EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — More than 1,200 people signed an Internet petition within 24 hours of its creation that calls for the FBI to take from state officials control of the investigation into the 1980 unsolved homicide of Joyce McLain.

As of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, 1,362 people had “signed” the petition at SignOn.org, which the victim’s mother, Pamela McLain, said had been created Wednesday by a friend. By 2:15 p.m., the petition carried 1,645 signatures.

“I am not surprised by the responses,” McLain said Thursday. “People support Joyce now just as they have through 32 years.”

Written by Judy Turcotte, the petition calls for Maine Attorney General William Schneider “to release the case files of the unsolved murder of Joyce M. McLain in order for the FBI to investigate this almost 32-year-old cold case.”

“The Maine State Police have remained silent and the attorney general appears reluctant to release the case files of this decades old unsolved murder,” Turcotte said in the petition. “The time for the FBI to become involved in this case is long overdue. Their investigation could uncover new or overlooked evidence that could lead to a conviction and closure of this case. Please help make that happen by signing this petition.”

Brenda Kielty, Schneider’s spokeswoman, referred comment to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland, who said the FBI will not take over the case as petitioners seek.

Nor will Schneider open the case file to the McLains, as Pamela McLain seeks, McCausland said.

“We welcome any outside involvement and would have turned to the FBI if we thought their assistance could be helpful in the case,” McCausland said.

“We are also sympathetic with the family and with those in the Millinocket community who are frustrated with the time that has elapsed with this case, but at the same time that has not stopped our resolve to find who is responsible for Joyce’s death,” he added. “This investigation continues to remain active and will never close.”

McLain publicly asked the FBI to take over the case in August 2010, and an FBI spokeswoman at the time said the agency would do so if it invoked federal jurisdiction, which would require the U.S. Attorney’s Office to find a violation of federal law in the crime.

The office did not comply with the request then.

A 16-year-old sophomore at Schenck High School in East Millinocket, Joyce McLain was killed sometime during the night of Aug. 8, 1980, apparently while jogging. About 35 hours passed, and a rainstorm came, before searcher Peter Larlee found her body in a clearing near electrical lines close to the school’s athletic fields. Her head and neck had been hit with a blunt object.

The homicide drew national attention on the syndicated television show “Unsolved Mysteries” in 1989, in which Larlee re-enacted his awful discovery, and in People magazine, which in April 2009 featured the discovery of forensic evidence found during an exhumation in 2008. The “Unsolved Mysteries” episode is still available on the Internet.

No arrests have been made.

State police maintain that the case always has been actively pursued.

A glimpse into the elaborate and confidential nature of the case came in December 2009, when U.S. District Judge John Woodcock urged Philip Scott Fournier, 48, of Millinocket to disclose to investigators whatever information he has about the McLain case. Identified by the judge as a “person of interest” in the homicide, Fournier was being sentenced by Woodcock to 6½ years in prison for possession of child pornography.

Fournier’s federal public defender said that Fournier had cooperated with investigators, and Fournier’s ex-wife said she believes that Fournier has knowledge of the crime.

McLain has said Fournier is among about a dozen suspects or people of interest spoken of since the homicide.

She said the FBI’s only involvement in the case has been to write a profile of the killer back in the 1980s. McLain said that she and a friend learned from the FBI a year ago that the agency “hasn’t been asked” to get more involved with the case.

McCausland would not confirm the FBI had profiled the killer, but said the agency had assisted investigators previously.

McLain said she and her friends plan to deliver the finished petitions to the agencies involved and other potential key players, such as state political leaders. McLain didn’t know whether the petition would help, but said, “I think there are a lot of voters on that if they check the names.”

“After this right here,” McLain said in reference to the petition drive, “I want to get a petition to get the AG’s office not to be handling all unsolved murder cases. The AG’s office has full control of all unsolved murders. Therefore, no other agencies can work on it [her daughter’s case] without the AG’s approval.”

McLain said she believes that state police should share their information fully with families involved with cold cases that are at least 5 years old and allow families to share the information with other police agencies or have other agencies handle the investigations.

Opening the case files to the McLains would be “totally inappropriate,” McCausland said.

“There is only a limited amount of people who know what happened ― the investigators and those responsible for her death,” he said. “It has got to remain in this closed circle. We cannot open these files to the public.”

45 replies on “Internet petition calls for FBI to handle 32-year-old Joyce McLain murder case”

  1. The state wouldn’t exhume Joyce because they were convinced there wouldn’t be any evidence, a group raised the money and paid for the autopsy, evidence was found. What is the state police afraid of? Let the FBI look at the case with fresh eyes and the technology that they have.

        1.  And, the feds can look into it only if there seems to be any violation of FEDERAL law … it’s in the article.  There are some things for which there will never be answers, this may well be one of them.  After all this time, isn’t it time to just “let go”?

          1.  WOW! Let it go? A child was MURDERED! The murderer is probably walking among us living their life. This family deserves answers and justice needs to be served.

          2. If this was my child, it would NEVER be time to just “let got”! Could you imagine what her mother feels? Going to the grocery store and wondering if she is walking by the person who took her daughter from her. As a mother I know that is what I would be thinking and I would do just as she has done in finding justice! Keep up the fight!

          3. I can’t believe anyone would say “let it go”.  I hope you never lose a loved one and the murderer goes free.  How insensitive can some people be?

          4. This was her baby, something a mother can never let go of. They are part of us, I would fight to my death, to find out who killed my baby. Pam’s doing just that, this may kill her, but she will have given all she has, to bad all mom aren’t like this.

          5. “Let go”??? Are you even kidding
            me! Some people are so ignorant. To whomever thinks this should be “let
            go” do you have any children? My guess is no or else you would be doing
            exactly as Pam is right now fighting for her child. It’s a mother’s instinct that
            never goes away. If you had a loved one that was brutally murdered I have a
            hard time believing any human would ever be able to just “let go”!
            Some people just absolutely disgust me! 

          6. If this were your child who had been murdered, would you say, oh it’s time to let go. How can you be so ignorant as to make such a comment to this family? The person who did this crime, if still alive and I believe still is, needs to pay for this crime, so no, it is not time to let go…

      1. This is not in defense of Jim but it’s not his m.o. to leave a lady laying around. I apologise for the bad visual.

      2. Amazing how people throw accusations around on these comment boards. Your own story link does not say he was a suspect in this murder.

    1. The   only  thing  that  i  can  see  is   there  is  mabey  some    thing  that  the  state  ploice  know  and  they  are  not  going   release  any  thing  when  this  first  came  out  they  said  thtat  a policemen  had  some  thing  to  do  with  it  and  that  is  when  everyone  in  andon  the the police  forse  quit  talking  now  why  was  that  may  i  ask   and  beleive  me  i  heard  this

  2. “The office did not comply with the request.”

    This statement may give some readers the impression that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was somehow required to take the case.

    In any event, online petitions are absolutely meaningless. And, absent evidence that the murder involved a federal crime, there is no reason for the FBI to get involved. This is real life, not a television drama in which the FBI meddles in everything.

  3. Pamela has done everything within her power to find out who is responsible for Joyce’s death.  Someone with access to more resources needs to step in and help this woman bring her daughter’s murderer to justice.

    1. I have done genealogy for years and if I might suggest people doing research at the town office and library. Look for such things that don’t make sense, like selling a 200k house for 50k someone who may have made big changes in their personality good or bad. A person and/or family that just packed up and left and almost no one has heard from them since. 
      Deeds. permits, clubs all hold good info,
      I wish the best of luck at solving this.

  4. If I remember correctly previous articles stated stuff was found during the re-autopsy. Was it ever classified as evidence and if so what was found?

    1. I believe the word used was evidence, but it was described very vaguely, and the problem with all such evidence, of course, is that it has either to be matched with a suspect or otherwise plugged into a narrative that shows guilt beyond a reasonable doubt — like one  piece 
      to a puzzle among many.

    2.  I believe it was cards and notes that were left in the coffin at the time of her burial.

  5. you say they have no juristiction but with no disrespect, in the ayla reynolds case the fbi got involved within a week or so i understand. where is their juristiction there. whati say is this if the fbi has no juristiction then the information should be released to a private investigator hired by Justice for Joyce. the state has no right to hold onto an obvious cold case forever. this is a no brainer, after 30 years the state police and AG’s office needs to swallow their egotistical prides and let this case go.

    1. I believe and maybe wrong, but It may be as teh Ayla Reynolds case was deemed a possible abduction. Either way I agree that the FBI should have been in the middle of this from the start. Maine is not like the big cities, we don’t have the resouces to handle some of these cases!

      1. it is my understanding kidnapping is only fbi concern if proven the child has been taken across state line

  6. Such a sad story. My heart goes out to her family. The article isn’t very clear as to whether the FBI would be willing to work the case, but if so, it would be good to bring in as much talent and experience as possible. 

  7. WHAT’S WRONG with these people wanting to keep the FBI out of an unsolved murder case?

    The state police and AG have had 32 YEARS to work on it!

    Any legitimate law enforcement agency would welcome the FBI’s assistance UNLESS they’re afraid of what the GFeds will find.

    Spare us your crummy excuses and apologies for the state police and AG! 

  8. You’d think they would’ve tried to find links to similar crimes somewhere else or a DNA connection to another crime. I didn’t read anything about that in the article.

  9. How about we focus on current problems, like the missing baby in Waterville and leave these cold cases on the back burner.

    1.  Great idea.  And then when years go by with no conviction, we should let Ayla’s case go to the “back burner” as well.  That way, we can let murderers and kidnappers go on doing what they do, because it’s inconvenient to keep hunting them.  I mean, out of sight, out of mind, right? 

      As long as a killer gets away long enough, then we should just say, “Whelp, good job man.  You win.”

      Luckily, for those of us in the real world, there’s no statute of limitations on murder.

      1. This case has been stuck for 32 years, which means that two generations of detectives, who would have loved to have nailed this down, couldn’t do it.  Pulling the FBI in won’t change much, because the FBI doesn’t have any magic and because it is more oriented to tracking terrorists these days than working on cold police cases.

        1.  No, I don’t have a statute of limitations on expenditures.  Look, we live as part of a community, (even if folks forget that), and that means the pursuit of justice is NEVER a waste.  Otherwise, what’s the point of it all?

          But, no, it’s cool.  Keep hiding behind your keyboard and presume to tell others the ‘hard truths’ that only you can enlighten us with.  I’m sure you have scads more experience with life’s hardships, more grit and determination than any parent that’s lost a child. 

          That’s why I’m sure so many folks respect your opinion, otherwise, you wouldn’t have to get on the internet and comment on news that has no bearing on your life.

          Oh, wait…

  10. FBI can step in at anytime if the state does not have the resorces. 90% of all the cases involving DNA goes to a FBI lab because most states can not run the DNA threw interpol maine being one of them. The FBI can also step in if there are suspects that have ever stepped over a state line at anypoint in there life because the could have commeted a crime in a different state.

    For the people saying let it go or keep it on the back burner i hope you people dont have kids because the day you stop fighting for your kids is the day you are not a good parent.

  11. After 32 years, Pam cannot ask a private detective,sheriff’s dept. or the FBI to help on this case. There has been DNA found after exhumation. There is a fight for her for everything. Even turning over the autopsy report to Dr. Michael Baden was a no. Pam had to hire a lawyer for that. The control that the State Police have on unsolved murders in Maine should not go on forever, there should be a timeline so that families of these murder victims can get help from other sources!

  12. Hi to you all ~~ Thanks for so much support ~~ We the family sooo appreciate it. To the rest  ~~ Who cares? I don’t !!!! Even with my supporting Joyce Marie McLain,  My murdered daughter, I have a life, Which I assume some do not? Or you wouldn’t be sitting on your a-s, and hurting all people with your nasty uncaring comments on a daily basis in the BDN, For that I feel extremely sad for you.  I’m proud to sign my name, And may God give you a little slap beside the head from Joyce, LOL. Now ,I’ll end this w/ smile you may not have many friends, But God loves you anyway, No matter how rude and crude/ mean you are.

  13. I know I said I wouldn’t comment, But I just had to, Being the mom to Joyce Marie  Plus to say thanks to the  people that truely care. To the others, I just don’t care, It will take more then bitter words to hurt this old gal.

  14. I   realy   think  that  this   has   gone   on  way  to  long  i  beleive  that   if  the  state  cant  solve  this  case  it  should  be  turned  over   to the   F B I  this  Mother  and  her  family   have  hurt   long  enough  dosent  people  have  a  heart  any  more    i  just   wounder  if  it  were  thier  daughter  would  it  have  gone  on  this  long  i  dont  think  so  so  the  state  of  maine  make  us  proud  of  the  state  we  live  in  do  something  about  this  now 

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