Then, shortly after Joy had supposedly turned in for the night, the desk clerk received two calls from her room. Apparently, she had requested help but did not specify with what. The desk clerk never went upstairs to check on Joy or notified the police, though.
Rather, the next day, February 13, 2004, Joy’s body was tragically discovered by hotel staff at about 4:30 p.m. She was found in the bathtub, which was filled with only about six inches of water and had a washcloth covering the drain.
Both of the queen beds in Joy’s hotel room had been made, and her clothing remained folded and left on the bed. The room’s ice bucket was also filled with water and had both Marlboro Light and Newport cigarette butts floating inside.
The police could see that Joy had been beaten and determined that her cause of death was asphyxiation. However, they could not conclude if she had been assaulted or not.
Then, during interviews with the police, the desk clerk claimed he was unable to go up to Joy’s room at the time she had called. But, he shared how he had seen a Black man following Joy into the elevator when she left the lobby for the last time.
And afterward, investigators were able to collect and run DNA evidence from the crime scene– which came back as belonging to a Black male.
On top of that, the man’s DNA was also tied to another attack on a female victim just a few blocks away from the Days Inn.
This second victim had been waiting at the local bus stop when a man on a bicycle circled her a few times. Then, the victim alleged that the man approached her, said he had a gun, took her into the nearby woods, and assaulted her.
The victim also said the man had tried to strangle her, but thankfully, he fled after hearing people passing by. The man was described as being a Black male who was about thirty years old and stood at around five foot five, with a light mustache and facial hair.
This link between the DNA found in Joy’s hotel room and the DNA from the second victim led police to believe that the same perpetrator had committed both crimes.
Sadly, though, in the over eighteen years since Joy’s murder, the identity of the man has never been uncovered. And the Hayward family has been left searching for answers.