Brian S. Kowalczyk was shot at eight times — hit once — and then stabbed multiple times on the second floor of the geodesic dome home he shared with his wife on the shore of Maranacook Lake.

Winthrop police found Kowalczyk’s body just before midnight after his wife, Leeanne Kowalczyk, called them from New York in a panic. He should have been home, she said, after a long workday selling from his Snap-On Tools truck.

She couldn’t reach him by phone to tell him about the prospective homes she had been touring in Glen Falls, N.Y., where the Kowalczyks were to relocate as a result of his promotion to management.

The Winthrop crime scene was gruesome. The medical examiner’s report said Kowalczyk had been stabbed numerous times in the head, chest and abdomen and bled to death.

His wallet was never found. But a wad of cash and checks — he never kept money in his wallet — remained behind in the house.

Neighbors worried about their own safety.

Police combed the area, searched for clues and interviewed hundreds of people.

That was a quarter-century ago.

Kowalczyk’s murder between Nov. 6 and 7, 1986, remains unsolved, one of more than 70 unsolved homicides under investigation by the Maine State Police. (Bangor and Portland police handle homicides in their cities.) The earliest homicide on the state’s list occurred in 1970. Kowalczyk is the only one who was killed in Winthrop and remains the only unsolved homicide of 1986 for the state police.

His sister, Nancy-Jean Cusanelli of Claremont, N.H., still hopes that her brother’s killer will be found.

“I feel that nobody should die alone,” Cusanelli said. “My brother died alone in that house. There was nobody there to help him. They said he couldn’t have lasted long. (The police) said that whoever stabbed him stabbed him until they were exhausted.”

Recent arrests in several cold case homicides have given her fresh hope.

“We still do not have an answer. My father died in 1998, but my mother is in good health. She as well as the rest of our family deserve to know what happened,” Cusanelli wrote earlier this year about her quest for answers.

Cusanelli, 64, was almost five years older than Brian, her only sibling.

“My father died 13 years ago; the death certificate said heart attack,” Cusanelli said on Wednesday. “I think it was more he died of a broken heart because he and my brother were very close.”

Brian Kowalczyk’s widow, Leeanne, moved from Maine. She died on Aug. 25, 2010, in North Carolina, at age 50, without ever seeing anyone charged in the crime.

Brian, who was 34 when he was killed, had achieved success in several business fields and in several states.

In Winthrop, he and his wife worked together, making their Snap-On Tools dealership a success in only 2 1/2 years. Kowalczyk’s parents had provided the start-up cash, and the couple sold the dealership before the planned move to New York for his promotion.

Sgt. Kenneth Grimes, then a Winthrop police officer and now an investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, can’t discuss specifics of the case, but he, too, hopes to see it solved.

“I was one of two officers that actually made first entry into the building that night,” he said. “I remember the details of that evening very vividly. It’s one of those things that gets imprinted.”

Grimes was assigned to work with the Maine State Police for the next six weeks, helping interview local people and keeping tabs on the thoughts and emotions in the community.

“With any homicide, if you can’t come up with the answers on the who and why, people get concerned about whether it’s a random act or if it could happen gain,” he said.

“It’s the human toll of these types of situations; people have those concerns.”

Grimes is constantly reminded of Kowalczyk’s unsolved slaying.

“I drive by that house every day from where I live to where I work, every single day. People want and deserve answers; I like to hope that it would be solved,” he said. “From where I am working, down the hall from the state CID division, if it can be solved they’ll be able to put it together.”

Grimes said a new story about the murder might trigger something that will lead to finding the killer.

“It never hurts to revisit this and remind people of it,” he said. “In our business, people hear little bits and pieces of information. They don’t think it’s worth a call. If you heard something, if you suspect something, make those calls.”

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, said news of success in charging suspects in older cases “does bring renewed hope to survivors, whom we try to keep in the loop.”

He said each unsolved case is assigned a detective and the cases are constantly reviewed.

“All open unsolved homicides are all lumped into one category,” McCausland said. “There’s no difference whether it’s 25 years old or has gone on for a couple of months. Each investigation is open and active.”

McCausland said police exclusively use the term “unsolved homicide” and that “cold case” is a term used by the media.

In the criminal investigation division of the Maine State Police, Detective Jeffrey Love has been the primary officer in charge of the Kowalczyk case since 2003.

“I review the case details and speak with family members regularly to further the investigation,” Love said recently. “There have been several leads that have been investigated and followed up on over the years.

“Detectives, along with personnel from the Maine State Police Crime Lab, continue to apply technology and new investigative techniques to the unsolved homicide of Brian Kowalczyk,” Love added.

Tim Doyle, who retired as a state police lieutenant and now works at Maine Motor Transport, was the detective in charge of the Kowalczyk case.

“Various names came up as persons of interest,” Doyle said. “Whenever something came up we would look at it and investigate accordingly. There have been a number of theories and speculation in the community, and certainly the state police can’t operate on speculation. When information came to our attention or things we should look into, that was done.”

Doyle said evidence is reviewed and new techniques applied, including DNA testing. “Who knows what the future will bring? Unsolved cases are never shelved and forgotten about. There always kept current. There is always someone assigned to them.”

Cusanelli continues to hope her brother’s killing will be solved.

“It’s hard,” Cusanelli said last week. “I’ve been fighting this battle for 25 years. I have two children, and my son was Brian’s godson. My children aren’t going to fight like I have been fighting for 25 years.”

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at: [email protected]