A man who poisoned his wife has been a fugitive for over 25 years.
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.
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:
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:
Joe showed interest in one particular chemical: a clear liquid which is odorless, tasteless, and lethal. Neal Dunkelberg:
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:
The next morning, Wanda was surprised to find Joe and a doctor in the hall outside of June’s apartment:
June told Wanda the doctor thought it was food poisoning, but June thought it was something else. According to Wanda:
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:
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:
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.