Case Updates: Molly Bish, Holly Piirainen and Claire Gravel

Read my original article on Molly Bish’s disappearance and murder here.

After over 20 years waiting for answers, the family of Molly Bish seem to have, understandably, lost faith in the team investigating the case. Molly’s sister, Heather, sent in a formal request for the case to be taken over by Hampden County. Heather Bish cited that the investigators had developed tunnel vision, focusing on one particular person of interest without following other leads, a lack of communication to the family and general frustration. The family has stated they want private labs used to test the DNA, outside experts included  (Molly Bish’s family asks for case to be transfered to Hampden County)(Curran)( Madeja and McKinley Becker).

Francis “Frank” P. Sumner was named as a person of interest by investigators in 2021. Sumner was a convicted rapist who passed in 2016 and has become the main person of interest in the case since being identified. Sumner’s son’s DNA was tested against DNA evidence and did not match, however, investigators are still focused on Sumner. Approximately 100 tips were called in relating to Sumner (Molly Bish’s family asks for case to be transfered to Hampden County)(Curran)( Madeja and McKinley Becker).

“Molly Bish’s Family Asks for Case to Be Transfered to Hampden County.” Molly Bish’s Family Asks for Case to Move to Hampden County, 28 Sept. 2022,

Curran, Kathy. “Family of Molly Bish Wants New Investigators Assigned to Her Case.” NBC Boston, NBC10 Boston, 27 Sept. 2022,

Madeja , Monica, and Kaitlin McKinley Becker. “DNA in Molly Bish Case Isn’t a Match, Sister Says: ‘It’s Disappointing’.” NBC Boston, NBC10 Boston, 19 July 2022,

Read my original article on the murder of Holly Piirainen here.

After my original article was posted in February 2020, a body was exhumed in Hampden County with possible connection to Piirainen’s murder. This individual has not been named, nor has the connection to the case been identified, but they are considered a person of interest (LeBel).

New evidence has been released in the case of Holly Piirainen. In the last six months, more testing has been done on items found near where Piirainen’s remains were recovered from. Investigators are interested in information on a tank top found on the scene. The tank top is a white top with “BOSTON” on it in blue, purple and pink. The top has no identifiable information on it outside of the design. There are no tags for sizing or anything that can lead investigators to where the shirt was sold from. Investigators are sharing the tank top in hopes that new information will come in regarding the case. They are interested in who owned it, where it originated or was sold and any information that could help narrow down how it came to be at the scene at 5 Bridgefield Road near Brimfield. If you recognize the shirt and have any information that could help investigators find Piirainen’s kill, call 426-3507 or Test-A-Tip to CRIMES (2774637) by typing SOLVE into the body of the message followed by the information (Asher Klein)(Investigators seek information about shirt found near Holly Piirainen in Brimfield after 1993 murder)(LeBel).

Asher Klein, Marc Fortier. “Da Releases Evidence in 1993 Killing of 10-Year-Old Mass.. Girl.” NBC Boston, NBC10 Boston, 1 Feb. 2023,

Staff, “Investigators Seek Information about Shirt Found near Holly Piirainen in Brimfield after 1993 Murder.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 1 Feb. 2023,

LeBel, Lauren. “Public Assistance Sought in Investigation of Holly Piirainen.” Reminder Publications, Reminder Publications, 8 Feb. 2023,

Read my original article on the murder of Claire Gravel here.

In August 2022, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett announced that an indictment was being brought in the case of Claire Gravel’s murder. While investigators have interviewed dozens of witnesses and persons of interest over the years, it was a lead that came in in 2012 that led to indictment. Assistant District Attorney Kim Faitella shared that Gravel’s pink tank top had been found in a “figure of eight” and that she had died of strangulation. DNA was collected from the top and matched a man incarcerated in 2009 (Leighton and Harmacinski)(Manganis)(Ward)(True Crime Mysteries).

The man being indicted is John W. Carey, 64, currently serving a 20 year sentence for an attempted murder in 2007.Carey had gone to his neighbor’s home in 2007, looking to have a drink with the husband of Rosemary Diskin. Diskin’s husband was not home, and Carey attacked her as soon as he learned that. He had brought a tie, which he used to attempt to strangle her. Luckily for Diskin, her 22-year old son was home and was able to stop the attack when he stabbed Carey in the back. Diskin is positive that Carey was intent on killing her. Carey later claimed to investigators that the attack was actually part of a consensual meeting between the two, stating he found asphyxiation erotic. This claim not only gave him an attempted defense, but served to victimize Diskin again, putting the idea that she was having an affair with him in the minds of people involved with the case. Despite this, and likely aided by the images and videos of women being strangled found on Carey’s computer, Carey was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He had been scheduled for early release due to good behavior, which understandably scared Diskin who was scared he would come after her, but this new indictment may prevent that (Leighton and Harmacinski)(Manganis)(Ward)(True Crime Mysteries).

Leighton, Paul, and Jill Harmacinski. “Suspect Indicted in 1986 Murder of Salem State Student.” Salem News, 24 Aug. 2022,

Ward, Bob. “Suspect Arraigned for 1986 Murder of Salem State Student Claire Gravel.” Boston 25 News, Boston 25 News, 21 Oct. 2022,

True Crime Mysteries, Megan. “Man Arrested in the 36-Year-Old Cold Case Murder of Claire Gravel: True Crime Mysteries (Megan).” NewsBreak Original, NewsBreak Original, 9 Jan. 2023,

Deliso, Meredith. “Suspect Indicted in 36-Year-Old Massachusetts Cold Case Murder of College Student: DA.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 24 Aug. 2022,


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