Molly Bish was a blond-haired, blue-eyed All American 16-year old, who was excited about her summer job as a lifeguard at Comins Pond in rural Warren, MA.
On June 26, 2000 when her mother was dropping her off to work around 8:45 am, a man caught her eye in the way creepy people sometimes do. She noted the car he was driving, and thought he seemed a little strange but didn’t seem to think any more about it…until the next day when Molly disappeared.
June 27th started out much the same way as every day since Molly started work, Molly’s mother, Magi, brought her to work and dropped her off around 9:45 am. This was just Molly’s 8th day of work. When families started to arrive, Molly was not at her post but her lunch and things were still there. She was never seen again alive. Police suspect that Molly was taken only minutes after being dropped off.
June 9, 2003…nearly 3 years later, Molly’s partial remains and bathing suit were found by a hunter in the woods of West Ware Rd in nearby Palmer, MA a few miles from the pond where she worked, in an area known as “Whiskey Hill”. Only 26 bones of the 206 have ever been found.
Several Suspects have been investigated but there seems to be the majority of focus on two suspects.
The first, suspect is a man named Rodney Stanger. Rodney lived in Southbridge, MA but moved to Florida shortly after Molly went missing. In 2008, he killed his girlfriend, Chrystal Morrison, by stabbing her to death. Rodney matches pretty closely to the depiction of the man that Magi and others saw hanging around the pond. At the time, he also drove a white car similar to the description given by Molly’s mother. Chrystal’s sister called police after finding evidence clearing out Chrystal’s trailer that may have shown Stanger’s involvement. All of these items have been handed over to police.
Here is a comparison of the pictures:
The second suspect is a man named Gerald Battisstoni. Battisstoni is a convicted child rapist from nearby Ware, MA. He was convicted of raping the child of a woman he dated for years over 100 times. He attempted suicide in prison by slitting his own throat with a broken light bulb after being linked to the Bish Case and later died in prison of natural causes . He also resembled the composite, though in a different sort of way. He was familiar with both the Comins Pond and Whiskey Hill areas.
Neither man, or any suspect, has ever been charged in this case. A white car was recovered in 2018 after a tip that it was buried locally. The police used ground penetrating radar and recovered the vehicle but the owner was somehow not identified.
The Bish family still hopes that DNA testing or other breakthroughs will solve this case now over 21 years later, supporting investigative initiatives such as law enforcement work with familial DNA. I pray the find the answers, the peace and the justice they deserve.
If you or anyone you know have any information that could solve this case, and bring this family peace, please call the Massachusetts State Police Tip Line at (508) 453-7575.
This is a recent case having just occurred so there are no court records, just various articles indicating the cautionary tale. The case started out, it seems, with a random facebook message from a friend that Kimberly hadn’t seen in some time and ended with the murder of her and her husband.
Kimberly denied the request from the acquaintance, 49-year Timothy McQuesten due to to COVID-19 concerns. Kimberly’s husband, Mark, was suffering from a long illness which required a liver transplant, and as a result they were cautious about any exposure risks, but unfortunately this caution didn’t save them.
On January 14th, McQuesten allegedly broke into their home at 125 Main Street in Manville, RI and beat Kimberly and Mark to death with a hammer and crowbar.
The attack was brutal and Kimberly was dead by the time authorities arrived, but Mark was transferred to the hospital alive after a neighbor heard noises from the attack and called 9-1-1 when the couple did not answer the phone. He died shortly after his arrival at the hospital.
The killer might not have been caught with such a tentative connection to the Dupres, however, the killer initiated himself into investigation by making calls looking for support for himself, relative to the Dupre’s murder.
The calls detailed unreleased information about the crime, immediately drawing suspicion on McQuesten, which led to searches and, ultimately, to his arrest. Upon searching his home, the police located bloody clothes and shoes along with a bloody crowbar and hammer. His brother indicated that McQuesten had also confessed to him that he committed the crime.
McQuesten was arrested on two counts of first degree murder and had been ordered to have a psychological evaluation, but that was not to be. He was found 3 days later, dead in his cell at the ACI Facility. His autopsy indicated he committed suicide by shoving his face mask down his throat. It would have been interesting to at least get some perspective as to what drove him to the crime, since the timing seemed so incredibly random but the attack was so very personal and brutal. McQuesten did live close by, but what leads to that type of attack after all those years? We may never know.
The Karina Holmer brutal murder was a shocking case and therefore, it has received a lot of coverage. Even with the vast interest, this case remains open and unsolved to this day. There are 3 notable suspects in this case that people have spoken about mostly in whispers for years, but nothing concrete enough to bring an arrest was ever uncovered.
Karina was a 1994 high school graduate from a small town in Sweden called, Alaryd. She went to school to learn the restuarant business but after she reportedly won a local lottery for about $1500, decided to use a illegal nanny broker service to take a job with a family in Massachusetts arriving in March of 1996. This was the family of two artists, Frank Rapp and Susan Nichter and at the time their kids were a son in the first grade and a daughter, 3 year old. Official paperwork was never completed so technically, Karina did not have the proper work Visa.
Karina seems to do most of her work with the children during the week at the Dover home and on the weekend she often stayed at Rapp’s loft at 327 A Street in Boston and went to visit the areas clubs with her fake ID in hand. She had no problem getting in because she looked much older than her 20 years.
The mystery of this case is that Karina was cutting her trip short. She told friends that something happened and she would explain when she came home. Her sister is unaware of what the problem could have been, but her plan was to return in August.
The night that she disappeared was Friday June 21, 1996. She went to the loft as usual and met her friends. The group went out to Club Zanzibar in Boston to celebrate the Summer Solstice, and Karina was last seen around 3 am on June 22nd, after her friends apparently all left with some men they had met. Her body was found on Sunday morning, June 23rd, in a dumpster at 1091 Boyleston Street – well the top half of her body was found. The lower half was never located. A homeless man was looking for cans when he found her when her arm popped out of the trash bag she was in. Autopsy indicated Karina was strangled with a ligature. She was afterwards, cleanly sawed in half right below her ribs and above her pelvis between two vertebrae. The clean cut drew suspicion that someone with medical training or a butcher may have involvement. There were also marks on her wrists indicating at some point her hands were tied. Although a lot was made of the possibility, testing revealed she was not pregnant. Her make-up had been washed off which is another mystery from this case. Did she make it back to the loft and get ready for bed before she was killed? Did the killer wash off her make-up and, if so, why?
The only evidence of note was a partial fingerprint was recovered from the two large trash bags that contained her body. The finger print was never identified.
A mysterious fire also occurred in the dumpster outside the Rapp property the Monday after she was found. There was nothing of note found in the search of the dumpster noted anywhere that I could locate.
There are many suspects that have been questioned in this case but nothing has ever definitively tied anyone to her murder.
There are many sources available if you are interested in finding out more. I really enjoyed listening to Crime Junkie’s podcast on the case so if you find an interest, please check that out. A link is below, but I believe the podcast can be found anywhere you can listen to podcasts.
I was in 6th grade for this case and I still remember it well. It scared me because I had been driven on these roads my whole life and had always thought of them as safe, and not the stomping ground of a serial killer. In 1988 there were believed to be 11 victims of the New Bedford Serial Killer, at least that we know of. The killer was never caught, there is also the possibility that he moved on to another area and continued his killing spree.
For this post, I want to talk about the victims and what is known on this case.
Victim – Debra Medeiros, 30 years old, of Fall River lived with her mother. Debra was known to police and family to have had long standing substance abuse issues but no record for prostitution. Last seen by her boyfriend in New Bedford after a fight, and reported missing on 5/27/88. She was the first of the bodies found and she was identified in December of 1988. Her body was found 7/3/88 by a woman who went to relieve herself just in the woods on the side of the road on 140 in Freetown. Her remains were severely decomposed with her body positioned on her back with her feet pointed towards the highway. Her cause of death is strangulation, she had a bra around her neck, and she was found only partially clad. Her boyfriend was not considered a suspect. After her death, her mother counseled drug and alcohol addicts in honor of her daughter’s loss.
Victim – Nancy Lee Paiva, 36 years old, of New Bedford. Nancy had gone to secretarial school, but dropped out. She was married at 19, divorced and had 2 teenage daughters. Nancy was known as a very supportive mother and grandmother. At the time of her death, she had a steady boyfriend, who was a drug dealer known to police. She was last seen walking home from a bar called “Whisper’s Pub” on July 7, 1988 after a reported fight with her boyfriend in the South End in the early hours of morning. Nancy reportedly had substance abuse issues but was not known to be into prostitution. Her relationship with her boyfriend had been rocky with domestic violence issues. Her nude body was discovered beside Interstate 195 Westbound in Dartmouth July 30, 1988 by two men who were riding motorcycles. Her body was found in the same position as Medeiro’s – On her back with her feet pointing towards the highway. Nancy’s cause of death is also believed to be strangulation. Her boyfriend is not a suspect in her death.
Victim – Debra Greenlaw Demello a 35-year-old mother of 3 ; a 15 year old daughter, Chandra and 2 boys who were 8 and 3 at the time of her death. She had a brother, Wayne who said that Debra had struggled with substance abuse issues since her teenage years. She had walked away from a prison work-release program to which she had been sentenced due to a prostitution charge on June 18 and was last seen in New Bedford, July 11, 1988. Her body was found off the eastbound Reed Road ramp of Interstate 195 by a state highway crew on November 8, 1988. Debra’s nude body was in area with trees, clothing strewn in the branches. She was found with some belongings of another victim, Nancy Paiva.
Victim – Dawn Mendes. 25, last seen in New Bedford, September 4, 1988 walking from her apartment to a family christening party. Mendes was one of 10 children and was the mother of a 5 year old boy. She had a history of prostitution and drug use. Her body was found on November 29, 1988 on the westbound Reed Road ramp off Interstate 195 by a search dog, mostly skeletal remains but her hand was able to yield a fingerprint which lead to her being identified. Her mother raised her son after her death.
Victim – Rochelle Dopierla, 28, of Falmouth missing since late April, 1988. Her body was found December 10, 1988 in a gravel pit along Reed Road beneath a tree grove, about two miles from Interstate 195, by people riding ATVs. She was partially clothed and beaten to death. She had dated, and stayed at the home for suspect, Kenneth Ponte who was arrested for her murder but the charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence. This was the only time charges were brought in this case. Many contend he is one of the main suspects in this case, but I don’t believe he is the strongest suspect. That honor belongs to Anthony Degrazia. Both of the men are now deceased. Rochelle had testified against another (third) man who had raped her, but he is not suspected in this case. She was last seen with Nancy Paiva’s boyfriend, an ex-convict. He was cleared in both deaths and is not a suspect.
Victim – Robin L. Rhodes, also referred to as “Bobbie Lyn” was found March 28, 1989 along Route 140 southbound in Freetown by a search dog. She was believed to have gone missing sometime in March or April of 1988. Rhodes had dated suspect Kenneth Ponte. She had a young child and was addicted to heroin and cocaine. While she was never involved in prostitution, she knew many of the other victims and was friends with Mary Rose Santos.
Victim – Mary Rose Santos – a 26-year- of New Bedford. She was a mother of two, who was dropped off on July 16,1988 by her husband, with whom she had recently reconciled, near the downtown bus station and last seen dancing at “The Old Quarterdeck Lounge” five hours later . Friends said her husband had no idea she was working the streets to help pay bills, and she was known to have a substance abuse issue . Mary Rose Santos’ nude body was found March 31, 1989 along Route 88 in Westport by two boys, a beer bottle was found with her. Suspect Kenneth Ponte had represented Mary Santos in a civil case and helped her husband make flyers after her disappearance.
Victim – Sandra Botelho, 24, a mother of two young sons who were 4 and 6 years old. Botelho was known to have a significant substance abuse issue and engaged in prostitution. Botelho reportedly left her apartment on August 11, 1988 at 11pm and never returned. She was the final body found, located in the woods along Interstate 195 in Marion on April 24, 1989. Her body was nude and reportedly was folded into a fetal position.
Victim – Deborah Lynn McConnell, 25, of Newport, RI. Also spelled Deborah Lynn McConnell, mother to one daughter. Deborah was last seen May 1988 by her dad after she buried her mother at the cemetery. She is believed to have been the 3rd victim. Her body was found December 1,1988 off Route 140 northbound in Freetown, through a cadaver dog search. She was found nude with a bra around her neck. The family knew something was truly wrong when she did not see or call her 10 year old daughter on her birthday.
Suspected Victim – Never Found – Christina Monteiro, 1. Last Seen May, 1988. Christina had child and had a known substance abuse history. Her description was African-American female. Brown hair, brown eyes with scars on both wrists and a scar near her left eye. She is between 5’3 and 5’5 and 110 lbs. She has initials and words tattooed on her arms but I could not find what the words were. She was wearing a shirt, blue jeans and sneakers when she was last seen.
Suspected Victim – Never Found – Marilyn Cardoza-Roberts, 34. Last Seen April of 1988. She had a loving family who believed she moved to the West Coast to live with a relative. She was last seen in June 1988. They reported her missing in Dec 1988. She was neighbors with Monteiro, who is also still missing, which makes this even stranger to me – what are the odds? But then, many of the victims knew each other and ran in the same circles, and even the suspects.
I have always thought this case was fairly similar to the Long Island serial killer case, although there are certainly some differences. All of the victims in that case had a similar profile with drug and prostitution activity. The activity is alleged to have started in the early 90’s, just after the killings in New Bedford stopped. New Bedford Police have always operated on the idea that the person was local, and prostitutes and substance abusers can be out of touch with family, and transient which makes them ideal targets for serial killers. Netflix has a movie about the Long Island case called, “The Lost Girls” that readers might find interesting. There is also a documentary that was discussed about the New Bedford Case, but I could not find it at this time. I will update the post if I do locate it.
Hopefully, the DNA work that is being done will bring answers to the families that to this day look for them. There were 15 children who deserve answers about what happened to their mothers. Anyone with information can contact the New Bedford Police Department at (508) 991-6300, the Unsolved Homicide Tip Line at 1-866-SOLVE-07.
The streets from Miller Street to Highland Street in Middleboro are blocked off in what appears to be a double homicide investigation. The articles indicate the murder may be the result of a domestic dispute. The victims in this case were Renee and David True of 3 Highland Street Middleboro. This investigation is ongoing. Police have detained the couple’s 21 year old son, Ryan True, in the murder. Details to come…Cause of death was not released.
James Whitehurst from Arkansas was in town in Newry, Maine staying at the Black Bear Inn when he met Christian Nielson. He came to the area to reportedly deal with a custody dispute and stayed at the Inn providing some handyman services while he stayed there. The two men had no known connections other than they both chose to stay in the same place. Their meeting would have tragic consequences for Whitehurst, and all who remained at the Inn, which was in the process of being sold.
Julie Bullard was the owner the 130 year old Farmhouse style B&B for about 2 years, and had been trying to sell for a few months. She had previously worked in sales for a number of years before owning, then selling a B & B in California. Bullard’s daughter, Selby 30, and her friend Cynthia Beatson, 43 were frequent visitors to the Inn. Julie Bullard had moved to Maine after her daughter lost her husband in a car crash, friends say she was looking for a fresh start for the two of them, but had decided to sell for financial reasons.
Christian Nielson, was working at the Sudbury Inn in Bethel, Maine while he resided in the 6 room Black Bear Inn where he had reportedly lived for over 2 months. His employers describe him in articles as being a good , reliable worker. There is nothing to indicate any strife in Nielson’s life except there was some posts mentioning that Bullard had inquiring about the process of evicting Nielson, but I could not find much concrete to back that up.
Police believe that Mr. Nielson planned ahead to shoot James Whitehurst when he invited him into the woods to see his cabin. There was no cabin, or fishing spot, only a plan to see what it felt like to take another life. Whitehurst was shot, burned and buried in the woods. There are differing reports as to whether Whitehurst was dismembered before being burned.
Then, a full 2 days later, Christian killed the owner of the Inn. Then a day later, her daughter Selby and friend to cover up the first murder.
His intent to cover up the crime must have been something he abandoned because he called his parents and had they come to the scene at the Inn where they discovered the dismembered remains of the 3 women, and 3 dogs. Nielsen led the police to burned remains of the other victim, Whitehurst, in the woods some time later.
Christian Nielson originally tried for an insanity defense but he abruptly dropped it and pled guilty . He is serving a life sentence in this case.
Motive is elusive in this case. Nielson reportedly said that he had had thoughts of wanting to kill someone for years and he wanted to take over the Bed and Breakfast. Other times, the other murders were to cover up the first murder.
This case is a another local case, taking place not far from where I live but it’s not technically a murder because Jennifer disappeared into thin air on November 14th, 1989 and was just never seen again. This case is from the City of Brockton, where there is more distrust of the police than in some of the suburbs but it’s clear that a lot of someone’s know something in this case. It’s just waiting for that one piece of information that brings everything together.
While I had heard the case before, likely from some of the vigils that have been held, what it leading me today to want to share today is a podcast I listened to called, “The Vanished”. If you have not listened to the podcast before – I invite you to give it a listen, and hear Jennifer’s Story.
Hopefully, this case will be solved. For myself, I am particularly interested in whether the abuse of the disabled person in this story was part of the reason that Jennifer disappeared. It was an aspect of the case I had never heard before and it could certainly speak to a motive.
Matthew Cote was born to parents, Paula and Michael Cote. He had a brother, a sister and two step sisters. He grew up in the small New England town of Middleboro, MA. He had moved out, and was living in Kingston with his girlfriend, Jessica Brunell, and her young daughter. He was a flooring contractor that worked for his father’s business.
According to court records, August 13, 2003, around 2 pm Matthew Cote received a call from Russell Freitas at home, and Freitas asked him to come to his house to help him with some random tasks, like starting a dirt bike. Freitas also stated he had pills that he wanted Matt to sell. Matt broke his wrist in 2002 and was struggling with an addiction to Oxycontin, which he reportedly purchased from this Freitas character, a friend Matt had known for a long time. Freitas, involved in an accident in 1997 that left him a quadriplegic, was prescribed Oxycontin pills to control his pain. It is believed he used only a small amount of these pills and sold the rest.
Matt left home in his green pick-up for Russell’s house about 2:30 pm. Arriving reportedly, around 3pm, because he spoke briefly to Jamie Peterson, who was Freitas’s girlfriend and caregiver before she left to cash her check. When he had not returned home in time for dinner, Jessica began calling him, but could not reach him. She continued to call him throughout the night but was unable to reach him.
On August 14, 2003, Matt did not show up to meet his father for work when he was scheduled to arrive at 8:30 am. Later, his girlfriend went to the Kingston police station and filed a missing person report. Over the course of the next couple of days, Jessica reportedly also went around putting up “missing person” fliers in the entire surrounding area in the businesses and at the train stations. I went to school with Matt, and seeing these fliers was when I first became aware he was missing and started following this case.
Sunday, August 17, 2003, at approximately 10:00 a.m., charred remains were discovered by fisherman. They noticed the completely burned and unrecognizable body inside the backseat of a burned out truck, face down.
Autopsy would later find that the victim reportedly died of three to five wounds directly to his heart, one to the left lung, and two to his stomach area by a blunt item like a screwdriver before the truck was set on fire. It is said that Freitas kept pictures of the burned pick-up truck where Cote’s body was found, and sometimes used it as a screensaver on his computer. It is believed Matt owed Russell Freitas $300, which was the motivation for the murder. Seriously… just $300. Matt Cote was just 26 years old at the time of his death.
After Matt’s remains were discovered, a witness who watched the news reports came to police to report rather strange interactions with Freitas at times surrounding the case. He stated that 8:00 p.m. that evening that Matt went missing, he received a telephone call from Freitas, who wanted him to help him pick someone up. Freitas instructed him to drive through backroads, while Freitas was repeatedly calling someone. During the telephone call, Freitas told the person on the phone to “Make sure the duck is cooked well, well, well done.” This witness reports that after some time, Russell asked his friend to stop the car and they picked up Darren Caswell, who was dressed all in black. Caswell was picked up close to the spot where the victim’s body was later discovered. Police had evidence that placed Caswell’s cell phone within a quarter mile of the crime scene.
On July 14, 2007, Freitas died at 39 years old. The case became a cold case despite the evidence. Freitas may have been a driving force in this case but he could never physically have struck the fatal blows himself due to his physical condition, so at this point, the murderer was still free and Frietas could not be held responsible for his role in the crime. The State Police Fusion Unit reviewed the collected evidence and were able to put together a case against Darren Caswell.
On October 5, 2009, Darren Caswell was officially charged with first degree murder. The jury rejected the charge of murder in the first degree and later convicted Mr. Caswell of murder in the 2nd degree. He lost his bid for appeal in 2014, a second appeal in 2020 and is currently serving out a life sentence for the murder in the state correctional facility in Milford, MA.
I remember this case well. I think it was the smiling photo that was released when Jeffrey Curley first went missing and the overwhelming feeling that it was not going to end well… but I am not sure anyone was prepared to the depths of depravity that this case dove into.
Jeffrey Curley was born June 9, 1987, a third son to Robert, a fireman in Cambridge and Barbara Curley. The lived in East Cambridge on the outskirts of Boston, MA. Jeffrey liked to play outdoor sports in the neighborhood; such as basketball, baseball, hockey. He enjoyed ice skating and riding his bike.
October 1st, 1997, Jeffrey was last seen by his mother going to his grandmother’s house to wash the dog. As planned, He made it to his Nana’s house. After she saw him, he said he needed “to do something and would be back in ten minutes”. That was the last time Jeffrey was seen alive.
Jeffrey was reportedly lured into the car by 2 men he knew from the neighborhood, who had promised him a new bike…It was just after 3 pm. Charles Jaynes reported that Jeffrey stated, “You guys are my best friends” shortly after this ride began. You see, the reality was Jaynes and Sicari had been grooming Jeffrey for months taking him to McDonalds and the Museum of Science, and other places. To Jeffrey, these men were not strangers but people he felt like he knew and was comfortable with. He likely did not realize he was in danger until those last few minutes.
The family reported the boy missing when he did not return home that evening and police searches began the next day. Like many other cases, by the time the searches began, it was already much too late.
Very soon after Jeffrey was in the car, the suspects, Salvatore Sicari and Charles Jayne brutally murdered Jeffrey by smothering him by Jaynes sitting on him with his disgusting, extensive body weight after stuffing a gasoline soaked rag into Jeffrey’s mouth. Jeffrey fought hard but was no match for Jayne’s size. Charles Jayne then went to work at the Honda Village in Newton, with the victim’s body in the car, on the floor near the backseat where Sicari secured it and put in the trunk . After work, Jaynes and Sicari drove to Jayne’s Manchester, NH apartment. Jeffrey’s dead body was then raped by the men. When they were through, they stuffed Jeffrey into a plastic tote with lime and concrete and tossed him off a bridge into the Great Works River in South Berwick, Maine where his body was found on October 7, 1997.
During the search for Jeffrey, Salvatore Sicari, was interviewed 4 times after saying he saw Jeffrey the day he went missing, which culminating in his admission of being involve. He admitted to the kidnapping and subsequent murder with an accomplice, Charles Jayne. Sicari claimed to be a witness to the crime with Jayne committing the actual murder.
Both men were convicted in this disgusting crime and given life sentences. Jayne finally admitted his role in the crime just this year, but in some screwed up twist Jayne has the possibility of parole on his conviction of second degree murder.
For the sake of the family, and other family’s of small children, I am hoping that neither man ever sees the outside of prison walls again. I hope every moment they spent in prison, they suffer for what they have done. After a story like this, it feels like they could never suffer enough.
Here are a few more articles if you are interested in this case:
This show explores some of the more difficult to solve cases in the Southern Ontario (Canada) area, which remain unresolved to this day. Join your host as she explores the community and facts surrounding each case. Each case features a unique site visit description and various interviews with either friends, family members, law enforcement or specialists.