A 42-Year-Old Cold Case Murder Solved In Willoughby Using DNA Genealogy

Nadine Madger Photo: Photo courtesy of the Willoughby Police Department

WILLOUGHBY, OH - After 42 years, a cold case murder in Willoughby has been solved thanks to 21st century DNA technology. Police have determined that 25-year-old Nadine Madger was stabbed to death in 1980 in her Grove Avenue apartment by a man named Stephen Joseph Simcak who died four years ago. It was determined that Nadine's killer's blood was on her shirt, but the DNA wasn't in any database. It wasn't until current technology was used to go back generations and then forward again, that the blood was determined to belong to Simcak.

Madger was stabbed more than 40 times on January 11, 1980 sometime between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Police say the murder weapon came from the family's kitchen as one of the knives was discovered missing. Her husband, Mark, found her body and her son, Dan who was just an infant at the time of the murder was found unharmed in his playpen.

Pictured left to right: Police Chief James Schultz, Mark Madger and his son Dan Madger.Photo: Photo by Tom Moore / iHeartMedia

Simcak worked at Lincoln Electric from 1965 until 2002 and work records show he never missed a day of work except the day of the murder. He was due in for the second shift that day but called in sick. He also worked part-time delivering flowers for Wickliffe Floral and he worked for Vitantonio's Winery in Wickliffe in 1980.

Interviews with known associates of Simcak say that around the time of the murder, he owned a canary yellow Dodge Dart which matches the vehicle seen by witnesses at Nadine's apartment. He was 40-years-old at the time of the murder.

Simcak lived in Eastlake from 1963 until 2002 when the moved to Bemus, New York. He was married with two step children and three biological children.

Stephen Joseph Simcak Photo: Photo courtesy of the Willoughby Police Department

Willoughby Police are still unsure of the motive.

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