More than 50 years after his sister, Joyce Malecki, was killed, Darryl Malecki bade farewell to her again Thursday.

“I went up and had a few words with her,” said Darryl Malecki, 71, at a Friday news conference. “I tried to think of the good times.”

Darryl Malecki was one of four family members who kept vigil Thursday as FBI agents exhumed Joyce Malecki’s body from Southwest Baltimore’s Loudon Park Cemetery.

The 20-year-old disappeared on Nov. 11, 1969 after going Christmas shopping at Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie. Her body was found two days later at Fort Meade, facedown in a creek. She had been strangled and stabbed in the throat and her hands were bound. The FBI investigated the case because her body was found at a military installation.

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Darryl Malecki speaks at a news conference on Friday, Dec. 15,2023 about his sister Joyce, who was murdered in 1969. FBI agents exhumed her body this month as part of an investigation.
Darryl Malecki speaks at a news conference on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023 about his sister Joyce, who was killed in 1969. FBI agents exhumed her body this month as part of an investigation.

For decades, Darryl Malecki, other relatives and victims’ rights advocates have pressed the FBI to solve Joyce Malecki’s killing. The FBI has not said why they decided to exhume the body, but family members suspect they were looking for DNA evidence.

“We remain committed to bringing justice for Joyce and her family,” the agency said in a statement Thursday. “Because the investigation is ongoing, we cannot provide any additional information.”

Darryl Malecki appeared at the press conference with Kurt Wolfgang, executive director of the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center. The organization has been pushing for movement in the Malecki case, which was scrutinized in the 2017 Netflix series, “The Keepers.”

Many have wondered if there is a connection between the killings of Malecki and Sister Cathy Cesnik, a teacher at Archbishop Keough High School. Cesnik disappeared four days before Malecki and her body was found in January 1970 in a wooded area. “The Keepers” delved into whether Cesnik’s killing was linked to pervasive sexual abuse at Keough, a now-shuttered all-girls Catholic school.

Photo of Sister Catherine Cesnik
Photo of Sister Catherine Cesnik. (Courtesy of Netflix)

Loudon Park Cemetery was closed to the public and the media on Thursday morning as FBI workers exhumed the body. Darryl Malecki said his oldest brother and two nieces waited at the attached funeral home while the investigators examined the remains.

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Then, Malecki said, agents allowed family members to spend some time with Malecki’s casket in the funeral home’s chapel.

“Your mind really starts spinning,” said Malecki, describing being in the presence of his sister’s remains. He was 17 when she, the youngest of six siblings, was killed. Since then, his parents and one of his brothers have died.

Undated photo of Joyce Malecki.
Joyce Malecki. (Courtesy of Malecki Family)

Malecki said he imagines his sister is in heaven, surrounded by their parents and his own granddaughter, who was stillborn. “Hopefully she’s holding her,” he said.

He often wonders what his sister could have made of her life. “She could have made a big difference somewhere,” he said. “You just don’t know.”

The FBI has made many stumbles in its investigation of Malecki’s death, Malecki and Wolfgang said. Agents scraped her fingernails, but the bureau told the family that evidence disappeared. “They said she did put up a fight,” Malecki said.

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A few years ago, Wolfgang said, the FBI said it would release 4,000 pages of information on Malecki’s killing in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. However, the bureau later rescinded its offer and said the investigation was ongoing, Wolfgang said.

Malecki said that after family members paid their respects, the FBI invited them to serve as pallbearers and carry his sister’s coffin to a hearse, so that it could be buried again.

“It was very emotional,” he said. “It definitely brings back a lot of memories.”

Julie Scharper is a news enterprise reporter who writes about interesting people, places, trends and traditions in Baltimore and the surrounding counties. She seeks to answer the question: What does it mean to be alive in this time and place? 

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