Sources: MSP exhume body of potential person of interest in Holly Piirainen murder investigation

BOSTON — Twenty-seven years after the body of 10-year-old Holly Piirainen was recovered from the woods of Brimfield, sources tell Boston 25 News investigators have exhumed the body of a man who may be a person of interest in the case.

“I hope it’s significant. I hope it leads to finding out who murdered Holly,” said Carla Jackman, Holly’s Aunt.

Holly Piirained lived in Grafton.

But in August 1993, she was visiting her grandmother’s summer cottage in Sturbridge.

On Aug. 5th, Holly was abducted while she and her 5-year-old brother were trying to see a newborn litter of puppies at a neighbor’s house.

Holly’s body was discovered in the woods of Brimfield, five miles away on October 23, 1993.

The Hampden County DA’s office will not comment on the recent exhumation.

But sources tell Boston 25 News the man whose body was exhumed passed away four years after Holly’s murder.

“It seems like a big step to have to exhume someone, so it must be pretty important,” said Jackman.

In 2012, the Hampden County DA’s office revealed it had found DNA at the scene in Brimfield that it connected to a man named David Pouliot who passed away in 2003.

[ New England’s Unsolved: Holly Piirainen 25 Years Later ]

The man recently exhumed is not David Pouilot, but another potential person of interest.

“It seems like a big step to have to exhume someone,” Jackman said. “So it must be pretty important. We don’t know all the details.”

Exhumations are not common.

In 2014, former Boston Police Chief Dan Linskey was part of a team that exhumed the body of Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler.

Linskey told me exhumations are rare, and mostly, a last resort for law enforcement.

“Exhuming a person’s resting place is upsetting to their surviving family members,” said Linskey. “We want to balance that upset with the investigative wealth we can get from doing it.”

[ New England’s Unsolved: Holly Piirainen’s murder ]

Holly Piirainen’s family is hoping the exhumation will lead to new information.

The family is offering a $40,000 reward for information that leads to Holly’s killer.

Twenty-seven years is a long time to wait for justice.

“We just remember her, we’ll never forget her,” said Jackman. “A big chunk of our lives is gone.”