Was The Second Murder From 'The Keepers' Solved? Joyce Malecki's Case Is No Less Important
In only seven episodes, The Keepers covers a lot of ground, retreading the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik and the gruesome allegations that shadowed it. But amidst the many threads the docuseries traces, an early detail slips by mostly untouched: the disappearance of Joyce Malecki, who was killed only four days after Cesnik went missing. Five decades later, Cesnik's death remains a mystery, but what about Malecki? Was the second murder from The Keepers ever solved?
Unfortunately, Malecki's story has a similarly dismal ending. According to the Baltimore City Paper, Malecki was a 20-year-old office worker for a liquor distributor in the Baltimore area. She was abducted from the parking lot of a department store in Glen Burnie, Maryland on Nov. 11, 1969. Two days later, she was found strangled and stabbed to death in a small creek located on the U.S. Army’s Fort Meade military base. The autopsy report said that she had scratches and bruises on her body, indicating that she had struggled with her assailant.
Malecki was discovered only a few miles from where Cesnik’s body would later turn up. However, the Baltimore Sun reported that Cesnik was still considered a missing person at the time (her body wouldn't be recovered until January 1970), and investigators said that they couldn't link the cases.
Because Fort Meade is a federal reservation, the FBI was assigned to Malecki's case. According to the Baltimore City Paper, when a reporter inquired about a possible tie between Cesnik and Malecki's murders, FBI Special Agent Barry Maddox, now retired, said that the Bureau “didn’t actually do the investigation,” but forwarded all of its information to the Anne Arundel County Police Department. But a spokesperson for the AACoPD insisted to the City Paper that no investigation had ever taken place and sent the reporter back to the FBI. (Bustle reached out for comment to both the FBI and the AACoPD but has not yet received a response.)
As of today, no serious link between Cesnik and Malecki's deaths has ever been established, though a four-month investigation by City Paper did find some connections. One of the leading theories in Cesnik's case is that she was killed to cover up a long, brutal history of alleged sexual assault at Archbishop Keough High School, where she had worked as an English teacher. The chaplain, Father Joseph Maskell, was said to be the main perpetrator of the alleged abuse. Maskell denied the accusations until his death in 2001, and he was never charged in connection to Cesnik's case. But the Archdiocese of Baltimore acknowledged the allegations of abuse in a statement to Bustle.
Since the 1990s, when the Archdiocese of Baltimore first learned of an allegation of child sexual abuse against Maskell, and on numerous occasions since, the Archdiocese has publicly acknowledged and apologized for the horrific abuse committed by him. The Archdiocese reported the allegations to civil authorities in the 1990s and cooperated fully in any investigation, removed Father Maskell’s faculties to function as a priest, apologized to victims and offered them counseling assistance, sought additional victims, and provided direct financial assistance to 16 individuals abused by Maskell.
Though it was unaware of the abuse at the time it occurred approximately 50 years ago, the Archdiocese deeply regrets the damage that was caused to those who were so badly harmed and has worked diligently since becoming aware of their abuse to bring some measure of healing to them. The Archdiocese is wholly committed to protecting children, holding abusers accountable — clergy and laity alike, and promoting healing for victims. These are hallmarks of the Archdiocese’s child protection efforts, which we strive to constantly strengthen.
There is no room in the Archdiocese for anyone who would harm a child and every effort must be made to ensure what happened before never happens again. It is our hope that The Keepers advances this pursuit, just as we hope the series helps those who have kept alive the memory of Sr. Cathy and our collective hope that justice will be won for her.
Incidentally, according to City Paper, the Malecki family attended St. Clement Church, where Father Joseph Maskell served from 1966 to 1968. The Malecki siblings, including Joyce, also attended week-long “retreats” while they were students, during which they engaged in extended religious instruction with priests. Furthermore, an examination of the 1968-’69 Keough yearbook shows that the Maleckis made a gift to the school during that year. In the 2005 City Paper article, Maddox reviewed the connections the reporter found and said, “All of these coincidences certainly rise to the level of possible significance for solving both killings. We haven’t ruled anything out, including Father Maskell, and we have gone back to reinvestigate the Malecki killing and possible links to the Cesnik case.”
But, in the last 10 years, no further information has been released about Malecki's murder or any possible leads. It remains unsolved to this day.