• July 16, 2024

COLD CASE THAWS: Maine police make arrest 35 years after murder of 16-year-old cheerleader killed after she went for a jog

An arrest has been made in a cold case murder that has kept investigators guessing for more than three decades.

Joyce McClain was 16 when she went jogging from her Millinocket, Maine, home one night in August 1980 and never returned.

The cheerleader’s body was discovered days later partially clothed and bludgeoned by a blunt object, though no one had ever been held responsible for her death.

However, police say they are now confident that Phillip Scott Fournier, 55, murdered the teenager back when he himself was 19.

Police say Philip Scott Fournier, who had been spoken to 27 times, at points confessed to the crime.PENOBSCOT COUNTY JAILEnlarge
Joyce McLain, a 16-year-old cheerleader and athlete, was found bludgeoned on the head.FACEBOOKEnlarge

Police say that Phillip Scott Fournier, (left) now 55, killed Joyce McLain, (right) a 16-year-old cheerleader and athlete.

Fournier was never labeled a suspect in the case, though had been called a “person of interest.”

He had been interviewed a reported 27 times during the decades-long investigation, according to the Bangor Daily News.

During some of the conversations with police he had said that he and five other people were involved in McLain’s sexual assault and death, but later said that he made the details up.

Fournier had long drawn attention in the case because of a car crash he was in the night of McLain's disappearance. Above, he is arrested on Friday.MAINE STATE POLICEEnlarge
Police say that the suspect's long-awaited arrest occurred without incident.MAINE STATE POLICEEnlarge

Fournier had long drawn attention in the case because of a car crash he was in the night of McLain’s disappearance. Above, he is arrested on Friday.

He also reportedly told his parents and a pastor about his deeds, according to a police affidavit.

It is unclear what new evidence led to the suspect’s arrest on Friday.

“This is a very complex case. You’ll see when it goes to court there were a lot of things we had to follow up on,” Maine State Police’s Robert Williams toldWMTV.


The victim’s mother Pamela McLain (pictured in 2005) lobbied the state to create a special squad for investigating cold cases.

“We’ve been doing that, and we’re finally at the point where we feel confident that we can prove the case without a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

Fournier — who was seen drunk around the site where McLain’s body was found, around the time of her disappearance — had previously drawn attention for his erratic behavior on that August night 36 years ago.

He was arrested that night for stealing an oil truck after he crashed it and fractured his skull, sending himself into a coma for eight days.

Patriots Beacon