Baltimore detective turns to FBI, public for help finding Molly Macauley's murderer

Posted: 6:08 PM, Oct 30, 2017
Updated: 2018-12-12 17:16:00-05
Molly Macauley / Resources for the Future

Over a year later, police are still searching for the person responsible for killing Molly Macauley.

Macauley, 59, was stabbed to death in an affluent Baltimore neighborhood. 

She was attacked while walking her dogs. 

The crime happened in Roland Park, a neighborhood virtually immune to Baltimore’s violence. The neighborhood hadn't seen a murder since 1998, then on a hot night in July of 2016, the community lost its sense of security in a heartbeat when a killer took Macauley’s life. 


“I knew Molly for about 25 years,” said Margaret Walls, one of Macauley’s co-workers. “We both worked here, at Resources for the Future, for a long time. She was here when I came fresh out of graduate school so we were colleagues for many years.”

The space economist, Hopkins graduate and respected professional climbed the ranks at the think tank becoming vice-president for research and a senior fellow.

Molly Macauley / Resources for the Future

“She was passionate about her work, very professional, very involved in her work. It meant everything to her,” said Walls.

Macauley was a pioneer in the field and had contacts at NASA. On several occasions, she even testified in front of Congress.

“How you deal with trash in space, basically. What kind of incentive mechanism, some pricing you might use,” said Walls. “Just one of the last things she did was work really hard on a big NASA grant that we actually won, the organization won, and sadly she's not here to lead it.”

Molly Macauley / Resources for the Future

Macauley lived in Baltimore and worked in D.C., a commute many try to avoid but she did it for years.

“Thing I always said was, we all thought she was crazy but she really loved Baltimore. She just loved Baltimore,” Walls said.

Someone killed Macauley in the city she loved.

To Baltimore City Police homicide detective Sean Dallessandro, there’s something different about the case and what happened to Macauley.

“It was unlike any other case that I've ever had." - Baltimore Police Detective Sean Dallessandro

“It was unlike any other case that I've ever had,” he said.

Macauley and her boyfriend had just returned home from an Orioles game. At 10:42 p.m., Macauley left her home to walk her two dogs and at 10:57 p.m., police received reports of an injured person, according to their report. 

Officers found Macauley bleeding on the sidewalk, still grasping the leashes in her hand.

“There was a neighbor that heard Molly scream and rushed outside,” said Detective Dallessandro. “The second person that was right behind that witness looked over, saw Molly laying there still holding onto the dogs to the left and called over and said, 'Hey, over here.’”

The killer stabbed Macauley several times. Detectives traced a blood trail from where she was found to a second pool of blood a few yards from where they believe the stabbing occurred. Macauley was just one block from her home on West University Parkway.

“I walked into the crime scene and what was immediately evident was the amount of blood,” said Dallessandro.

Police didn't find surveillance video, didn't find witnesses, didn't find a weapon, and it didn't appear that anything was stolen from her.

“No, I can tell you that. Nothing was taken from her,” Dallessandro said.

“No, I can tell you that. Nothing was taken from her,” Dallessandro said.

A few days later, the detective ordered a police canvass. Cadets locked arms, combed woods covered in poison ivy and searched for clues. Nothing turned up.

Metro Crime Stoppers flyer distributed in Roland Park in July 2016

Detective Dallessandro then went to federal investigators.

“I actually went to Quantico and talked to the behavioral analysis unit in Quantico with the FBI and they agreed with me on some things and came up with their own ideas also,” said Dallessandro. “I've explored a lot of possibilities, I'm still looking for that one. It's not what we know it's what we can prove and I got to go where the facts take me.”

Macauley's friends and family also hoping for a break soon and answers as to why someone would kill such a brilliant mind and caring person.

“Just provide some sense of closure, some answers,” said Walls.

“Just provide some sense of closure, some answers,” said Walls.

Detective Dallessandro also not giving up on the search for her killer.

“I'm not done. Til I leave the police department. this is going to be my case,” said Dallessandro.

Metro Crime Stoppers put up a $10,000 reward last year for information on Macauley’s death. Police haven't received any leads, but are hopeful someone out there knows something.

Tributes to Molly Macauley

Meanwhile, family, friends, neighbors and politicians are paying homage to Macauley.

On October 19, several cherry trees were planted in her memory. Forty people donated more than $6,000 to BARCS in her name, and former Senator Barbara Mikulski read a tribute into the Congressional Record recognizing her professional contributions and highlighting her love for the City of Baltimore.

Cherry trees planted in memory of Macauley
Trees planted by Baltimore Orchard and Baltimore City Forestry
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski on Remembering Dr. Molly Macauley

If you have any information on Macauley's murder, contact Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP. All tips can remain anonymous.