Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Real Name: Joseph Michael Maloney
Aliases: Joe, Michael O'Shea
Wanted For: Murder, Escape
Missing Since: July 25, 1986


Details: In March 1967, twenty-seven-year-old nurse June Fisk Maloney of Rochester, New York, walked out on her thirty-one-year-old husband Joe after five years of emotional and physical abuse. In an informal agreement, she assumed custody of the couple’s two young children. He was allowed to visit whenever he wished. She had confided in a family friend, Neal Dunkleberg, that Joe had “roughed her up” a couple of times. Although he did not hit or bruise her, he would get angry and yell at her, looking “dangerous”. He would also grab and shake her on occasion. Neal felt that his behavior was very intimidating.
Several weeks after June moved out, Joe paid Neal an unexpected visit. Neal, an amateur chemist, had set up a laboratory in the basement of his mother’s home. Joe told him that there was a dog who was continuously tipping over his garbage cans and giving him fits. He wanted to poison the dog, but he was a little shaky about doing it because the dog belonged to a policeman that lived in his neighborhood. Joe showed interest in one particular chemical, a clear liquid which is odorless, tasteless, and lethal when ingested in sufficient amounts.
Immediately after the visit, Neal began to wonder what Joe really wanted to do with the chemical. Cautious, he went up and double-locked the side door that led to the lab. He then told his family to not let anyone into the lab without his permission. He specifically told them to not let Joe in. Unfortunately, the warning did not work. Two weeks later, while Neal and his family were on vacation, his younger sister was housesitting when Joe showed up. He “sweet-talked” her into letting him in the lab. He claimed that he had to sterilize some instruments. Instead, he took some of the chemical.
Two weeks later on May 27, June arrived at Joe’s house for their son’s fifth birthday party. He offered her a drink and she accepted; she stayed there for about two hours. During the party, the two seemed to be getting along well. While there, she called her friend, Wanda Mordenga. Wanda felt that she seemed “wound up” and asked her how many drinks she had. She said that she only had two. After the party, she went back to her apartment. A short time later, Wanda went over to check on her. Wanda asked if she wanted her to stay, but she declined. She said she was not feeling well and was going to go to bed.
The next morning, Wanda was surprised to find Joe and a doctor in the hall outside June’s apartment. He said that he had called the doctor because June was not feeling well. When Wanda said she was going in to visit June, Joe was hesitant, but the doctor said it was okay. June told her that she did not want to be alone with Joe and wanted her to stay. The doctor thought she had food poisoning, but she believed that it was something else.
Suddenly, during the visit, June stopped talking and had a fearful look in her eyes. Wanda looked over and saw Joe standing in the doorway. June then got up to get some aspirin from the bathroom. As Joe and Wanda followed her, he told Wanda that he did not want her there. Wanda said she wanted to help, but Joe wanted her to leave. June insisted that she stay and asked Joe to go to the store to get her a drink.
The next day, June lapsed into a coma and was immediately hospitalized. Despite a battery of tests, doctors could find no cause for her rapid deterioration. According to Wanda, the situation appeared hopeless. Joe seemed unruffled by her condition. He offered his own explanation: that June, depressed and despondent with marital troubles and work issues, had attempted suicide. He also tried to convince Wanda that she had attempted suicide. However, she did not believe that June would have done that.
June never regained consciousness. On June 5, 1967, she died. An autopsy determined that she had ingested a lethal dose of the same type of chemical Joe had taken from Neal’s lab. The amount ingested also matched the amount taken. Four hours after her death, Joe was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Wanda was very upset about June’s death because she believed that she would get better. She was also shocked that he was responsible.
Against his attorney’s advice, Joe asked to be committed to the Rochester State Mental Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. The court granted his request. Authorities were unaware that he had once worked as a janitor at the hospital and was familiar with the layout. On September 25, 1967, less than two weeks after he was admitted, he duplicated a key, escaped from the hospital, and disappeared.
Five years later and more than 3,000 miles away, in August 1973, authorities in Dublin, Ireland, were called to investigate a burglary at the home of Mr. Michael O’Shea. He was married and had two children. The police had apparently known him already. He did not have any criminal record in Ireland. However, since the police were looking for the burglar’s prints, they asked everyone who lived there to be fingerprinted so that they could eliminate their prints from the ones taken.
A detective sent "Michael's" fingerprints into Interpol and got a hit. Investigators were stunned to discover that they matched Joe Maloney’s. Incredibly, this twisted odyssey was not over. He could not be arrested because Ireland and the United States had no extradition agreement. But in 1984, the Irish Parliament did pass an extradition treaty. After eighteen years at large, on January 7, 1985, Joe a.k.a Michael was finally taken into custody.
Joe was held without bail, all the while steadfastly denying his identity. He remained incarcerated for fourteen months at Mount Jay prison outside Dublin. He refused to cooperate with authorities and did not allow himself to be photographed. He also tried to escape at least twice while in custody. Then, in 1986, the Irish-American extradition treaty was voided because of a legal technicality. On July 24, Joe walked out of prison and disappeared, perhaps forever.
In February 1987, the extradition treaty was ratified and made valid again, allowing Joe to be extradited back to the United States. However, by then it was far too late; no trace of him could be found. The most recent photograph of Joe was taken in 1967 at the time of his arrest in Rochester. He would now be in his mid-eighties. He is 6’ 2-1/2” with a slender build. He has red hair and blue eyes, with a scar over his right eyebrow. He is a demolitions expert and may have a pilot's license. Authorities believe he could have fled to Canada. He may have used his contacts with the Irish Republican Army to go "underground" and hide from police.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the October 2, 1991 episode.
  • It was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted.
  • For unknown reasons, no pictures of June were shown.
  • Although not mentioned in the broadcast, the poison used by Joe was "wood alcohol" or methanol.

Results: Wanted. Due to the passage of time, authorities have speculated that Joe might be dead, but this has not been confirmed.