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.
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.
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.
“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.