On Sunday, March 7, 1993, 30-year-old Lori Lee "Sled Dog" Malloy was found dead by police on the bathroom floor of her East Providence, Rhode Island apartment, following an odd welfare call from her boyfriend. The front door to the apartment was open and the bathroom sink faucet was running when officers arrived on scene. There were two drinking glasses and leftover food salad on the kitchen table. The refrigerator was full but unplugged.
The young mother was naked, with recent bruises on her upper thighs and arm. Her dark hair was ripped out, all over the apartment. She had a clump of hair between the toes of one foot, strands wrapped between the fingers of one hand and a "bracelet" of hair around the other.
Lori's case was investigated as a homicide. Detectives from the East Providence Police Department removed 14 pieces of evidence, including a hair sample from a clump of light-brown hair found in a shoe on top of a table by the front door that looked, as one officer described, "as if it had been pulled out of someone's head." Other items included a bath towel with apparent mucous on it, the master bed sheets and comforter, several items of infant clothing, hairs and the drinking glasses. A sexual assault kit was completed.
Lori's divorce from John "Scary Harry" Mariano was finalized three weeks after her death. In a 1988 prison letter from John to Lori, just eight months after their wedding, John told Lori she could testify against him and see him in two years, or ask the state of RI to drop charges and see him in six months. "The choice is yours," he wrote. John committed felony assault against Lori in 1990 and violated a protective order against her just prior to her filing.
Lori broke up with her daughter's birth father, Thomas Kelly, in July 1992. Shortly after the breakup, she wrote in her planner, "Tommy's threats over Lauren will settle soon." Lauren was eventually removed from Tommy's care after her mother's death.
Lori's original autopsy was conducted by a medical examiner who eventually lost his license to practice in RI, after losing it in MA. Known for misdiagnosing cases, the doctor had multiple cases reviewed by the Attorney General's Office; Lori's was only missed by a few short months, from his time as a temporary employee at the RI MEs Office.
The ME who conducted Lori's autopsy incorrectly closed the case as a "natural" manner of death caused by "hypertrophic cardiomyopathy," despite his own notes describing the lack of major damage to Lori's heart. He did not make note of the condition of Lori's scalp or comment on her clean toxicology screening, a curious outcome considering all notes about her case labeled Lori as a "known cocaine user."
EPPD closed their homicide investigation following the amended manner and cause of death provided by the RI MEs Office.
MODERN DAY CASE:
In August 2020, new information was brought forward that led to Lori's case being reviewed by EPPD, the RI Medical Examiners Office and the Attorney General's Office. The R.I. Cold Case Unit was consulted and referred the case to East Providence Police Department (EPPD).
In February 2021, Lori's family obtained a copy of her 1993 autopsy report and challenged its findings with the RI Department of Health (RIDOH).
In March 2021, the senior ME handling Lori's modern case review, told Lori's family that she did not die of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and, in fact, had no obvious natural or unnatural reason to die. Lori's family was advised that Lori needed to be exhumed and her investigation completely redone to understand her cause and manner of death. The ME refuted the entire original autopsy from 1993.
In May 2021, EPPD detectives located the original homicide investigation reports from 1993.
In July 2021, RIDOH confirmed all of Lori Malloy's original histological specimens from 1993 were still available for retesting and told Lori's family they expected to see forward movement with her case by the AG's Office in the fall.
On September 21, 2021, the assistant AG assigned to Lori's case stated that he did not see sufficient reason to reopen Lori's case and learn the circumstances surrounding her death. He stated he would follow up with EPPD to help clarify suspicious circumstances warranting reinvestigation and would follow up with Lori's family within two or three weeks. As of this writing, Lori's family has not received any follow-up from the AG's Office.
In November 2021, Lori's case was made public for the first time by journalist Jacqueline Turner of ABC6 Providence.
On March 13, 2022, an independent forensic pathology specialist based in New York, NY was referred to Lori's family and asked to review the case. Upon review, he shared the following:
1. The cause and manner of death are unknown and/or unclear after almost 30 years;
2. The listed cause of death “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” was not supported by description in the autopsy reports;
3. The underlying reason of Lori’s congested lungs (1,519 grams) [at time of death] did not have a reasonable explanation as of now;
4. If possible, the availability of any residual tissues/slides should be reviewed to establish a cause of death from a perspective of forensic pathology;
5. The circumstance of Lori’s death should be investigated and/or re-investigated by police.
On March 17, 2022, RI State Police advised the RI AG's Office needed to give order for their agency to take over the investigation and the . Update will be posted as available.
A $1,000 reward is being offered by Unsolved RI for any information leading to an arrest.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
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What's in a name:
Sled Dog supporters often wonder where Lori got her "Sled Dog" nickname. The monikor originated during Lori's travels to Alaska in the 1980s, where she learned how to "mush" and was first called Sled Dog, or "Sleddy," for her love of the dogs. It is reshared today with love for Lori's many remaining friends.
To read the full details about known circumstances and events surrounding Lori Lee Malloy's death, click the button below.
Lori was cheer captain and member of the last graduating class at Central Jr. High in East Providence, RI.
Click below to view original documents related to Lori Malloy's cold case.
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