March 1, 2024

Joyce Malecki was discovered lifeless in November 1969 days after she vanished whereas Christmas purchasing. Now simply forward of the vacations — and simply over 54 years later — the FBI has taken a brand new step in its continued seek for her killer: conducting an exhumation of Malecki’s physique.

The federal company efficiently accomplished the removing in Baltimore Thursday morning, saying in a press release, “We stay dedicated to bringing justice for Joyce and her household.”

Malecki’s unsolved homicide has been topic to widespread public hypothesis, notably after the case was featured in Netflix’s 2017 docuseries “The Keepers.” 

The seven-episode collection examined the unsolved homicide of nun Catherine Cesnik, whose killing turned linked to that of Malecki on account of an array of similarities.

Each had gone purchasing the evening they disappeared, with Sister Cesnik final seen on Nov. 7, 1969 and Malecki disappearing 4 days later. 

Hours after Cesnik disappeared, her automobile was seen parked partly within the highway on a driveway throughout from her residence complicated. It was in a muddy situation, with sticks in its inside and the keys nonetheless within the ignition. And the day after Malecki disappeared, her automobile was present in a gasoline station car parking zone, unlocked with the keys within the ignition.

Malecki was discovered lifeless two days after she disappeared, on Nov. 13, 1969. Two hunters found her physique facedown on the financial institution of the Little Patuxent River. Her fingers had been tied behind her again, and there was a single deep knife wound in her throat. Scratches and bruises indicated a wrestle occurred, and her brother, who recognized her, mentioned she was coated with mud and sticks.

An post-mortem decided that the 20-year-old died by strangulation or drowning.

“The Keepers” / Catherine Cesnik

A hunter discovered Cesnik on Jan. 3, 1970, in an off-the-cuff landfill. She had died of blunt power trauma to the top, and her case additionally stays unsolved.

Regardless of “The Keepers” and the similarities, the FBI could not conclusively hyperlink the 2 circumstances. However the girls’s deaths are sometimes nonetheless seen as associated, alongside the murders of 16-year-old Pamela Lynn Conyers and 16-year-old Grace Elizabeth “Homosexual” Montanye. Each victims additionally disappeared whereas purchasing — with Conyers disappearing from the identical mall as Malecki — and had been discovered days later within the Baltimore space. Conyers died of strangulation, like Malecki.

Renewed hypothesis in regards to the murders got here in 2017 when investigators exhumed the physique of Father Joseph Maskell, a Catholic priest who allegedly sexually abused college students on the Archbishop highschool the place Cesnik labored and who lived two blocks from the place the Malecki lived. His DNA did not match Cesnik’s profile.

Then one other wave of curiosity got here earlier this 12 months, when authorities introduced that they had discovered the person who killed Conyers utilizing genetic testing and forensic family tree. The suspect, Forrest Clyde Williams III, died in 2018 of pure causes.

Whereas it is unclear why the FBI has simply exhumed Malecki’s physique — and the bureau will not give any data, because the investigation is ongoing — some, together with Malecki’s brother, consider it could be to extract her DNA.

“With trendy forensics and every little thing they’ve, we’re hoping that possibly this may carry some resolve,” Darryl Malecki advised WBAL-TV.


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