The FBI plans to exhume the body of Joyce Malecki, who was found killed in 1969 on Fort Meade property in a case explored in the documentary “The Keepers,” according to her brother and one of the family’s legal advocates.

“They’re working on the paperwork to exhume her body,” said Darryl Malecki, one of Joyce’s brothers. “I’m just thinking and hoping and praying that they have a good reason for doing that.”

Malecki said the FBI investigator assigned to his sister’s case told him last week that they were beginning the process to get approval to dig up her body to look for more evidence. He did not know when the exhumation would take place, but said an FBI investigator said a family member could attend.

An FBI spokesperson declined to comment because it is an ongoing investigation.

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Joyce Malecki, 20, went missing on Nov. 11, 1969 after going Christmas shopping at the Harundale Mall, and was found dead two days later by hunters at the Soldier Park training area of Fort Meade. Her hands were bound, and she had been stabbed in the throat and strangled. Since her body was found at a military base, the FBI has led the investigation rather than local law enforcement agencies.

Investigators have long searched for a link between the killings of Malecki and Sister Cathy Cesnik, a teacher at Archbishop Keough High School. Cesnik disappeared four days before Malecki, although her body was not discovered until two months later.

The 2017 Netflix documentary “The Keepers” probed both cases and also delved into allegations of horrific sexual abuse at the now-shuttered all-girls Catholic high school. Numerous women who attended Keough in the late 1960s and early 1970s say that they were raped by two faculty members, the Rev. Neil Magnus and the Rev. A. Joseph Maskell.

The Keough alumni say that the priests, who have both since died, targeted vulnerable girls based on their disclosures in the confessional, then brought them into their private offices for supposed counseling sessions, in which they actually drugged, sexually assaulted and raped them. According to the Maryland Office of the Attorney General’s massive report on the sexual abuse of minors in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 39 women and men have accused Maskell of sexual abuse, both at Keough and other schools and parishes where he worked.

“The Keepers” explored the theory that Cesnik was killed because girls had confided to her that they were being abused at school. An arrest has not been made in Cesnik’s case.

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Darryl Malecki said that his family attended St. Clement Catholic Church and lived two blocks away from the church rectory, where Maskell was living at the time Joyce disappeared. However, he said he did not necessarily believe that there was a connection between the killing of his sister and that of Sister Cathy.

Some have speculated a possible connection between the killing of Malecki and that of Pamela Lynn Conyers, who had also disappeared after visiting the Harundale Mall, although she disappeared nearly a year later, in October 1970. In March, Anne Arundel County police and federal authorities announced that they believed Forrest Clyde William III killed Conyers. William died in 2018.

Kurt Wolfgang, executive director of the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center, which has been advocating for the Malecki family, said the FBI investigator also called a detective in his office last week to tell him they were planning to exhume Malecki’s body.

“They won’t tell us much, of course,” Wolfgang said. “But we think they probably have a suspect and they want to check her body to see if they can find his DNA on her body.”

Darryl Malecki, 70, said when his sister’s body was first found the family was hopeful that the FBI would quickly find the culprit.

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“Not knowing any better, we thought, ‘It’s the FBI. They’ll solve it in no time,’” he recalled.

He said that he and his older brother were the ones to identify their sister’s body, and at the time, an investigator told them that she had the killer’s flesh under her fingernails. “They said she put up quite a fight,” he said.

But later, another FBI investigator told him the scrapings from her fingernails could not be found, Darryl Malecki said.

As the decades have ticked by, it’s been heartbreaking to not have answers about the killing, he said. His parents and one brother have died and the surviving siblings are elderly and facing health issues.

“I’m just thinking and hoping and praying that they have a good reason” to exhume the body, he said. “Then at least we can have some closure.”

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Baltimore Banner reporter Dylan Segelbaum contributed to this report.

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