Arizona resident Mary Josephine Bailey, 80, faces charges in the 1985 cold case murder of Yvonne Menke in Wisconsin.

Authorities in Arizona arrested Mary Josephine Bailey in connection with the 37-year-old cold case murder of Yvonne Menke in western Wisconsin. Deputies arrested Bailey at her house in Maricopa County, Arizona, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

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Who is Mary Bailey?

On the morning of December 12, 1985, Yvonne Menke, 45, was fatally shot three times in the head and neck as she sat in her car, ready to leave for work, in St. Croix Falls. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, following the gunshots, a witness spotted someone exiting the alley near Menke’s house, wearing a gray three-quarter length coat and a dark-colored stocking cap.

Bailey is facing formal charges from the Polk County Attorney’s Office and is being extradited from Arizona to Wisconsin. The arrest is a huge step forward in the nearly four-decade-long cold case investigation, and it offers a renewed sense of hope for Menke’s family and the community, as authorities continue their efforts to unravel the circumstances leading to the 1985 murder.

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Menke’s murder, which had been a mystery for years, caused investigators to re-examine the case, which led to Bailey’s identification as a suspect. While the motivation or relationship between Bailey and Menke remains unknown, the arrest is a step forward in settling this long-running case. 

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office notes that the investigation is still ongoing and asks that anyone with information call them at 715-485-8300. Despite the arrest, officials are continuing to investigate the circumstances behind Yvonne Menke’s untimely death in 1985.