New DNA Testing Ordered In Molly Bish Murder Case

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Normal New DNA Testing Ordered In Molly Bish Murder Case

Post by lisette on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:17 am

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV
June 7, 2012 11:00 PM
BOSTON (CBS) – The disappearance and murder of Molly Bish has frustrated and worried investigators for the past 12 years. The 16-year-old’s killer has never been found. Now WBZ has learned evidence from the crime scenes, such as cigarettes found at Warren’s Comins Pond where Molly disappeared, is being tested for DNA.

District Attorney Joe Early is hoping recent advances in DNA testing will help solve the case. “We hope to get a break there,” says Early. “As we’ve said before, time can be your enemy right away but as years pass, time becomes your friend. There is a variety of emotions involved with this as opposed to other homicides. This one is unique, unique for so many reasons.”

Molly disappeared during her lifeguard shift on June 27, 2000. As the anniversary of her murder nears, investigators are making plans to head to Florida once again to interview convicted killer Rodney Stanger. They’re also trying to talk with Gerald Battistoni, a convicted child rapist. Both men are extremely violent, have ties to the Warren area, and resemble the sketch of the man Magi Bish saw at the pond the day before Molly was killed.

When he’s asked how confident he was that investigators would find Molly’s killer, Early replied, “That’s an interesting question. I’m confident in the ability for State Police to do the work they need to do. Again I think we need a break or two but we will never give up. We’re going to pursue Molly’s killer as long as I’m in office and after that.”

Twenty pieces of evidence will be tested for DNA. Some have been tested in the past but not all. The Worcester County District Attorney has also sent off official requests to the FBI to have them help in the search for Molly’s killer.

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Last edited by Wrapitup on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:43 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added date of article. Glad to know this is recent. Great Video at above link lisette posted. Thanks, lisette!)
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Post by lisette on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:21 am


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Post by lisette on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:29 am

Man questioned in death of Molly Bish, due to go on trial in Florida in slaying of girlfriend
Published: Sunday, February 08, 2009, 1:00 PM Updated: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 3:02 PM



WARREN - A former Southbridge man who has been questioned by police investigating the death of 16-year-old Molly Anne Bish has been found competent to stand trial in Florida in the death of his longtime girlfriend.

The defense lawyer for Rodney A. Stanger, 60, of Summerfield, Fla., declined comment on the Bish case.

"It's not my case. I'll let the evidence technicians do their job," said William A. Miller, chief assistant public defender for Marion County, Fla.

Timothy J. Connolly, a spokesman for Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., said police interviewed Stanger last year following a tip - one of hundreds that detectives have investigated. He would not comment further.

Bish disappeared in June 2000 from Comins Pond in Warren where she was working as a lifeguard. The remains of the Warren teenager were found in a wooded area in Palmer in 2003.

Stanger, who is awaiting trial on a second-degree murder charge in connection with the February 2008 stabbing death of his 25-year live-in girlfriend Crystal Morrison, 51, was found competent on Nov. 25 after spending nine months in the Florida State Hospital, according to Miller and Marion County court records.

The judge ordered that Stanger, who is scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial conference in March, be given his "prescribed medication" by jail officials, according to the docket for the case on Marion County Court Clerk's Web site.

Miller helped defend Aileen C. Wuornos, a prostitute who was convicted of killing seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990 and was later executed. Her story was told in the movie "Monster" starring Charlize Theron. Miller said he is concerned that linking Stanger to the Bish case could effect pre-trial publicity.

"It could dramatically impact the proceedings here. I know what zoo a trial can become. It makes my job harder," Miller said.

Miller said he initially requested that Stanger be examined for competency which relates to a defendant's ability to understand the charges against him and to communicate effectively with his lawyer. The Florida State Hospital requested the November hearing in which he was found competent, Miller said.

"It's not something that couldn't change. It's a day-to-day thing. He's been stabilized," Miller said.

As for an insanity defense, Miller said "it is something that might be coming." He emphasized that Stanger should be presumed innocent.

"We intend to defend this case vigorously. He has a very valid defense," Miller said.

Although Stanger is not being identified by authorities as a suspect in the Bish case, his ex-wife Deborah M. Stanger, 55, now a resident of Duluth, Minn., and Thomas P. Shamshak, a private investigator who is a longtime friend of the Bish family, said there are links between the Bish case and Stanger that are hard to miss.

Deborah Stanger and Shamshak said that Stanger used to go fishing at Comins Pond and that he hunted in the area near the Palmer-Warren town line where Bish's remains were found.

Shamshak said interviews he has done indicate that Rodney Stanger left Southbridge for Florida about a year after Bish disappeared. Records from the Worcester Registry of Deeds indicate Stanger owned property at 282 Everett St. in Southbridge from 1976 until he sold it in June 2001 for $119,000.

"This fellow used to fish at Comins Pond and hunted in the Palmer area. From speaking to family members, he had a very violent streak," Shamshak said.

Bish family members said there is a resemblance between Stanger drawing of a man who Molly's mother, Magdelen M. Bish, saw in a white car smoking a cigarette when she dropped her daughter off at the pond the day before she disappeared.

Deborah Stanger, who was Rodney Stanger's second wife and was married to him for four years, said she lived in the Everett Street duplex with him until she left with her daughter for a battered women's shelter. Although she said he abused her, she said she did not report the abuse to police.

It was an incident in which he would not let her go check on their daughter, Nina, when she was a baby, and then hit the baby, that prompted her to leave him, she said.

"I told him to stop. He said, 'One of these days I'm going to shut you up for good,'" she said.

He also abused animals she said. He slit her cat's throat, and when he got tired of the beagles he bred he dug a pit, put them in, and shot them.

"Right after I married him, he became controlling, isolating me. It progressively got worse," Stanger said.

When she first met Rodney Stanger, he was working at a factory in Sturbridge, but later worked for a tree service until he said he injured his back. He has been on a disability pension since then, she said.

Shamshak said he was struck by the similarities between Rodney Stanger and the profile of Bish's abductor done years ago by John Kelly of the Old Bridge, N.J.-based S.T.A.L.K. Inc. For example, Kelly's profile notes that the abductor would have employment that centers around his "visual intake sense" such as tree-trimming, computers, car repair or cleaning.

"He is very familiar with Comins Pond, and probably has fished there," the profile states.

The profile states the abductor would have a history of physical or sexual assaults on females, would be a white male, and his drugs of choice would be nicotine, alcohol, cocaine and marijuana. His hobbies would include hunting, fishing, photography or gambling.

A report about Stanger in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette said that the sister of the woman Stanger is accused of killing in Florida, Bonnie M. Kiernan, of Douglas, raised the case of Holly Piirainen, a 10-year-old from Grafton who was abducted in Sturbridge while visiting her grandparents in 1993. Her body was found in Brimfield.

Kiernan was quoted as saying her sister gave hints in a telephone call that Stanger had been involved in two unsolved killings in Massachusetts. Hampden District Attorney William M. Bennett has said the investigation into Piirainian's death is open, but he has no public comment on Stanger.

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:44 am

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:46 am

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:47 am

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:48 am

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:49 am

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Post by lisette on Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:44 am

Old wallet belonging to killer might hold clues in murder of 16-year-old Molly Bish

An old wallet belonging to a convicted killer who has long been a "person of interest" in the unsolved murder of a Massachusetts girl may be the break cops have sought for 12 years.

Molly Bish, 16, of Warren, Mass., disappeared in June 2000 from a local pond where she worked as a lifeguard. After the largest search for a missing person in Massachusetts history, Bish's remains were discovered three years later about five miles from her family's home.

Rodney Stanger, a 64-year-old native of Southbridge, Mass., who was living in the area at the time, emerged as a person of interest in 2009. Stanger, who abruptly moved to Florida following Bish's disappearance, is serving a 25-year prison term for the 2008 stabbing death of his live-in girlfriend, Chrystal Morrison, in Summerfield, Fla.

Fox affiliate WFXT-TV reported that Morrison's sister, Bonnie Kiernan, recently traveled to the Florida trailer home where the couple lived to retrieve items belonging to Morrison. While there, Kiernan found a wallet belonging to Stanger that was hidden inside a kitchen cabinet, according to the station. In it was a Massachusetts Firearms Identification Card, with a photo of Stanger that bears a striking resemblance to sketches made of a suspicious man seen hanging around the pond the day before Bish vanished. The F.I.D. card was renewed just two months before Bish's disappearance from Comins Pond in Warren.

"He looks just like the sketch," Kiernan told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "It's him. I have no doubt it's him."

The wallet also held Stanger's birth certificate, which listed Warren, Mass., as his birthplace, as well as a Massachusetts fishing license and keys to a safety deposit box.

Stanger was already a person of interest in the Bish case, partly because of a tip from Kiernan. After Morrison's death in 2008, Kiernan told cops about a cryptic phone call from her sister, in which the doomed woman implied Stanger may have been involved in murders in Massachusetts, according to the Worcester newspaper. Morrison mentioned Bish and another girl, Holly Piirainen, who disappeared in 1993 in Sturbridge, a town adjacent to Southbridge. No one has ever been charged in the death of Piirainen, whose body was found two months after she disappeared by hunters in nearby Brimfield.

"I'm hopeful the state police will follow up with this," Bish's sister, Heather, told the newspaper. "We appreciate the people that come forward because it gives us a reason to push the investigation."

The Worcester district attorney, meanwhile, is planning to conduct DNA testing on several items, including discarded cigarettes from Comins Pond and combs found inside Stanger's Florida home, according to local reports.

"We hope to get a break there," Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr. told WBZ-TV last month. "As we’ve said before, time can be your enemy right away, but as years pass, time becomes your friend. There is a variety of emotions involved with this as opposed to other homicides. This one is unique, unique for so many reasons."

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Post by lisette on Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:16 am

Killer eyed in Molly Bish murder fled Massachusetts to evade police, friend says
Published July 25, 2012

A convicted killer possibly linked to the murder of 16-year-old Molly Bish abruptly moved from Massachusetts to Florida to run away from investigators, according to a longtime friend of the man.
Rodney Stanger, 64, who was living in Southbridge, Mass., at the time, relocated to Summerfield, Fla., a few months after Bish was abducted from her lifeguard post in June 2000. Bish's remains were found in 2003.
Stanger's move came after police released a sketch of a mystery man seen hanging around Comins Pond in Warren the day before Bish disappeared. The image bears a striking resemblance to Stanger, who is currently serving a 25-year prison term in Florida for the 2008 stabbing death of his live-in girlfriend, Chrystal Morrison.
Michael Philbrook, Stanger's longtime friend, told Fox affiliate WFXT-TV that Stanger said he was moving to Florida to distance himself from police.
"He said, 'Oh the cops have been after me,'" Philbrook told the station. "'These young ones,' he said, 'They won't leave me alone.'"
"I think he's just about capable of doing something like that," Philbrook said. "I wasn't going to say anything, but as I look back, yeah, he's not like your ordinary man. You don't understand. He has no feelings, no emotions, you know?"
Stanger, who in 2000 was living in a Soutbridge home that was fully paid off, had no prior criminal record or any warrants for his arrest at the time of the move, according to the station. He had also renewed a Massachusetts Firearms Identification Card just two months before Bish's kidnapping. The photo on that card -- which was recently discovered inside Stanger's abandoned trailer home in Florida -- looks eerily similar to police sketches of a suspicious man seen near Comins Pond.
The Worcester district attorney's office confirmed to FoxNews.com last week that Massachusetts authorities are traveling to Florida to re-interview Stanger in the Bish case. Stanger was already a "person of interest" in the case, partly because of a police tip from his girlfriend's sister.
After Morrison's death in 2008, the woman's sister, Bonney Kiernan, told cops about a cryptic phone call from her sister, in which the doomed woman implied Stanger may have been involved in murders in Massachusetts, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Morrison alluded to Bish and another girl, Holly Piirainen, who disappeared in 1993 in Sturbridge, a town adjacent to Southbridge.
Investigators have said that the abduction of Bish took less than 8 minutes. The teenager was dropped off at the rural pond in Warren, Mass., by her mother, Magi, on the morning of June 27, 2000. When swimmers arrived a few minutes later, the only signs of Bish were her water bottle, sandals, a police radio and an opened first aid kit.
After the largest search for a missing person in Massachusetts state history, Bish's scattered remains were discovered in 2003 about 5 miles from her family's home.

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Post by lisette on Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:09 pm

Detectives search Florida home of convicted killer for clues in Molly Bish murder case

Massachusetts detectives are searching the Florida trailer home of a convicted killer possibly linked to the murder of 16-year-old Molly Bish more than a decade ago.
Authorities are looking for any clues that might implicate Rodney Stanger in the abduction and murder of Bish, who disappeared in June 2000 from a Massachusetts pond where she worked as a lifeguard.
Stanger, 64, who was living in Southbridge, Mass., at the time of Bish's disappearance, abruptly moved to Summerfield, Fla., a few months after Bish was kidnapped from Comnis Pond in Warren. Her remains were found in 2003.
Stanger is currently serving a 25-year prison term in Florida for the 2008 stabbing death of his live-in girlfriend, Chrystal Morrison.
The search of Stanger's dilapidated Florida trailer comes after Morrison's sister, Bonney Kiernan, traveled there in June and uncovered possible evidence in the Bish case from inside the home.
The items, which were seized by police, include a film showing a blond girl stripping then getting her neck snapped, according to local reports, and a photo of Stanger that bears a striking resemblance to sketches of a suspicious man seen hanging around the pond where Bish worked.
Kiernan also found a wallet belonging to Stanger that was hidden inside a kitchen cabinet, Fox affiliate WFXT-TV reported. In it was a Massachusetts Firearms Identification Card, with a photo of Stanger that looks eerily similar to police sketches of a mystery man seen near Comins Pond the day before Bish vanished. The FID card was renewed just two months before Bish's disappearance.
Kiernan also found girls' hair accessories, keys to a previously unknown safety deposit box and Stanger's birth certificate, which listed Warren, Mass., Bish's hometown, as his birthplace.
WFXT reports that detectives with the Massachusetts State Police have traveled to Marion County, Fla., to search the abandoned trailer for any clues in the Bish case. They are also planning to re-interview Stanger, according to the station.
"I don't know what changed for them," Detective Rhonda Stroup of Marion County told the station. "I am not privy to their information, but they had a lead or something happen in Massachusetts ... they were able to come here. They asked me to prepare a search warrant for a safe deposit box in Dunellon and a search warrant for this house."
Investigators have said that the abduction of Bish took less than 8 minutes. The teenager was dropped off at the rural pond in Warren, Mass., by her mother, Magi, on the morning of June 27, 2000. When swimmers arrived a few minutes later, the only signs of Bish were her water bottle, sandals, a police radio and an opened first aid kit.
After the largest search for a missing person in Massachusetts state history, Bish's scattered remains were discovered in 2003 about 5 miles from her family's home.

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Post by lisette on Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:21 pm

Family of slain lifeguard hopeful after 12 years

By DENISE LAVOIE
AP Legal Affairs Writer
August 26, 2012 12:00 AM

WARREN, Mass. — Each time a new lead emerges in the search for her 16-year-old daughter's killer, Magi Bish feels like there's a tug of war going on inside her chest.

"You have hope that it will end. You think, 'Is this the person? Could this be him?'

"But you're also emotionally exhausted. You fear. It's like PTSD. You want answers, but you're so afraid. It brings back everything about Molly."

The Bish family has been on edge a lot recently.

Massachusetts state police spent two days last month questioning a Florida inmate in Molly's death. Investigators have also sent 21 pieces of evidence for a new round of DNA testing. And prosecutors have agreed to ask the FBI's behavioral analysis unit to review the case.

"We are very hopeful," said Heather Bish, Molly's older sister. "There is a certain responsibility when someone in your family is murdered. You have to find out who did it."

Molly Bish was blue-eyed and blonde, bubbly and funny, everyone's friend and her mother's baby.

On June 27, 2000, Molly's mother dropped her off at her lifeguard job at a rural pond in Warren, a town of about 5,000 in central Massachusetts.

Within eight minutes, she was gone. Molly's lawn chair, water shoes, lunch and water bottle were on the pond's small beach. Next to them were her police radio and an opened first aid kit.

Molly's family believes her killer may have parked on a nearby cemetery road, watched her from a hill overlooking the pond, then lured her into the surrounding woods by pretending to be hurt.

Three years passed. In May 2003, a hunter's tip led police to the blue bathing suit Molly was wearing. It was found in an area of woods known as Whiskey Hill in the neighboring town of Palmer, about five miles from where she disappeared.

Her remains were found scattered over 35 acres, her body ravaged by animals. No cause of death could be determined. Molly was buried on Aug. 2, 2003, on what would have been her 20th birthday.

Her boyfriend was questioned. So were sex offenders who lived in the area. In all, investigators have talked to more than a dozen men, and dozens of witnesses went before a grand jury in 2004.

Still, no one has been indicted.

One of the things that torments Molly's mother is the thought of a man she saw in the parking lot of the pond the day before Molly's disappearance. The man was sitting in a white car, smoking a cigarette. Magi Bish waited until the man left, but didn't think about him again until the next day, when Molly disappeared.

Her description of the man — middle-aged, with a mustache and combed-back hair — was used to make a sketch. Several men investigated by police have resembled the one in the sketch, including Rodney Stanger, a former Massachusetts man known to hunt and fish in the area. He is now serving a 25-year sentence in Florida in the fatal stabbing of his longtime girlfriend, Chrystal Morrison.

Stanger moved to Florida months after Molly's disappearance. He was questioned in her death in 2008 but denied having anything to do with it.

Then, this past June, Morrison's sister, Bonnie Kiernan, went to Florida to clean out the trailer Stanger and her sister lived in. She brought back items investigators in the Bish case are now examining, including hair bands and a 2000 firearms identification card with a photograph of Stanger that resembles the man in the sketch.

In July, state police went to Florida to question Stanger for a second time. Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said he again denied involvement in Molly's killing. Police searched his trailer and brought back bags of evidence.

Alan Bushnell, a Florida lawyer who represented Stanger in the killing of his girlfriend, did not respond to telephone and email messages.

Despite the age of the case, Early said he is not discouraged.

Investigators are re-testing cigarette butts and other items found near the pond, near Molly's beach chair and in the area where her remains were found.

"We know the science is getting better and people who might not want to speak to us around the time of the homicide — due to relationships, due to fear and other things — sometimes as time passes, they want to talk to us, they want to get something off their chest," he said.

Since police first expressed interest in Stanger, Heather Bish has been struck by something Molly said several days before she disappeared. Heather Bish said both she and her mother talked to Molly about safety because the pond was secluded and was known to be a popular spot for local fishermen and teenagers who hung out in nearby woods.

"Molly said to us, 'Don't worry, they're just fishermen.'"

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