John Maloney and Sandy Cator were high school sweethearts who married in August, 1978.  He was a Green Bay, WI police officer, and, once they had children, she was a stay-at-home mom.  Their three sons were born in close succession: Matt in 1985, Sean in 1987 and Aaron in 1988.  Caring for three small children can tax anyone; it was harder for Sandy because she began to experience scary neurological symptoms.  The right side of her neck and her right arm tingled and felt numb.  Sometimes her hands tingled and sometimes she felt dizzy.  A chiropractic adjustment made her symptoms worse.  Sandy feared she had multiple sclerosis.

Specialists at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed Arnold-Chiari Malformation (ACM), a condition in which part of the brain protrudes through an abnormal opening into the neck.  A local neurologist prescribed clonazepam (brand name, Klonopin), a highly addictive anti-seizure medication.  Sandy was soon abusing the medication, so the neurologist referred her to a psychiatrist.  Facilitated by her psychiatrist, Sandy's downhill bent turned into a landslide.

Over the next seven years, John did his best to hide Sandy's multiplying addictions from the world.  Clonazepam was her favorite drug, and her friend Jody said Sandy "ate them like candy."  Her cravings quickly expanded to include a wide variety of prescription medications.  When she tried to quit cold turkey, she had seizures, which further deterred her efforts to quit.  On her first ambulance trip to the hospital for a seizure, her drug screen was positive for benzodiazepines, barbiturates, acetaminophen, opiates, and nortriptyline.  When she couldn't get any pills, Sandy settled for alcohol--vodka, because she thought no one could tell that she had been drinking. 

Sandy increasingly engaged in feuds with neighbors, some of which deteriorated into fisticuffs.   John spread himself increasingly thin, trying to take care of the boys, keep his job as a police officer, keep Sandy's addictions secret and find a way for her to get well.  Two interventions failed.  When Sandy drove drunk and crashed their van while John was out of town for police training, it was the final straw.  John moved out and filed for divorce.  Six weeks later, Sandy's mother called him to get the boys because Sandy had lost control in an alcoholic rage.  She never got custody back again, although John continued to pay support.  About the same time, Sandy started smoking cigarettes.

Please Help!

John Maloney needs a lawyer, but his family's finances have been wipedout.  Please help pay for defense costs with your generous donation.

Send check or money order to:
John Maloney Defense Funds
c/o Matt R. Maloney
812 Forest Hill Drive
Green Bay, WI, 54311

This website gives an overview.  For details on how this happened, who is served by keeping John in prison, and what can be done to right this wrong, read Full Circle, FREE to download in pdf format.  Click the cover and save to your device.  Read in Adobe Acrobat, most browsers.

Full Circle

The Maloney Boys in 1998



Soon after filing for divorce, John began dating Tracy Hellenbrand, who was an IRS criminal investigator working in Green Bay.  The relationship got serious fast--probably too fast -- and they moved in together.  John was clearly trying to recreate his family with Tracy, and they talked about having children together.  They signed a one-year lease on a home closer to the boys' schools, and were in the process of moving in during the first part of February, 1998.  Their living situation was approved by social workers and the guardian ad litem in the divorce, who recommended John have sole custody of the boys.  Sandy was allowed only supervised visitation, in a public place.

Tracy Hellenbrand

The overriding love in Tracy's life was her career, and she imbued it with far more drama than existed in scouring numbers for tax cheaters.  She played spy-vs-spy games just going to the grocery store, so investigators anxious to fit a theory to a suspect -- John Maloney -- had a ready collaborator.  Tracy thought she was saving her career.  She didn't realize that investigators had destroyed it before they ever got her to play spy-vs-spy with them.

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