Finding My Daughter’s Killer: How a Mom Found Peace After Her Worst 'Nightmare'

Pam McClain always had an uneasy feeling that something bad would happen to her daughter, Joyce.

Her worst fears came true on August 8, 1980.

At 10 p.m. that night, Joyce, 16, had failed to return from an early evening jog. This was unlike Joyce, who was responsible and close to her mom and would always call if she was going to be late.

“I knew, ‘This is the nightmare,’” says Pam, now 71.

Two days later, Joyce’s body was found behind her local high school, partially clad with her hands bound behind her.

Pam had no idea who would want to hurt Joyce, a well-liked and upbeat cheerleader, honor student, band member, and athlete, and the decades-long mystery of her killing is examined in-depth on tonight’s episode of People Magazine Investigates on Investigation Discovery.

The episode, “Murder Among Friends,” airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET. (An exclusive clip is shown above.)

Pam describes her daughter as “very friendly with everybody,” adding, “She always carried a big smile.”

Police interviewed dozens of potential suspects, including out-of-towners and locals, but they came up empty.

As the years wore on, Pam never gave up, pressuring police to keep working the case and keeping the murder in the public eye.

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When Joyce’s killer was finally caught, shocking everyone in the small mill town, Pam could breathe a little more easily at long last.

“My mind was relieved,” she says. “I don’t have to think about how to find the murderer anymore. It’s over.”

She adds, “I don’t have something else on my mind all the time. Now I’m cooking and not think of what I’m doing next. I’m just living my life.

People Magazine Investigates: Murder Among Friends airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.

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