Molly Anne Bish (August 2, 1983 – June 27, 2000) was a sixteen-year-old girl from Warren, Massachusetts who was abducted and then murdered while working as a lifeguard in rural Massachusetts. Her body was found three years later after the largest search in the history of Massachusetts.
During the summer of 2000, Bish had been working as a lifeguard at Comins Pond in Warren. The day before her abduction, 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. Although the man looked suspicious to Magi, she had forgotten about him until after Molly's disappearance. The last person to see Molly before she was kidnapped was her mother.
It was believed that Molly's kidnapper had tricked her into believing he needed help from her and when she went to help him, she was abducted.
An extensive search took place to find Molly Bish. It was the largest and most expensive search for a missing person ever held in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Her case was profiled on the American television shows America's Most Wanted, Unsolved Mysteries, and 48 Hours. On June 9, 2003, Bish's remains were found five miles from her family home. A hunter had seen a blue women's bathing suit in the woods on Whiskey Hill in Palmer, Massachusetts in the late fall of 2002. When he mentioned this to Tim McGuigan in May 2003, then McGuigan made the possible connection to Molly Bish, who had been wearing a blue bathing suit when she was abducted, and notified 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.
Suspects and Developments
To date, there have been no arrests in the case, though in 2005 a Connecticut resident was under investigation.
In February 2009 a new suspect emerged in the Molly Bish murder. The suspect is Rodney Stanger, a Southbridge native who lived at 232 Everett Street in Southbridge until the home was sold on June 18, 2001, and had lived in Southbridge for more than two decades. Stanger is now being held awaiting trial for the stabbing and decapitation murder of his live-in girlfriend in Florida. The sister of that victim alerted the Massachusetts authorities about Stanger, following her sister's murder. Stanger was known to have access to a white car similar to that seen on the day of 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. Stanger is also being questioned in connection with the 1993 murder of Holly Piirainen.