Published July 19, 2012
Massachusetts authorities are traveling to Florida to re-interview a convicted killer possibly linked to the murder of 16-year-old Molly Bish, who was abducted from her lifeguard post 12 years ago, the Worcester district attorney's office confirmed to FoxNews.com.
The decision was made after investigators recently seized items taken from the Summerfield, Fla., home of Rodney Stanger, who is serving a 25-year prison term for the 2008 stabbing death of his live-in girlfriend, Chrystal Morrison.
Bish disappeared in June 2000 from Comins Pond in Warren, Mass., where she worked as a lifeguard. 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.
Stanger, 64, who lived in nearby Southbridge, Mass., at the time of the disappearance, 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.
Kiernan recently traveled to the Florida trailer home where the couple lived to retrieve items belonging to Morrison, Fox affiliate WFXT reported. While there, Kiernan found a wallet belonging to Stanger that was hidden inside a kitchen cabinet. 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 the pond the day before Bish vanished. The F.I.D. card was renewed just two months before Bish's disappearance.
Other items found by Kiernan included a film showing a blonde girl stripping, who then appears to get her neck snapped, according to MassLive.com, and girls' hair accessories. She also found keys to a previously unknown safety deposit box and Stanger's birth certificate, which listed Warren, Mass., Bish's hometown, as his birthplace.
Paul Jarvey, a spokesman for the Worcester district attorney, said authorities are also conducting DNA testing on old items taken from Comins Pond at the time of Bish's disappearance, like discarded cigarettes.
Investigators have said that the abduction of Bish took less than 8 minutes. The teenager was dropped off at the rural pond 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.
Magi Bish later told police that she remembered seeing a suspicious man hanging around the pond the day before her daughter disappeared. Sketches made of the unidentified man bear a striking resemblance to Stanger, who abruptly relocated to Florida following Bish's disappearance.