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Promising Lead Goes Cold In Sister Cathy Case After DNA Comparison

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- One of the most promising leads to solving the almost 50-year-old murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik has gone cold.

The nun was a confidant to many victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic church in Baltimore.

Now, new lab results confirm DNA from a powerful former priest does not match the crime scene.

"When it comes to forensics, we have pretty well reached the end of the road for now," says Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost.

As WJZ first reported, Baltimore County Police exhumed the body of Father Joseph Maskell back in February. Numerous victims say Maskell abused them during his tenure at Archbishop Keough School in the 1960s and 70s.

Police interviewed Maskell before his death in 2001, but never charged him.

"He would keep guns in his top drawer," one victim told WJZ. "He would threaten me with them. I had to teach my kids you just don't trust someone because they have a collar on."

Police say one former student claims Maskell showed her Sister Cathy's body, and threatened her about coming forward.

Others say Maskell had strong ties to police officers who covered up the abuse and were part of it.

In addition to digging up Father Maskell's grave, police have looked at DNA from at least half a dozen other people over the years, but none of it has ever come up with a match to the crime scene.

Also, Sister Cathy's DNA profile has not gotten a matching hit with anyone else in the FBI's nationwide database.

Police say, for now, their best hope in solving her murder may lie with a witness who's still alive, but has been too afraid to come forward for all these years.

"We're still looking for that conclusive information that's going to give us the evidence we need about who killed Cathy Cesnik," Armacost says. "We're still missing that piece."

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