A DNA sample taken from the remains of former priest A. Joseph Maskell does not match DNA from the murder scene of Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik.

The Baltimore County Police Department on Wednesday received results from an accredited laboratory excluding Maskell as a contributor to DNA preserved from the crime scene.

Baltimore County Police detectives, who have been trying to solve the nun’s murder for nearly 50 years, exhumed Maskell’s body on February 28, 2017 to compare Maskell’s DNA to evidence from the crime scene.

A sample of Maskell’s remains was sent to Bode Cellmark Forensics in Lorton, VA for development of a DNA profile. (External analysis of solid evidence for DNA profiling is standard procedure; BCoPD’s in-house laboratory is used only for biological fluids.) This profile was compared with the crime scene evidence.

Maskell is not the first suspect whose DNA has been compared to the crime scene sample. Over the years, BCoPD detectives have developed DNA profiles of about a half-dozen suspects and compared them against the crime scene evidence. None of these suspects’ profiles have matched.

Also, the DNA profile from the crime scene evidence was placed into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System as soon as it was developed. There have been no matches of the Cesnik crime scene DNA profile with any DNA profile from the national database.

The fact that the DNA profiles of the various suspects have not matched the crime scene evidence does not necessarily exonerate them; it means only that the DNA technology available at this time has not provided evidence of a physical link to the crime scene.

Police Still Seek Leads

Homicide detectives say the negative results from the Maskell DNA profile comparison mean that their best hope for solving the case now lies with people who are still alive and willing to come forward with conclusive information about the murder.

Sister Cesnik’s body was found in a Lansdowne dumping area in January 1970. She was last seen at her Baltimore City apartment just before leaving to run errands in the Edmondson Village area. A fact sheet about the case is available on our web site.

Reward Offered

Metro Crime Stoppers, an organization that is separate from the Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County Government, offers rewards for information in connection with felony offenses.

Anonymous tips can be sent to Metro Crime Stoppers by phone, text message or online.

Phone: 1-866-7LOCKUP

Text message: Text "MCS" plus your message to "CRIMES" (274637)

Web tip: www.metrocrimestoppers.org