Philip Fournier's Friday arrest is the climax of a 35-year investigation

By Adam Carlson
Updated March 05, 2016 02:05 PM
Credit: Penobscot County Jail

A 55-year-old man was arrested Friday morning and accused of murder in the 1980 beating death of a teenage girl, Maine state police announced – the culmination of a 35-year investigation.

Philip Scott Fournier is charged with one count of murder and is held without bond in the Penobscot County Jail, PEOPLE has confirmed. It is not yet known if he has entered a plea.

Fournier is accused in the homicide of 16-year-old Joyce McLain, according to the Bangor Daily News. McLain’s body was found on Aug. 10, 1980, two days after she was last seen jogging, according to the paper.

Fournier was arrested about 11 a.m. local time in East Millinocket, Maine, state police chief Col. Robert Williams said at a Friday news conference.

“Over the years, Fournier has made statements to a number of people indicating his potential knowledge and involvement in the death of Joyce McLain,” Williams said.

He said state police are urging anyone with additional information about McLain’s death to come forward. (A state police spokesman did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.)

“We’re going to continue to work on the case,” Williams said. “Right now, we think we have the person who committed the homicide, but we’ll see what comes with new developments as people call in.”

Fournier was identified by a judge in 2009 as a “person of interest” in the case in 2009, when he was sentenced for possession of child pornography, according to the Daily News.

Fournier was released from federal prison on Jan. 6, 2015, according to inmate records, and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Police spoke with Fournier more than 25 times in the course of the investigation, according to the paper, citing an affidavit.

According to the Daily News, police alleged that multiple people, including Fournier’s parents and a minister, told them that Fournier had confessed to the killing.

“The question that people will ask is, ‘Why does it take so long?’ ” Williams said Friday. “This is a very complex case as you’ll see when it goes to court, there were a lot of things that happened that we had to follow up on and we’ve been doing that and we finally are at the point where we feel we’re confident that we can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

People at Fournier’s residence in East Millinocket declined comment to the Daily News on his arrest.

McLain’s mother, Pamela, declined comment to the Daily News of Fournier’s arrest, but her nephew said she was “excited.”

“She feels some relief. I don’t think she’ll feel full relief until there’s a conviction,” Greylen Hale told the paper. “She’s all smiles. All smiles.”