Lori Lee Malloy, 30, was found dead on the toilet floor of her East Providence, Rhode Island, apartment on March 7, 1993, after police responded to a strange welfare call from her boyfriend.
When police arrived, they found the apartment’s front door wide open and the bathroom faucet running. On the kitchen table were two empty glasses and some leftover salad. There was food in the fridge, but it wasn’t plugged in.
The baby mama was undressed, and fresh bruises covered her upper thigh and arm. The dark locks of her hair were strewn over the flat like confetti. She also wore a “bracelet” made of hair around the other wrist and a clump of hair between the toes of one foot.
The circumstances surrounding Lori’s death were treated as suspicious and led to a homicide investigation. East Providence Police Department detectives took 14 items away, including a clump of light-brown hair that looked “as if it had been torn off of someone’s head” and was located in a shoe on a table near the front door. Some of the other items were the master bedroom’s linens and bedspread, many items of infant apparel, hairs, and the drinking glasses; one towel had what appeared to be snot on it. An assault kit for sexual assault was finished.
Three weeks after Lori passed away, she formalised her divorce from John “Scary Harry” Mariano. John wrote to Lori from prison in 1988, only eight months after their wedding. He gave her two options: either testify against him and see him in two years, or urge the state of Rhode Island to drop charges and see him in six months. He left the decision up to the reader. In 1990, John assaulted Lori and breached a protective order she had obtained against him right before she filed for divorce.
Lori and her daughter’s biological father, Thomas Kelly, ended their relationship in July 1992. She made the prediction in her planner not long after the separation, writing, “Tommy’s threats about Lauren will settle shortly.” After her mother’s passing, Lauren was taken away from Tommy’s custody.
The medical examiner who originally performed the autopsy on Lori has since lost his license to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. During his time as a temporary employee at the RI MEs Office, the doctor had many cases evaluated by the Attorney General’s Office because to his pattern of incorrect diagnoses; Lori’s case was missed by only a few months.
The ME who performed the autopsy on Lori wrongly classified her death as “natural” and the cause as “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” despite his own notes noting the absence of substantial damage to Lori’s heart. Curiously, despite Lori being identified as a “known cocaine user” in his case notes, he made no mention of the condition of her scalp or her negative toxicological screening.
After receiving the updated information from the RI MEs Office about the manner and cause of death, the EPPD decided to close the homicide investigation.
Lori’s case was looked into by EPPD, the RI Medical Examiners Office, and the Attorney General’s Office after new information emerged in August 2020. East Providence Police Department was contacted when the Rhode Island Cold Case Unit reviewed the file (EPPD).
The Lori family received a copy of the autopsy report from 1993 in February 2021 and contested the results with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH).
In March 2021, the senior ME in charge of Lori’s modern case review broke the news to her family that the cause of death was not hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and that there appeared to be no other clear natural or unnatural causes of death. The investigation into Lori’s death was reopened and her family was told she needed to be exhumed so that the circumstances of her death could be determined. The ME completely disproved the findings of the 1993 autopsy.
The original homicide investigation reports from 1993 were discovered by EPPD officers in May 2021.
The AG’s Office was expected to make progress on Lori Malloy’s case in the fall of 2021 after RIDOH determined in July 2021 that all of the original histology specimens from 1993 were still accessible for retesting.
The assistant attorney general assigned to the matter of Lori’s death announced on September 21, 2021, that he did not believe there was adequate cause to reopen the investigation into the circumstances of her death. He promised to contact Lori’s family and EPPD again in a couple of weeks to discuss the suspicious circumstances that prompted the reopening of the inquiry. There has been no communication between the AG’s Office and Lori’s family as of this writing.
Lori’s story was first reported on by ABC6 Providence reporter Jacqueline Turner in November 2021.
Lori’s loved ones had an outside New York, NY forensic pathology expert look at the case on March 13, 2022. After taking a look over it, he revealed the following:
Due to the passage of nearly 30 years since Lori’s death, the following is true: 1. The cause and manner of death are unknown and/or unclear; 2. The listed cause of death, “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” was not supported by description in the autopsy reports; 3. The underlying reason for Lori’s congested lungs (1,519 grammes) [at time of death] did not have a reasonable explanation as of yet; 4. If possible, the availability of any residual tissues/slides
The Rhode Island State Police informed the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office that their agency needed to take over the investigation on March 17th, 2022. The latest information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. Unsolved RI is offering a $1,000 prize for information leading to an arrest in this case.
We appreciate your help.
The family of Lori wants to express their gratitude to everyone who has helped with the investigation, both in the past and in the present. To be clear, Lori’s family is still committed to seeking justice and values everyone’s willingness to examine alternative approaches.
Names have meaning:
Many of Lori’s fans have speculated on the origins of the “Sled Dog” moniker. Lori was first called Sled Dog, or “Sleddy,” because of her devotion to sled dogs during her time spent in Alaska in the 1980s. Those of Lori’s many surviving friends, it is re-shared now with affection.