A man who poisoned his wife has been a fugitive for over 25 years.

Front and side profile of Joe Maloney

Joe Maloney

Suspect:

Gender: Male
DOB: 1935
Height:6’2”
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Reddish
Defining Characteristics: Slender build, scar over his right eyebrow

CASE DETAILS

In March of 1967, after five years of emotional and physical abuse, 27-year-old June Maloney of Rochester, New York, finally walked out on her husband, Joe Maloney.

Digitally age progressed photo of Joe Maloney with grey/white hair

What Joe Maloney may look like today

Joe and June agreed to an informal separation. June took custody of their two young children and Joe was allowed to visit whenever he wanted. Family friend Neal Dunkleberg remembers their relationship problems:

“June confided in me that Joe had roughed her up a couple of times. He didn’t hit her, she wasn’t bruised, but he wasn’t above jumping around hollering and yelling and looking very dangerous, and perhaps grabbing hold of you and shaking you.”

Several weeks after June moved out, Joe paid Neal Dunkleberg a visit. Neal experimented with chemistry as a hobby and had a lab in the basement of his mother’s home. Joe came to him with an usual request:

“He told me that there was a dog who was continuously tipping over his garbage cans and giving him fits and he would like to poison the dog. But he was a little shaky about doing this because it belonged to a policeman that lived in his neighborhood.”

Doctor overlooking a patient while checking the time on his wristwatch

June lapsed into a coma and died

Joe showed interest in one particular chemical: a clear liquid which is odorless, tasteless, and lethal. Neal Dunkelberg:

“Immediately afterward I started thinking, ‘Why did he want to know that?’ And I got cautious. I went up and I double-locked the side door that led into my laboratory and I informed the members of my family that no one was to go into my lab. I told them to keep everybody out, and especially to keep Joe out. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. My younger sister was at home a week or two later and Joe showed up at the house and sweet-talked her into letting him into my laboratory because he had to sterilize some instruments.”

Police officer taking moloney down a flight of steps toward an exit

Maloney got out of prison on a technicality

Two weeks later, June arrived at Joe Maloney’s house for their son’s fifth birthday party. He offered her a drink and she stayed for about two hours. While at the party, June phoned her friend Wanda Mordenga:

“During the time that she was at Joe’s for the party, she had called up and she was kind of wound up, different than when she left. I had asked her ‘June, how many drinks did you have?’ And she said, ‘Wanda, I only had two.’ She went home to her apartment and a little while later I went over to check on her. I asked her if she wanted me to stay with her. She said it was not necessary. She didn’t feel quite well and she was going to go to bed.”

The next morning, Wanda was surprised to find Joe and a doctor in the hall outside of June’s apartment:

“We were in the bedroom talking and she didn’t want me to leave her alone with Joe. She wanted me to stay with her. She was quite definite. So I did.”

June told Wanda the doctor thought it was food poisoning, but June thought it was something else. According to Wanda:

“All of a sudden June stopped talking and it was like, I would almost have to say, a fear look in her eyes. And I looked over and Joe was standing in the doorway.”

The next day, June lapsed into a coma and was immediately hospitalized. Despite a series of tests, doctors found no cause for her rapid decline. Joe Maloney seemed unconcerned about his wife’s condition. He suggested that she might have tried to commit suicide over their separation, an idea Wanda Mordenga discredited:

“I didn’t think she would commit suicide. But I was afraid that they would somehow make it look like that.”

scientific flasks on a table filled with a red liquid

Joe poisoned his ex-wife’s drink

June never regained consciousness and died on June 5, 1967. Her autopsy revealed that she had ingested a lethal dose of the same type of chemical that Joe had taken from Neal’s lab. Four hours after his wife’s death, Joe Maloney was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Maloney asked to be committed to the Rochester State Mental Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. The court granted his request. What the judge didn’t know was that Maloney had once worked at the hospital and was familiar with the layout. Less than two weeks after being admitted, Maloney escaped and disappeared.

Five years later and more than 3,000 miles away in Dublin, Ireland, authorities were called to investigate a burglary at the home of a Mr. Michael O’Shea. Monroe County, New York, District Attorney’s Officer Wendy Evans Lehmann:

“The police apparently already knew Michael O’Shea. He didn’t have any criminal record in Ireland. There was no allegation of criminal wrongdoing on his part. But they were looking for the burglar’s prints. All the people who were in the house obviously weren’t the burglar. So they wanted to be able to eliminate those prints from the prints taken.”

O’Shea allowed them to take his fingerprints and they were promptly sent to Interpol. Michael O’Shea’s fingerprints matched Joseph Maloney’s. But Maloney couldn’t be arrested because Ireland and the United States had no extradition agreement. In 1986, that law was changed. Maloney was finally taken into custody, still denying his true identity.

While in jail, Maloney refused to cooperate with the authorities and did not allow himself to be photographed. Two years after his arrest, the Irish-American extradition treaty was voided because of a legal technicality. Maloney walked out of prison and disappeared, perhaps forever.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season four with Robert Stack and in season seven with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

SUBMIT A TIP

 

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mimi

    I called in a tip once. It was in 2012 I think. I had just watched the program then decided to go out for a cup of coffee at the local cafe. I heard someone speaking English so I stuck a conversation with him. He told me his name was Michel from Ireland. BUT he had an American accent. I found that odd, but didn’t say anything. I told him where I was from. A town not far from Rochester NY. The man then looked uncomfortable then said he had a brother who lived not far from there. I immediately knew it was him.
    I left messages with crime watch but got no answer. Then I called the FBI. They thought I was a joke when I said I saw him on unsolved mysteries. But I knew. I had other details to share but no one ever got back with me.

    Reply

  2. Avatar

    Veritas

    I agree with Erick that maybe he is not alive now but he could have gone to work for Aer Lingus (Irish Airlines) as a “rampie”, then gone — either transferring within the airline’s operations in other countries or on an ID90.

    Reply

  3. Avatar

    Joanna rivera

    I swear I seen this man in harlingen TX.he was working at the carnival Doing the piggy ride for kids.i actually confronted him about it and accused him and he told me I better watch what u do

    Reply

  4. Avatar

    Toni

    No he has not been caught to this day!

    Reply

  5. Avatar

    S.m

    He’s 81 if alive.. But I dolt think he is. He spent some time before voided. And finger prints don’t lie. They had him. Maybe someone was informed. And did something bad to him. Think about it he ran. But to where? He was hiding in plan sight.

    Reply

  6. Avatar

    Erick

    Did they ever catch him?
    In this day in age it’s almost impossible to get away with murder, and he’s been missing for 29 years now? I personally don’t think he’s alive, but stranger things have happened.

    Reply

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