Stephen Simcak

Stephen Joseph Simcak was identified as the lead suspect in the January 11, 1980 murder of 25-year-old Nadine Cohen Madger in Willoughby, Ohio. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Simcak.

Madger had been brutally stabbed 44 times by an intruder while her 8-month-old son Daniel sat in a nearby playpen. The crime took place between 1 and 3 pm that afternoon. Her husband, Mark Madger, found her when he came home from work at about 5:00 pm. The knife used to kill her came from her own kitchen.

A DNA profile of the suspect was developed from the shirt that Madger was wearing when she was killed. The killer likely cut himself while stabbing Madger and some of his blood dripped not her shirt. The FGG investigation was performed by Parabon Nanolabs. Parabon also performed forensic phenotyping to determine what the killer would have looked like, both now and at the time of the murder.

The genealogical research was particularly difficult in this case. Only distant relatives could be located on FTDNA and GEDmatch, and the family tree had to be traced back to the 1800s. The initial confirmation was made to Simcak’s grandson, who was deceased in 2015, and had a DNA sample taken at his autopsy. The final confirmation was then made to one of Simcak’s living children.

At the time of the murder, a canary yellow Dodge Dart was seen near Madger’s apartment complex, which was the same car that Simcak drove. Simcak was also found to have missed work on January 11th, as police discovered from looking at his employment records at Lincoln Electric.

Simcak died of natural causes in 2018. He has no criminal record. Police do not know what was the motive of the murder.


Belle, Cris. “Willoughby Police Solve 42-Year-Old Cold Case Using Blood Samples on Victim’s Shirt, Family Tree.” Fox 8 News, July 13, 2022. Accessed July 15, 2022.

Carloss, Tracy. “Willoughby Police Solve Cold Case with New DNA Technology.” ABC News 5 Cleveland, July 13, 2022. Accessed July 15, 2022.

Raspe, Becky. “Willoughby Police Solve 1980 Murder of Cleveland Heights HS Grad.” Cleveland Jewish News, July 14, 2022. Accessed July 15, 2022.


First Name Stephen
Last Name Simcak
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started nd
Case Cleared 2022-07-13
IGG Org Parabon


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1721 Nadine Madger 25 1980-01-11 Willoughby, OH Willoughby PD Second degree murder Case was cleared by exception due to death of perpetrator n/a

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.