On The Case With Paula Zahn is investigating the disappearance and murder of Molly Bish, who vanished from her job as a lifeguard in Warren, Massachusetts, and was never seen alive again.
On June 27th, 2000,16-year-old Molly was dropped off by her mother at the Comins Pond, where she worked as a lifeguard. The police suspect that Molly was abducted within approximately three minutes of being dropped off by her mom.
When the authorities learned that Molly had not been at the pool all day and hadn’t returned home, a search began that was one of the most extensive mounted in the state’s history.
When swimmers arrived at the pond, they discovered Molly’s belongings, lunch, radio, water bottle, and sandals by her guard post, but no sign of the girl herself.
Despite a massive search, the authorities had no luck in finding Molly. It was nearly three years later before there was a breakthrough after a hunter reported finding a blue bathing suit.
Her decomposed remains were finally located in a secluded area just a few miles from the pond on June 9, 2003.
Cops have two main suspects in Molly’s murder
Molly’s mother, Magi Bish, told the cops that the day before her daughter vanished, she had seen a mustached man in a white Sedan car in the parking lot of the pool. She thought he had looked a little suspicious at the time, but she quickly forgot about him.
And on the actual day she disappeared, a couple of witnesses mentioned seeing a man of a similar description to the stranger spotted by Magi. And another witness said they’d also seen a white car. But unfortunately, the cops couldn’t ID the individual.
In 2009, the police began to suspect Rodney Stanger of being the killer. He had just been convicted of killing his girlfriend, and he had lived in the Warren area when Molly was murdered.
He had moved to Florida shortly after the murder, and he bore a resemblance to the suspicious man that the eyewitnesses had spotted.
Stanger also became a suspect in the murder of Holly Piirainen, who had gone missing from the area in 1993. She was the same age as Molly.
From 2011, the police also became suspicious of a man called Gerald Battistoni. He had served a jail sentence for repeatedly raping a teenage girl in the 1990s.
Battistoni also became a suspect in the Piirainen murder case. When he learned he was the subject of an investigation, he attempted suicide.
As of writing, neither Stanger nor Battistoni (who passed away in 2014) has been charged with the murder, and the investigation remains open.
More from On The Case With Paula Zahn
Follow the links to read about more cases of murder investigated by Paula Zahn.
In 1985, Marsi Belecz ran away from home after an argument with her father. Tragically, a few days later, her remains were discovered in a towing yard. It took 35 years for DNA evidence to reveal Clayton Giese as the killer.
In another case involving a schoolgirl, 13-year-old Christina Williams was walking her dog in a secluded area near Seaside, California, when she was attacked and murdered by serial sex offender Charles Holifield. The killer avoided detection for two years until DNA evidence tracked him down.
On The Case With Paula Zahn airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.