Death of Molly Bish

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Molly Bish
Molly Bish.jpg
Born (1983-08-02)August 2, 1983
Warren, Massachusetts
Disappeared June 27, 2000(2000-06-27) (aged 16)
Warren, Massachusetts
Status Remains recovered June 9, 2003

Molly Anne Bish (August 2, 1983 – c. June 27, 2000) was a sixteen-year-old American girl, who disappeared while working as a lifeguard in rural Massachusetts. Her body was found three years later after the largest search in the history of Massachusetts.


In the summer of 2000, Bish worked as a lifeguard at Comins Pond in Warren.[1] The day before her disappearance, her mother Magi Bish claimed that she saw a man in a white sedan in the parking lot of the beach where her daughter's lifeguard post was positioned.[2] Although the man looked suspicious to Magi, she had forgotten about him until after Molly's disappearance. The last witness to see Molly before she went missing was her mother. Molly was wearing a blue bathing suit.[1]

An extensive search took place to find Molly Bish. It was the largest and most expensive search for a missing person ever held in Massachusetts. Her case was profiled on the American television shows Disappeared, America's Most Wanted,[2] Unsolved Mysteries,[3] and 48 Hours.[1] On June 9, 2003, Bish's remains were found five miles from her family home.[4] A hunter had seen a blue bathing suit in the woods on Whiskey Hill in Palmer, Massachusetts, in the late fall of 2002. In May 2003, he mentioned this to Tim McGuigan, who then made the possible connection to Molly Bish and contacted police. An intense search of the area soon located Molly's remains.

Molly's parents, Magi and John Bish, have started The Molly Bish Foundation in Molly's memory, with the goal to spread the word about child safety.[5]

Suspects and developments[edit]

As of August 2015, there have been no arrests in the case.[6]

In 2005 a Connecticut resident charged with attempted kidnapping in Connecticut was briefly under investigation for links to the Bish case.[7]

In 2009 a new suspect was investigated. Rodney Stanger, a Florida resident charged (later convicted) with murdering his girlfriend in Florida, had lived in Southbridge, Massachusetts – a few miles from the town of Warren – for more than 20 years, moving to Florida a year after the Bish murder.[8][9][10] The sister of Crystal Morrison, Stanger's live-in girlfriend of 20 years, alerted the Massachusetts authorities about Stanger following her sister's Florida death. Stanger was known to have access to a white car similar to that seen the day before Bish's disappearance, was known to fish in Comins Pond, was known to hunt in the woods where Bish's body was found, and closely matches the composite provided by Bish's mother of the man seen in the white car the day before the murder.[11] Stanger has not been charged in the Bish case.

In 2009, when Stanger was investigated in the Bish murder, police also questioned him in connection with the 1993 murder of Holly Piirainen in Southbridge.[12] Bish and Piirainen were born the same year, and Bish had written a letter of hope to Piirainen's parents in 1993. Stanger was not charged in this case. In 2012, forensic evidence led authorities to name David Pouliot — who died in 2003 — as a person of interest in the Piirainen case.[5][13]

In November 2011 Gerald Battistoni, a.k.a. Confidential Informant #62 for the Eastern Hampden County Narcotic Task Force, was named as a suspect in Bish's death by private detective Dan Malley of Massachusetts. Battistoni is currently serving a prison sentence for repeatedly raping a teenaged girl in the early 1990s. He attempted suicide in prison after newspaper articles identified him as a potential suspect in Bish and Piirainen's deaths.[14] Battistoni, who has a criminal record dating back to 1980, had been in the area where Bish's bones were found and resembles a composite sketch of the man Bish's mother saw in the parking lot on the day before her daughter disappeared.[15]

Bish's family has requested that additional DNA testing be performed by the state of Massachusetts.

After Gerald Battistoni was named as a suspect, Private Detective Dan Malley and the Bish family asked for DNA testing to be done. Massachusetts state police sent the DNA evidence to Texas.[14][16][17] [18]


External links[edit]