WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — Jan. 11, 1980, is the day tragedy struck a Willoughby family.
What You Need To Know
- Jan. 11, 1980 is the day tragedy struck for one Willoughby family
- Mark Madger said he returned from work that day to find his wife stabbed to death
- The case sat cold but not forgotten by Willoughby Police Department
- Detectives said they finally able were able to connect the murder to Joseph Simcak who was 40 years old at the time and did not know Magder
- While the motive for the crime is still unknown, Nadine Madger’s family said they are happy to have some closure
“Every single day, the gruesome picture of how horrible she looked right now on the floor enters my mind,” said Mark Magder.
Madger said he returned from work that day to find his 25-year-old wife, Nadine, dead on their dining room floor with more than 40 stab wounds.
Their infant son was home in a playpen during the attack, but was not hurt.
The case sat cold but not forgotten by the Willoughby Police Department until DNA testing changed things.
“Based on the most recent information developed, including DNA test results, it is our department’s conclusion that Steven Joseph Simcak fatally wounded Nadine Magder in her residence on Jan. 11, 1980,” said Chief of Police James Schultz.
Willoughby police detectives, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Lake County Crime Lab said they were finally able could connect the murder to Simcak. He was 40 years old at the time and police said he did not appear to know Magder.
“Our entire department worked countless hours,” said Schultz. “Trying to find the person responsible for this incident, this horrible crime. The commitment and determination of our department has never wavered.”
Items like Nadine’s shirt revealed the key to unlocking the decades-old mystery.
“The shirt worn by Nadine was analyzed by the Lake County Crime Lab in 1996 and was found to not only contain Nadine’s blood, but the blood of another source, a male DNA,” he said. “This indicated that the killer had been injured during the time of the assault and murder.”
In addition, detectives relied on genetic genealogy by Parabon NanoLabs to build the family tree of the killer.
“[The lab] was able to create a genetic network,” said Detective Gabe Sleigh. “[It] is a family tree where the family members all share DNA with our suspect and also share DNA with each other, so we built that, or that family tree was built back all the way to the mid-1800s.”
While the motive for the crime is still unknown, Nadine Madger’s family said they are happy to have some closure.
“I would whole-heartedly like to thank the Willoughby Police Department and all of the detectives and officers who never let this case file get dusty,” said Daniel Magder, Mark and Nadine’s son.