Harford County Detectives seeking closure in 1981 St. Patrick's Day Murder

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 18:41:11-04

Harford County Sheriff's Detectives continue to search for witnesses and new evidence in the 1981 St. Patrick's Day murder of Marlene Hayes. 

On March 17, 1981, Hayes' 16-year-old son returned to their home on the 600 block of Ponderosa Drive after a day at school. When he went inside he found his mother unresponsive on the kitchen floor.

Major Case and homicide unit Detective Chris Sergent were assigned to the case.

"Essentially, her older son  who was 16 years of age, had gotten of the school bus coming home from Bel Air High School, around 3 p.m. and walked into the kitchen of their family residence to find his mother on the floor bound by her ankles  and her hands. She appeared to have blunt force trauma to her head and had been stabbed," Sergent said.

It's believed Hayes interrupted an armed robbery before she was killed.

"She was still wearing her rain coat and things of that nature," Sergent said. "So it appears she possibly came home and interrupted a burglary in progress."

Detective Sergent doesn't think Marlene Hayes was targeted.

I don't necessarily believe that the suspects thought that there would be anybody home. So obviously when Mrs. Hayes came home and interrupted them, it probably caught them off guard and unfortunately a brutal attack unfolded," he said.

During the initial investigation, crime scene investigators looked into several tips surrounding the murder and were able to develop a composite sketch of person of interest last seen leaving a vehicle at a nearby school.

"Our investigators at the time were looking into all possible leads. Her vehicle was also stolen in this incident  and recovered hours later at Williams S. James Elementary School," Sergent explained.

While detectives have reached out to neighboring police departments over the years, none of the leads have lead to a conviction.

Sergent and others with the Harford County Sheriff's Office of Criminal Investigation Unit continue to stay motivated to help the Hayes's family  find closure in over a decade long investigation.

"We obviously want to solve cases--that's what we do; but we also try to bring closure for the family," Sergent said.

In an attempt to locate new information about the murder, investigators are searching for people who may have details about what happened that St. Patrick's day. 
"Maybe there was jewelry taken," he said. "Maybe that some jewelry was shown to individuals or maybe there would be specific details that they would give; and anyone who talk about a crime of that nature to someone, even if it was 35 years ago--that's something that you would remember."
If you have any information on this case you are asked to submit a tip to Metro Crime Stoppers.  You can submit a tip, anonymously several ways:, or you can call 1-866-7-LOCK UP, or you can text "MCS" plus your tip to CRIMES (274637)