Phillip Scott Fournier, left, was arrested in the murder of Joyce McLain, right.

(Penobscot County Jail/Maine State Police)

Maine State Police said Friday they have made an arrest in the 35-year-old unsolved murder of high school student Joyce McLain.

Philip Scott Fournier, 55, of East Millinocket, was charged with murder, police said. Fournier had been considered a person of interest in the murder for many years and was questioned several times after McLain’s death, WGME-TV reported.

Fournier, who was 19 at the time of the killing, was booked into Penobscot County Jail at 1 p.m.

McLain was 16-year-old at the time of her death. She was last seen on the night of Aug. 8, 1980 while she was out for a jog. Two days later, she was found in a clearing near Schenck High School in Millinocket. Her head and neck had been struck by a blunt object, according to WGME-TV.

Homicide Deaths in Maine | FindTheDataAt least two witnesses said Fournier was near the track where McLain was jogging and near where her body was discovered. Police said she was a well-liked student and that Fournier knew the McLain family.

WFVX-TV reported, citing an affidavit, Fournier confessed to the murder several times, telling a pastor that he did something “beyond comprehension.” The affidavit also details his alleged confession to a friend saying a group killed McLain and he was forced to participate in the barbaric act. He also allegedly said the teen was bound with her hands tied behind her back.

State Police Chief Col. Robert Williams said more than anything, the continued persistence into the cold case led to the arrest, according to WGME-TV.

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“In 2008, Joyce’s body was exhumed and taken to the medical examiner’s office for reexamination,” Williams said. “Since that time the State Police crime lab and a team of detectives from the major crimes unit ace worked closely with the Attorney General’s office. They have comprehensively reviewed all the old and new evidence. And as a result of that have arrested Scott Fournier.”

Williams said he spoke to McLain’s mother and said she was relieved by Fournier’s arrest.

WGME-TV reported that Fournier has prior convictions for possession of child pornography, burglarly and theft.

Fournier is expected to make a court appearance in Bangor on Monday.

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