An Irish-American man who would now be in his 70s is still wanted in the US for murdering his wife almost 50 years ago.
In 1967, 27-year-old June Maloney, a resident of Rochester, New York, left her husband Joseph Maloney on less than amicable terms. Ironically leaving her husband because of his vicious behavior, Joe took his vicious nature one step further and poisoned his estranged wife before fleeing to Ireland.
Maloney’s friend, Neal Dunkleberg, was an amateur chemist who kept his own lab in his basement. Turning to his friend for help, Maloney inquired about a odorless, tasteless and untraceable poison with which, he claimed, he could kill a dog that was going through his garbage.
Highly suspicious of Maloney’s motives, Dunkleberg refused and warned his family to let no-one but himself into the basement laboratory, especially Maloney. A while later, the family went on vacation leaving only Dunkleberg’s sister looking after the house. While Dunkleberg and his family were away, Maloney once again returned to their home in an attempt to acquire the poison. Manipulating Dunkleberg’s sister, he succeeded in entering the basement.
For the next few weeks, both Joe and his wife June appeared to be on good terms and June returned to their family home on the day of their son’s fifth birthday. It is now believed that while celebrating their son’s birthday, Joe slipped poison to June.
The following day, June’s friend, Wanda Mordenga, arrived to June’s apartment to find Joe attending to his wife with a doctor. Despite the doctor ruling the illness as a bout of food poisoning, Wanda was also suspicious and rightly so, as the next day, June slipped into a coma and was hospitalized.
Doctors were unable to find a reason for the illness and Joe stepped in to inform them that June suffered from depression and had attempted suicide. His claim, however, only aroused further suspicion as doctors knew that a coma is not self-induced but a naturally occurring bodily function.
June never awoke from the coma and died on June 5 1967. An autopsy found that she had ingested a poison that matched that stolen from Dunkleberg’s lab while on vacation. The amount of poison ingested also matched the amount stolen. Just four hours after her death, June’s husband Joe was arrested for her murder.
Following his conviction on first-degree and his sentence of life imprisonment in September 1967, Maloney pleaded insanity and was granted permission to be sent to Rochester State Mental Hospital.
In a further swoop of foul-play, two weeks after his admission to Rochester State, Maloney escaped and disappeared. On pleading insanity and asking permission to be sent to the hospital, Maloney had failed to mention that he had once worked there as a janitor and was well in-tune with the hospital’s layout.
Five years later in Ireland, while Maloney was still counted as a criminal at large in the US, a man named Michael O’Shea called the Gardaí (Irish police) to his Dublin home to investigate a burglary. In order to establish which fingerprints were O’Shea’s and which were the burglar’s, he was required to supply fingerprints.
To much surprise, the Irish police discovered that the fingerprints taken belonged to a man sentenced to a life sentence in the US five years previous. The fingerprints belonged to Joe Maloney. Denying that he was anybody other than O’Shea and due to the lack of extradition agreement between the US and Ireland at the time, O’Shea could not be arrested on suspicion of being Joe Maloney and went free.
Years later in 1984, the Irish Republic established full diplomatic relations with the United States and O’Shea was arrested still claiming his innocence. The agreement was again made void in 1986 and O’Shea was released, to once again disappear. He was never seen again.
Today, if still alive, Maloney would be in his 70s and is still wanted in US to serve his life sentence.
*Originally published in 2015.