jogging in her neighborhood. Her bludgeoned body was found on school grounds.

State police have declined to discuss exactly how far their efforts have reached, but they include an exhumation, interstate trips and occasional sweeps through the Katahdin region. They have a dozen suspects, they have said.

The cold case made news most recently when Stokes said that Maine could use a cold-case squad — two or three detectives and a forensic evidence examiner — to complement the efforts of Assistant Attorney General Lara M. Nomani. Nomani handles cold cases full-time, but works with detectives carrying full caseloads. Such cases take back seats to more recent crimes, Stokes said.

At Pamela McLain’s suggestion, state Rep. Steve Stanley of Medway has taken steps to introduce legislation that would permit the AG’s office to reassign cases from state police that are more than five years old to other agencies. The law would also give victims of families a say in where the cases go, McLain has said.

Stokes has said Stanley’s proposal would be impracticable, but that a cold case squad would be helpful. Nomani has about 120 cases, including about 60 from the state police, who with Bangor and Portland police are the only state law enforcement investigators allowed to be primary investigators on homicides.

Stokes said prosecutors and detectives briefly discussed the idea when they met during a cold-case review on Thursday. Stokes’ prosecutors meet with detectives every two months to review all of the state’s cold cases.

Law enforcement officials would need a better understanding of how the show works before deciding whether to apply, Stokes said. Among the questions to answer, Stokes said: Will Siegler and McClary seek total access to the case? What impact might that have on maintaining the chain of evidence as the law requires?

Stokes said it might take a few months to answer those questions. Stokes did not rule out speaking of the idea prior to the next cold-case review.

Day said he mentioned the idea to McLain and state police on Tuesday. Maine State Police Senior Investigator Darryl Peary, whom Day described as the McLain case’s primary investigator, seemed very receptive to the idea. His supervisor, Sgt. Troy Gardner, was less enthusiastic, Day said.

A self-confessed political junkie, Day said he became interested in the McLain case recently and is volunteering to help her. He has helped Stanley with his legislation and hopes to organize meetings with state leaders to gain support for a large reward for information that leads to arrests and convictions, Day said.

“Cold Justice” might play a huge part in that, he said.

“The big thing, they will bring a fresh look into it and they will bring in their own investigators, their own team in, and review it,” Day said. “The unfortunate thing is that there are so many cold cases out there that they are probably bombarded with inquiries.”

Television show involvement doesn’t always produce arrests. The McLain case previously was featured on the TV show “Unsolved Mysteries,” hosted by the late Robert Stack. The show’s involvement vastly increased the number of tips investigators received, police said.

Courtesy of Pam McLain

Joyce McLain

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Lewis Tracy's picture

Has anyone considered

Has anyone stopped to consider that the State may be mulling this over in an attempt to spare the family more grief?
I know that a new pair of eyes and a new mindset can not hurt the case itself. What it can do however is give the family and friends of the victim a whole lot of hope and produce zero results. I would not want to be the one that makes the call on that.

 's picture


When I first saw the picture of Joyce McLain, I thought wow Kim Moreau, bares a strong resemblance to her. I know there was 6 years between them, but I can't help wonder if the cases are related.
I definately think another agency should take over cases, when they've gone cold. Another set of eyes never hurts.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Whats the harm????????

Ego, nothing more nothing less. There is absolutely no question this case needs to be solved. There is no question that Maine State officials have had over thirty years to solve the case. There is also no question that history has shown that in some instances, a fresh set of eyes can see a lot of thing differently than the ones looking at it for thirty three years.
The bottom line is this, there is a risk of someone, other than the Maine Attorney Generals Office, or the State Police, cracking this case. Much like the Medical Examiner refusing an exhumation, out of fear that a fresh set of eye's may see something missed in the original autopsy. It's all about the fear of being wrong.
Unfortunately, as long as "who" solves a crime is more important, than the the crime being solved period, we will continue to have this bickering over semantics. As for the victim in this case, and her family. They are the ones who need the answers the most, and I'm pretty sure they won't care who comes up with them, or how..........


and I thought I was a cynic

Thank you for giving me something to point to when I'm told to stop being negative or cynical.

I agreed with the first part. A fresh set of eyes and brains is a good idea. The rest is the usual anti-government drivel I'm used to reading here.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I just can't let this go..........

After reading your reply to my post, at first I just moved on. After thinking about it, and rereading my original post and your reply, I had this nagging question. I mean, if there's one thing I would never want to be accused of, is repeating the same old anti-government drivel. After all I want my drivel, fresh and new.
Just how is my post anti- government? Maybe if you really try hard, it may be considered anti-law enforcement. After all my post was about the politics of solving crimes.
Now I was never a cop, I always wanted to be one, but never got around to it. I did become a bouncer, I guess thats as close as I came. My family on the other hand was nothing but cops. All my uncles from two generations growing up were State Troopers. Our Thanksgivings, and Christmas celebrations resembled crime scenes as a child, because half my uncles in attendance were on duty, there were usually six or seven cruisers in the driveway. So you might say I'm not exactly anti law enforcement.
I do however have issues with the stubborn attitude of some in the Attorney Generals office, as well as the District Attorneys office. It seems to me that they appear to be more worried about their appearing to be right or wrong, than they are about actually being right or wrong. This has been going on since the first caveman grabbed the wrong cave-woman by the hair. I can't say whether is good or bad for a case, but I feel it diminishes the ability to find the true answers to a crime. The ones who lose out the most in this case are the victims of the crime and their families.
So If that is, in your opinion, anti-government drivel, than at lest I hope it's new and fresh drivel, as I would hate to be boring........

MARK GRAVEL's picture

We should all be anti

We should all be anti government. After all, the government is the root of many of America's problems, such as the economy.


another example

of what I was talking about.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You mean trust the government

You mean trust the government with the same level of conviction altar boys trusted the Catholic Church?

Is that what you mean?

Karen Dalot's picture

State police mulling asking for help.

State police have had 33 years to solve this case and have not been able to do it. Police have to stop and think about the family involved, she has loved ones without answers. If they could have solved it, it should be done by now. Stop with the discussions state police and ASK FOR HELP. It should not be about pride for the police and containing records. You have had your time, now let someone else try to resolve this. The family needs closure! Kimberly Moreau has been missing for 27 years, and there are plenty of other families who too have unanswered questions. For the family, I hope they follow through and this can be resolved!


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