Death of Molly Bish

Molly Anne Bish (August 2, 1983 – June 27, 2000) was a sixteen-year-old American girl from rural Worcester County, Massachusetts, who disappeared while working as a lifeguard in her hometown of Warren, Massachusetts. Her remains were found three years later in neighboring Hampden County after what became the largest search in the state's history.

Molly Bish
Molly Bish.jpg
Born(1983-08-02)August 2, 1983
DisappearedJune 27, 2000 (aged 16)
Warren, Massachusetts, U.S.
StatusBody recovered on June 9, 2003


In the summer of 2000, 16-year-old Molly Bish began working as a lifeguard at Comins Pond in Warren, Massachusetts.[1] On June 26, the day before Molly's disappearance, her mother, Magi, saw a mustached man in a white car parked in the lot of the beach where Molly's lifeguard post was located.[2] Although he seemed suspicious at the time, she thought no further about him until after Molly's disappearance. On June 27, Magi drove Molly to Comins Pond and dropped her off near the lifeguard station. Magi reportedly saw no sign of the stranger from the previous day or his white sedan. However, another witness reported that he saw a man matching the stranger's description in the pond's parking lot just minutes before Molly arrived. A local worker also reported that he saw a similar car parked at a cemetery connected to the pond by a path. Magi Bish was the last known person to see Molly before her disappearance. Several hours later, police contacted Molly's parents, informing them that no lifeguard had been on duty all day and that Molly's belongings had been left unattended at her station.

Body discoveryEdit

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

Further developmentsEdit

In 2004 Magi and John Bish founded The Molly Bish Center and Foundation in collaboration with Anna Maria College.[5]

In 2005, a Connecticut resident charged with attempted kidnapping in Connecticut was briefly under investigation in connection with the case.[6]

In 2009, a new suspect was investigated. Rodney Stanger, a Florida resident convicted of murdering his girlfriend, had lived in Southbridge, Massachusetts – a few miles from the town of Warren – for more than 20 years. Rodney moved to Florida a year after the Bish murder.[7][8][9] Following the murder of Crystal Morrison, Stanger's girlfriend of 20 years, Crystal's sister alerted the Massachusetts authorities. Stanger was known to have access to a white car similar to the one seen the day before Bish's disappearance. He was also known to fish in Comins Pond and hunt in the woods where Bish's body was found. In addition, Stanger closely matched the description provided by Magi Bish of the man seen in the white sedan the day before Molly's disappearance.[10] Stanger has not been charged in her case.

In 2009, when Stanger was being investigated for the Bish murder, police also questioned him in connection with the 1993 murder of Holly Piirainen who went missing in Sturbridge.[11] Bish and Piirainen were the same age in 1993, 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.[12][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 served time in prison for repeatedly raping a teenage 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 had a criminal record dating back to 1980, had been in the area where Molly's body was found and resembles a composite sketch of the man Magi saw in the parking lot on the day before Molly disappeared.[15]

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]

Gerald Battistoni died at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain in November 2014.[19]

There have been no arrests in the case as of November 2020.[20]

Connection to Holly Piirainen caseEdit

Fellow Massachusetts resident Holly Piirainen was murdered seven years earlier. Her body was also found in a wooded area in Hampden County. Police considered the possibility that the two cases could be related. Pouliot is considered a person of interest in both cases. It was discovered that Molly Bish had written a letter to Holly Piirainen's family following Holly's disappearance.[21] This is an excerpt from Molly Bish's letter:

I am very sorry. I wish I could make it up to you. Holly is a very pretty girl. She is almost as tall as me. I wish I knew Holly. I hope they found her.[21]

— Molly Bish at age 10

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Where's Molly? Bay State Mystery". CBS News. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Missing children". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012.
  3. ^ "Unsolved Mysteries - Molly Bish". Archived from the original on September 10, 2008.
  4. ^ "Molly Bish's remains identified". WCVB-TV. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011.
  5. ^ "Molly Bish Center". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  6. ^ "Bish parents speak of impact of arrest - The Boston Globe". November 21, 2005. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  7. ^ "Check out the home I found in Southbridge".®. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "Rodney Stanger sentenced to 25 years for murder of girlfriend". Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  10. ^ "Possible Suspect In Molly Bish Case". Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "14 years ago Molly Bish vanished, family still wants justice - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25". MyFoxBoston. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  13. ^ "Cold Case Murder of Holly Piirainen, 10, Linked to Dead Man". ABC News. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Jailed rapist apparently attempts suicide". Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  15. ^ "A break in unsolved Bish, Piirainen slayings?". Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  16. ^ "FBI Joins Molly Bish Investigation". WGGB Springfield. Archived from the original on July 5, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  17. ^ "Molly Bish Murder Investigation: Police Outsource DNA Testing Of Evidence". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  18. ^ "Gerald Battistoni, man eyed in murder of Massachusetts girls Molly Bish and Holly Piirainen, apparently attempts suicide in prison". Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  19. ^ Kim Ring TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF (November 13, 2014). "Rapist's death may shed light on Holly Piirainen, Molly Bish cases". Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  20. ^ Loiaconi, Stephen (April 16, 2013). "New tests planned on evidence in Molly Bish case". HLN. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  21. ^ a b Smith, Dave (January 3, 2012). "Holly Piirainen Case: David Pouliot Linked to Death of Missing Girl in 1993". International Business Times.

External linksEdit