The murder of a 16-year-old cheerleader devastates a small town in Maine.

Smiling Joyce McLain with blonde hair

Joyce McLain

The bloodied body of Joyce McLain out in the woods

Joyce’s body was found in the woods

CASE DETAILS

Joyce jogging through a suburban neighborhood

Joyce was an avid jogger

East Millinocket, Maine, was a peaceful mill town, where children played in the parks unsupervised, and most residents kept their doors unlocked. But that sense of security was shattered on August 8, 1980. On that day, Joyce McLain, a spirited and promising 16-year-old, was brutally murdered in the woods behind the high school soccer field. For Nancy Deschaine, chairperson of the Justice for Joyce Committee, the unsolved murder of Joyce McLain is something she’ll never forget:

“It’s there all the time. There’s not a day that goes by that her name isn’t mentioned mainly because she was such a bright, beautiful young girl, so talented. She made such a mark on this town, that people just didn’t forget.”

Two young men next to a truck holding beer in a field

Young men liked to hang out and drink nearby

Joyce McLain was the kind of teenager that would make any family, or any hometown, proud. She displayed extraordinary musical talent at an early age, and later on played in the school orchestra and composed music of her own. Joyce was an honor student, a cheerleader, and an officer of the student body. According to her mother Pam, Joyce was popular and well-loved:

“Joyce’s mind was filled with thoughts of what kind of a future she was going to have. She was heading into a new step in life. She was getting her driver’s license. She was going to turn 17-years-old. She had a big party planned at the beach with a big band and lots of friends and family was going to be there. I believe that it was a growing up time.”

On Friday, August 8, 1980, Joyce went jogging at 7:30 in the evening. That Friday was the last time Joyce was seen alive. Two days later, Peter Larlee, one of the volunteers searching for Joyce, found her body in the woods behind the high school:

“I saw Joyce. She wasn’t moving. Her body, I think had been beaten. I knew that she wasn’t alive. I started screaming her name. After that I turned and ran home and called the police… that’s really hurting. I never expected what happened at all.”

No one knows exactly what events led up to the death of Joyce McLain. According to Detective Barry Shuman of the Maine State Police, Joyce was last seen jogging towards the soccer field:

“Joyce had a route that took her out around the town and behind Skank High School. And the last time she was seen is turning the corner going down to the softball field and the soccer field where she usually did a number of laps. We have witnesses that say this happened roughly between quarter of 8:00 and 8:00 o’clock in the evening.”

Two young men accosting Joyce in the middle of a field

Did the young men attack Joyce as she ran by?

The field was a popular hang out. One theory is that some locals were drinking there and began harassing Joyce. They may have forced Joyce into the woods intending to rape her. Instead, it ended in murder. A second theory is that Joyce was attacked by one or more workers from the local paper mill. Three hundred laborers, who were not local residents, had just been hired. But after intense investigation, the case remains unsolved. For her sister, Wendy, and the rest of the town, Joyce McLain’s untimely death continues to be painful:

“Before she was murdered, all of us kids would all go out, walking… on the street. And after she was murdered, it all changed. The parents were real you know, where are you going, what time are you going to be home. And people never even locked their doors around here. People started locking up their houses. And I mean everybody was just in a panic. It was something you least expect around here.”

Update:

On March 4, 2016, Philip Scott Fournier of East Millinocket was arrested and charged with Joyce’s murder. At the time, Fournier was 19 years old and on the night of the murder he reportedly stole an oil truck and crashed it into another vehicle. In 2008, Joyce’s body was exhumed and the new evidence found helped lead to Fournier’s arrest. The trial lasted a little more than two weeks, and on February 22, 2018, Fournier was found guilty of Joyce’s murder.


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

 

40 Comments

  1. Lori E.

    What was Scott Fournier’s motive for killing Joyce?

    Reply

  2. CalvinismKills

    I agree this is not solved case something isn’t adding up here. I’m not trying to disparage or take any closure away from the families but it appears to me Phillip Scott Fournier is convicted on basis of hearsay with no DNA, forensics, or other tangible evidence tying him to the murder.
    All you have is a bunch allegations he claimed to confess to the crime to Pastors and others with the story changing from person to person each time. This is hearsay and inadmissible except under certain rules of the court. Where is a competent lawyer for this man? Also, the convicted person is disabled and such incompetence violates the ADA Act without reasonable accommodations the attorney in the case for Fournier should fired for incompetent representation and appealed under 6th amendment, 5th and 14th and any other that may apply. I don’t see any due process here either. The man suffered a coma has significant head injuries which can disability can vary depending upon the brain injury. There’s no forensic evidence, DNA, or other tangible weapon and/or evidence linking him to the crime all hearsay. The state of the victim doesn’t match with a single handedly committed murder. The man assuming he is the assailant would be drunk sluggish he was so drunk he later crashed to truck to self inflict himself into a coma. A teenage girl jogging would outrun him so how is he able to catch her by himself to be tied up and bludgeoned to death. It means others and a group would be more likely involved in the crime of murdering Joyce McLain than a single handed drunk teen crashing a truck into a self-inflicted comatose state. In fact, a bunch of jealous gang of vicious girls or a hazing iniation is more likely in this scenario than a drunk disabled teen delinquent. This case looks like a town coverup pinning the crime on an unlucky moron in the wrong area. Maybe he partipated but we have no clear evidence either way. For all we know he could’ve witnessed the crime and tried to flee the scene in fear. There’s more likely a high school gang that might have murdered her in thus case than a loner drunk teen in a stolen truck. This is a town coverup a small town everyone knows each other police, fireman and judges etc. Speaking of Judges – there is Joseph McLain of Bremen, Lincoln, Maine as her relative. This is a conflict of interest problem don’t you think? Another mentioned ties to Bear Brook Murders because of a Cora McLain [ it is true her relatives are from Maine as well ] and similar bludgeoning to death blunt force trauma to the head is also found in the victims at Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire. It also occurs I the same period of time as the Joyce McLain murder 1980. I’m unsure if it relates or is a coincidence and perhaps should be not overlooked. The Bear Brook Murders are blamed on single serial killer related to Diane Kloepfer and allegedly Terry Peder Rasmussen who.used other fake names like Bob Evans, Curtis Mayo Kimball, and again Gary Mockerman. [ There’s no proof to verify Rasmussen is his real name either] in that case nor that he is a serial killer or hired hit man, or something else as the brief interview alleged to be him clearly shows he is completely incompetent mentally disabled with no lawyer representing him. Both cases may be not related at all but interesting both are questionable as to proper lawful competent representation and both wreak of a coverup. and incompetent police work plus the David Paquette murder.

    Reply

  3. Owen Ramey

    CORRECTION: The high school is Schebi High School! NOT Skank High School, as it is spelled in the above article!

    Reply

  4. Johnny Diamond

    This took a longtime to solve but as a Mainer I am glad to see the perpetrator caught and brought to justice. Things like this do not happen in East Millanocket. You would not be surprised to see this in Portland but not a small rural mill town.

    Reply

  5. Kevin

    Episode just aired again, still not updated. It leaves it where it was 8 years ago.

    Reply

    • Unsolved Mysteries Post author

      Hi Kevin – did you see the Farina or Stack version? And could you please let us know where you saw it? Thank you.

      Reply

  6. Amazing Maine

    SOLVED – “This is the end.”

    https://bangordailynews.com/2018/02/22/news/bangor/maine-man-found-guilty-in-1980-slaying-of-joyce-mclain/

    Spent a lot of my childhood in the area of this case….happy for the end, as much as one can be in a case like this.

    Reply

  7. Adrian

    Pretty awesome this case was finally solved. I feel like it has been solvable for some time.

    Reply

  8. rob main

    please kkep updated on joyce maclean here

    Reply

  9. Anonymous

    please keep me up to date on this story rob main winnipeg. [email protected]

    Reply

  10. Lorrie

    In one article I read about Joyce McLain it said there were no signs of sexual abuse found on her, Fournier said he tried to have sex with her and also she was found with all her clothes off except for her socks and shoes being on.There would have to be sexual abuse found based on these facts alone…???

    Reply

  11. Michelle

    This Leroy Spearing guy seems like he might be involved in Joyce’s murder too.He was hanging around with Fournier drinking whiskey nearby where Joyce was jogging. It seems more likely that the two of them did this and not just Fournier. Does anyone else agree?

    Reply

    • Jane Jackson

      Phillip Fournier ran Rumblewood Music lived next door to Patricia George and Christopher Morin. I say look into the George family out of New Hampshire and Simon C. Leeming also the Morins have ties to Bear Brook Murders.

      Reply

  12. Mary

    What about the other guys that Fournier mentioned were involved.they have had their freedom for far too long,it is so unfair.I personally think more were involved than just Fournir. Do they still do lie detector tests these days? There has to be someway to get all the exact details as to all that participated in this horrible senseless act of violence. Fournier needs to come clean and tell all. Is this other guy, Leroy Speain involved in this? Sure as hell sounds like it was him and Fournier to me.

    Reply

  13. Lisa

    I just seen this episode again on tv (4/5/16) and they did not announce that there has been an arrest, they have the case as still open, although it shows here its closed, they need to update the show as well.

    Reply

    • unsolved

      Hi Lisa – unfortunately getting the updates on tv can take a while, but we do have this case on the list. Thank you!

      Reply

  14. bill torrey

    the cops talked to the guy 26 times over the years. he confessed to many people including his mother and pastors and teachers. i guess they all helped him by keeping it secret. the whole town holds blame for this crime. it’s a sick little town in the middle of the state. the rest of us have agonized over the years not knowing it was a sicko from her homedown. i am so sorry joyce for the men who did this to you. you are stilled loved. i have 4 daughters myself and worry about a world that won’t even report a killing. his mother must be proud tho she is as sick as he is. what a poor excuse for a town to live in. what a bunch of stupid cops…….

    Reply

    • Ka

      I’m sorry to say this as any family member wants closure in a murder. But it seems to me this Phillip Scott Fournier is convicted based on what others claim he confessed to pastors, and police. Yet none of the alleged confessions are consistent and the story changes. This is not evidence it is hearsay but where is his competent lawyer to raise this argument it is a 6th amendment violation. Hearsay is inadmissible except under certain exceptions by rules of courts.

      None of the alleged confessions are consistent and there are no forensics, DNA, or other tangible evidence tying him to the crime. In addition, he crashed his vehicle drunk and was in coma in the area. The state of Joyce being tied up as some evidence indicates multiple people involved in her murder. A drunk guy near coma barely able to walk let alone single handedly tie a girl up and bludgeon her to death while shes jogging? Not likely. .Also, overlooked is the fact the McLains were related to a Maine Judge up in Bremen Lincoln Maine Joseph McLain and the town police sheriff’s lawyers prosectors all know each other. This is not solved it’s a coverup here. For all we know it may not even be men involved it could be a gang of jealous high school girls or some kind of initiation hazing that occurred right behind the High School. Also other reports claim.her gravesite was vandalized – it doesnt seem she was as popular as the media claims. Again poularity bears little importance really but as teenagers lots of backstabbing and most are not true friends in the end except a few.. Where are all her friends now at this time to fill in the blanks? Now it’s maybe a coincidence or farfetched but someone also states Bear Brook Murders connected around the same time in the 1980s to the McLains too and even before that.
      Similar to Bear Brook the type of crime the victims were found bludgeoned to death placed and shoved in barrels all young women and children. I don’t think either media coverage police and where is the FBI on this case were competent? Again John C. Fairbanks scandal also had connections to Maine. Just it seems all too convenient something isn’t adding up.

      Reply

  15. Johnny

    Happy to hear an arrest has been made. Justice for Joyce! Thanks to the Unsolved Mystery fans and the Unsolved Mysteries Show for keeping this case alive. I would hate to be this Philip guy because that Maine community loved Joyce and will be very angry at his trial. They might need additional security. Like many fans of the show, Joyce’s death stayed with me as many of these unsolved crimes do. Congrats to all the detectives and law enforcement for their hundreds of hours dedicated to finding Joyce murderer.

    Reply

  16. joann gilbert

    Someone needs to urge scott fourniers mother to have her son to confess after all these years. Police need to offer scott some kind of plea deal to confess who else was involved. He musst not walk this time! 35 years of freedom was more than he ever deserved. More than joyce ever had. We want justice for that child!

    Reply

  17. Robert

    • Rick James

      Case should have been solved years ago. The police butchered this investigation. Yes, Pam McClain should be mad at Fournier for taking the life of her daughter. But she should also be mad at the Maine State Police for the horrible work they did on this case.

      Reply

      • Jane Jackson

        Yes, but also connected is the entire removal of Cora McLain Frenette family who worked for George family in New Hampshire. Patricia George is Phllip Fourniers next door neighbor. The children were adopted out to Temple of Set related members tied to the Bear Brook Murders. Cora was a musician herself performing on the radio with her sister Myra. This is a coverup and Fournier himself was running Rumblewood Music. Also the George’s ran New England Call Center under Simon C. Leeming of Canturbury, NH. In addition, Cora’s great grand-daughter was trafficked with the assistance of Sabrina Duval Morin Khoury of Allenstown NH where the Bear Brook murders took place with bludgeoned women and children were found shoved in barrels. And there are reports her other great-grandchildren also being retrafficked The George family involved with the Zerbis of Lundin Petroleum. Simon C. Leeming also involved with Walt Disney World. Plus, Sabrina Duval Morin Khoury had a child with Thomas Aaron Clark aka White and helped kidnap Cora McLains great grand-daughter. And they also have ties to the John C Fairbanks scandal. Lance Shuman worked for Cotillion Ballroom in Kansas and arranged to assault Cora’s great grand-daughter. There is attempted murder occurring on Cora McLains grand-daughter. Plus Cora McLain has relatives related to the Kennedy’s. Sabrina Morin had a child with Thomas Aaron Clark who is relative to Hollis “Jib” Clark Jr. and were involved with Michael W. Ford in the Order of Nine Angles. Hollis also runs New England Audio Tech dba Rainbow Productions Services. Plus, they arranged for his own in-law Brett Kavanaugh interferring with settlement. Thomas is an in-law to Brett Kavanaugh. We also know Kevin Guay of Allenstown NH [ Tracy Riel Guay ] hired David Pellenz of Dunbarton, NH to coverup illegal dumping barrels and some of those barrels are likely found up at Bear Brook. Pellenz was disbarred except his main practice in Houston, Texas and Spring, Texas case. Plus, some of the Pickerings were taught at Pembroke Academy High School up at Bear Brook too. Smells like human trafficking probate fraud estate schemes involving John C Fairbanks scandal? Nah…

        Reply

  18. Questing54

    We got him!

    Reply

  19. Lynn gary

  20. Stephanie bell

    They made a arrest of one of the monsters today thank you Jesús

    Reply

  21. Scott McAvoy

    Arrest made an hour go…fellow town resident and Schenck alum, Scott Fournier was charged with murder. 3/4/16

    Reply

  22. Johnny

    It’s a shame Joyce couldn’t find a friend to jog with in the evening. Probably would still be alive. A beautiful young life extinguished. I’ve seen so many cases with people dying young. My guess the person was rejected by Joyce and knew about her jogging routine. He probably was filled with jealousy and lust for her. Jumped out of the woods and caught Joyce by surprise. This similar to the Moxley case. It was a sexually motivated crime ending in murder. Best way to solve the case:Investigate students in her high school from that time and new DNA techniques could solve this case. I can’t believe almost 36 years and no justice for Joyce. I have a sister who was younger than Joyce by 5 years and I remember when they aired the show. Very sad case. There’s somebody who knows something.

    Reply

  23. Cathy

    I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT SOFTBALL TEAM WERE PLAYING THAT FRIDAY.

    Reply

  24. Diane

    This was such a sad case. Such a pretty and popular girl. I personally think it was some teenage guys that knew her and things got out of hand during an attempted sexual assault and they probably all were sworn to secrecy.

    Reply

  25. Anonymous

    Did her mother ever get the body exhumed and tested for DNA?

    Reply

  26. Mary

    Think those guys that are standing by the gate in front of her did this to her ,makes sense because they seem to be the last ones to have seen her alive.’

    Reply

  27. Alan

    I think that it was someone that was rejected by her. The show days that she was basically a girl that was liked by many. And that means it could have been a guy that was rejected or a jealous girl.

    Reply

    • Angel

      I’m thinking it was a young male around her age maybe 2 years older..

      Reply

    • Stephanie

      Yes I believe it was someone who rejected her and hopefully this family can get some peace….my Mommah always told me this horror story since she was in the class of 85 ….it affected her for sure

      Reply

  28. lord rob main

    have they solved it.

    Reply

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