Holly Piirainen: New details emerge in 19-year-old murder case

BRIMFIELD (FOX 25 / –In the deep woods of Brimfield, near an abandoned trolley line which now attracts those seeking the solace only nature can bring, stands a homemade pink cross.

The cross marks the spot where 10-year-old Holly Piirainen's body was discovered 19 years ago. The cross is an unsettling reminder that her case remains unsolved.

Holly was abducted around 12 p.m. on August 5, 1993 while she walked with her younger brother Zachary. The children were looking at puppies near her grandmother's cottage in Sturbridge.

When her brothers returned to the area to fetch their sister, all that was left was one of her shoes in the road.

Despite a massive search, Holly's body wasn't found until three months later on Oct. 23, 1993.

Over the years, the detectives on Holly's case have been working a list of possible suspects, but there is one name on that list that has been there from the very beginning and is now getting a lot of renewed attention from Massachusetts State Police.

The person of interest: Randy Stanger.

Randy Stanger is the brother of Rodney Stanger, the man who has emerged as a prime suspect in the abduction murder of Molly Bish in nearby Warren.

At the time of Holly's abduction, Randy Stanger was living in a tent in the woods of Brimfield where Holly was eventually found.

On the day that Holly was taken, detectives talked to Randy Stanger about the little girl.

Police told FOX 25's Bob Ward that he cooperated with authorities.

In 2009, Rodney Stanger was arrested for murdering his girlfriend in Florida. At that time, Randy Stanger was considered missing by his family.

Massachusetts State Police found Randy Stanger in Florida, picked him up on an outstanding drug warrant, and jailed him in Massachusetts for a year.

During the summer of 2012, Massachusetts State Police investigating the Bish case travelled to central Florida where they search Rodney Stanger's trailer. A detective from the Holly Piirainen investigation joined the detectives in Florida.

However, there is one more intriguing clue.

Years after Holly's abduction, Zachary began having flashbacks. He told his family that he kept seeing the face of a man, but that he couldn't place the man's face.

In 2005, 12 years after Holly's murder, the flashbacks produced a sketch that looked eerily similar to Randy Stanger; however, Holly's family did not see a picture of Randy Stanger until 2009.

Randy Stanger is not the only person detectives are investigating.

A year ago, Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni announced newly detected forensic evidence gathered at the site in Brimfield where Holly was found. The evidence pointed to David Pouliot, of Springfield, who passed away in 2003; however, he is not yet considered a suspect.

Despite the lengthy period of time, Holly's family remains hopeful.

Holly's grandmother recently learned that one week before her granddaughter was taken, Holly had attended a 4H Camp and that one of the counselors told the campers to leave something behind if they were ever to get taken.

Holly's grandmother believes her granddaughter left behind her shoe.

Holly Piirainen would be turning 30-years-old in January.

Mastroianni said Holly's case remains open and active. He is 100 percent committed to following up on any leads.

Anyone with information regarding the abduction and murder of Holly Piirainen is asked to contact Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Hampden County District Attorney's Office at 413-505-5993.

A $40,000 reward is being offered in this case.

Comments on this article