The FBI has completed the exhumation of the body of Joyce Malecki, whose 1969 unsolved murder was investigated in the Netflix documentary, “The Keepers,” the bureau announced Thursday.

“The FBI conducted an exhumation at Loudon Park Cemetery regarding the murder investigation of Joyce Malecki,” the agency’s Baltimore field office wrote on social media. “We remain committed to bringing justice for Joyce and her family.”

The FBI said it could not provide additional information because the investigation is ongoing. The bureau thanked the Malecki family, the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and Loudon Park Cemetery, where Malecki was buried, for their help.

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Malecki, 20, disappeared after shopping at Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie on Nov. 11, 1969. Two days later, hunters found her body at Fort Meade near Odenton. She had been strangled and stabbed in the throat and her hands were bound.

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The FBI has supervised the murder investigation because Malecki’s body was discovered on federal property.

The victim’s brother, Darryl Malecki, said the FBI has not informed the family why they were exhuming the body or what they hoped to find, although family members assume investigators were looking for DNA evidence. Family members were permitted to attend the exhumation, but public and media were barred from cemetery.

People have long speculated about a possible link 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 2017 Netflix documentary “The Keepers” delved into both killings and 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.

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, where they were drugged, sexually assaulted and raped.

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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.

The Malecki family attended St. Clement Catholic Church and lived two blocks from the church rectory, where Maskell was living at the time Joyce Malecki disappeared, her brother said. 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 also speculated on a possible connection between the killing of Malecki and that of Pamela Lynn Conyers, who also went missing after visiting 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.

Earlier this month, Darryl Malecki said he was optimistic that the FBI was getting closer to solving the case, after more than 54 years.

“That’s all we’ve been doing this whole time — hoping,” he said. “Hoping for some closure.”

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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