PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been more than three decades since Wendy Madden left her home for the last time.

The 23-year-old Pawtucket woman was headed to the store to buy cigarettes when she vanished.

Her body would later be discovered behind a Pawtucket bar named Jan’s Place, which has since been torn down and replaced by a housing development.

Madden was the youngest of three children, and her death still haunts both of her siblings to this day.

Courtesy: Charlotte Madden

“There’s definitely a void there,” her sister Charlotte Madden said tearfully. “But you get through it. Grief doesn’t ever go away, it just has its own compartment.”

“I remember everything like it was yesterday,” she continued. “I just couldn’t believe she was actually dead because my sister was feisty. I always thought she could handle herself.”

John Madden, Charlotte and Wendy’s bother, believes her baby sister got involved with the wrong people.

“She put herself in a lot of dangerous situations,” he explained. “Wendy didn’t really analyze the consequences.”

Though the two had a falling out prior to her death, John’s still determined to find whoever killed his baby sister.

“It would be very big for me,” he said. “Even if she wasn’t my sister … people shouldn’t be getting away with things like that.”

While Charlotte admitted Wendy’s personal choices sometimes led her down dangerous paths, she said she was a beloved sister and daughter who “didn’t have a chance to be much else.”

When asked whether finding her sister’s killer would bring her closure, Charlotte said not really.

“Closure is a bad word,” Charlotte said. “They’ve had their whole life that she didn’t have. As far as I’m concerned, they got away with it.”

Charlotte said what bothers her the most is how her sister’s killer could carry that secret with them.

“If you kill somebody, I don’t think you can forget that,” she said. “You want to, but you can’t … and maybe that person has a conscience, finally after more than 30 years.”

Now-retired Pawtucket Police Detective Susan Cormier told 12 News back in 2018 that she believed she was making headway in the case.

But Charlotte said her family hasn’t received any updates since, describing her sister’s case as “ice cold.”

In the meantime, she hopes someone will come forward.

“Someone knows something. It’s been 31 years,” Charlotte said. “It may not be the person who did it, but if you know somebody who may have done it or was involved, just that information I’d be happy to have.”

Anyone with information regarding the murder of Wendy Madden is asked to contact the Pawtucket Police Department at (401) 727-9100.

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