Ohio Police Identify Suspect Who Brutally Stabbed New Mother Over 40 Times In 1980

“He was a thief, a coward, a liar and a murderer,” the husband of victim Nadine Madger recently said of the killer.

Nadine Madger, pictured here, was found stabbed to death on Jan. 11, 1980 in Willoughby, Ohio.

The search for the killer of Nadine Madger, an Ohio woman brutally stabbed at least 40 times while her newborn son was in his nearby crib, would stretch over four decades before police were able to make an announcement in the cold case.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "On The Case With Paula Zahn")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "On The Case With Paula Zahn")

By: Aaron Rasmussen

The search for the killer of an Ohio woman brutally stabbed at least 40 times while her newborn son was in his nearby crib would stretch over four decades before police were able to make an announcement in the cold case.

“Today is a day we thought may never come,” Willoughby Police Chief Jim Schultz said on July 12, 2022, about identifying the person they believe brutally murdered 25-year-old Nadine Madger with a butcher’s knife, WKYC reported.

On Jan. 11, 1980, Mark Madger returned from work and found his wife dead in the dining room of the couple’s apartment in Willoughby. Their 6-month-old son, Daniel, was located unharmed in a playpen.

“The clothing worn by Nadine at the time of the murder has proven to be so important in solving this crime,” Chief Schultz said during a press conference last summer covered by WKYC. “The shirt worn by Nadine was analyzed by the Lake County Crime Lab in 1996. It was found to not only contain Nadine’s blood, but the blood of another source, male DNA. This indicated that the killer had been injured during the time of the assault and murder of Nadine.”

Over 26 years after uncovering the lead, investigators finally were able to crack the case using familial DNA and identify Madger’s killer as Stephen Joseph Simcak, formerly of Eastlake.

In 1980, Simcak, an ex-Marine, worked for a company called Lincoln Electric. Police learned he was only absent one day that year — Jan. 11. “He was supposed to be in for the third shift, but had called in sick with the flu,” an investigator noted of the date that Madger died.

“We just don’t know why this happened,” Chief Schultz said. “We don’t know if he knew her, how he knew her, why he picked that apartment, why this happened that day. These are questions that we’re trying to answer.”

Police and family, unfortunately, may never find out a motive for the deadly attack. According to officials, Simcak died in 2018 at age 79 from unknown causes.

Investigators learned Simcak had no criminal history. They also discovered he was married in 1963 and with the same woman until his death.

“If there is a place in Hell, I know he’s in it and I hope he rots there,” Mark Madger, the victim’s husband, said at the news conference announcing detectives’ findings. “He was a thief, a coward, a liar and a murderer. He concealed the truth so that no one would know what he did to Nadine. He stole Nadine from the family and friends — most of all he stole Nadine from me and my son, Daniel.”

He added: “How could he get up every day, look himself in the mirror and know what he had did? Only a coward could do that.”

Mark and Nadine Madger’s son, Daniel, said he was “angry and upset” Simcak had died “as a free and care-free citizen before he could be identified as well as caught, in turn getting the ability for questions to be asked and justice to be served.”

For more on this case, stream On The Case With Paula Zahn: “A Lifetime of Grief” on Max.

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