A teenage lifeguard is abducted and her mother may have seen the suspect.

Molly Bish

Police sketch of suspect

CASE DETAILS

Molly’s possessions were left behind

For the Bish family, the perfect getaway from the urban violence of their old Detroit neighborhood was Warren, Massachusetts, population 4,800. Molly Bish was only a year old when her family moved here. Fifteen years later, she landed her first real job as a lifeguard at a nearby pond. Magi Bish is Molly’s mother:

“Molly was very proud to be a lifeguard. She worked very hard for that and she did get this position at the Warren Pond. It’s a beautiful location. But it’s surrounded by woods and it is somewhat isolated.”

On June 27, 2000, Molly’s seventh day on the job, her mother Magi drove her to work.
Three hours later, she received an alarming phone call:

“I got a phone call from the local police who said that there had been no lifeguard all day and that Molly’s belongings were on the beach.”

The search turned up nothing

Magi rushed to the pond. She found her daughter’s sandals, chair, and lunch sitting on the beach, but no Molly. Molly’s father, John Bish Sr.:

“It’s hard for me to describe that sinking, hollow feeling you have as divers are looking for your daughter, as dogs are combing the woods and police officers are searching and interviewing people. And I almost immediately began to think that something really horrible happened.”

According to Chief Ronald J. Syriac of the Warren Police Department, no clues were left behind:

“Molly’s chair, her lunch bag, her first aid kit and the 2-way police radio was right there,  intact, undisturbed. So we have no clues whatsoever.”

Magi was convinced her daughter had been abducted and suddenly realized she might have seen the man responsible at the pond the day before Molly disappeared:

“We pull up at the pond. And there’s a vehicle parked in the parking lot right next to our car. There’s a man sitting in there smoking. I somehow just feel uncomfortable. I looked at this man.  He doesn’t nod and greet me. And I just felt uneasy. I did not want to leave Molly with this man.”

Jeanne carefully sketched a portrait

Maggie escorted Molly all the way down to the beach and expected the stranger in the late model white car to be gone when she got back:

“And lo and behold, I think I’ve been gone a reasonable time, but this man who was in this vehicle, is still there. I’m very upset that he’s still there. So I lock eyes with him.  I am giving him a stare, trying, I guess, to maybe scare him away. He returns the stare and just boldly stares at me, just, cocky as all… He just squinted his eyes and he stared at me, and just kept smoking and he didn’t seem to care.”

Fearing for her daughter’s safety, Maggie waited for the man to leave. The following day, Magi once again went with her daughter to the swimming hole. This time the man was nowhere to be seen. Instead, there was a truck unloading sand for the beach.

“When I saw the sand truck I realized that they were businessmen in town and I felt that I could leave Molly and it would be okay.”

But Magi never saw Molly again. The police investigation focused on the man in the white car.  The sand truck driver had seen a similar car in the parking lot just moments before Molly and Magi arrived. On the other side of the pond is a cemetery. A worker there also saw a white car later the same morning. A path leads from the graveyard to the swimming hole. Molly’s father suspects this is where his daughter was abducted:

“It’s my fear that this person parked at that path, went to the pond and had taken Molly through that path, into his car and out of the cemetery and down the road.”

A composite sketch based on Magi’s description produced no solid leads. Desperate for information, Magi took action:

“We came up with the idea that an e-mail chain would be a wonderful explosive way to make more than one person, you know, get this picture, and keep sharing it with others.” 

More than 35,000 people were e-mailed pictures of Molly. A web site devoted to finding her received thousands of hits. But a year passed without a single solid lead.

Magi contacted a sketch artist, Jeanne Boylan, who had worked on the Unabomber and Polly Klaas cases. Jeanne agreed to try to create a more accurate drawing of the man in the white car. For nine hours, the two women chatted as Jeanne carefully sketched a portrait. Finally, the drawing was complete. But Magi still felt something was missing, and Jeanne worked hard to render it:

“I stayed up fairly late that night using my own hand as a model, creating the image of the hand holding the cigarette and then added that to the drawing. And I think that was just sort of the finishing touch that really brought everything into focus.”

The drawing unnerved Magi Bish:

“When I saw the completed picture with the cigarette I had instant fear. I mean, it was him. You know, the eyes. It was this cockiness. It was this look.”

Update:

Three years after Molly Bish disappeared, her remains were found about five miles from Warren Pond. The case remains open and active. The police have no suspects, just several persons of interest. There is a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever took the life of Molly Bish.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season twelve with Robert Stack and in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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29 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I grew up in warren, molly was several years older than me so I never really knew her personally. My sister and I were swimming at the pond the day she was abducted. We were interviewed by police, and we didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, other than the fact that there was no lifeguard. The whole town was never really the same after that, and I still remember seeing her mother at a vigil a few days afterwards and giving her the biggest hug and crying with her. Somebody out there knows something!

    Reply

  2. Anonymous

    Had to read up on this case, as it was brought to my attention by a stranger, with a hammer, in their hand yesterday, around sunset time. There can be many comments made, however the one posted by “Johnny,” is the comment that makes the most sense. In briefly reviewing some information, did the DNA that was looked at last summer, confirm anything. Just remaining aware for my own safety. Yet, as was said to my by another: “if anyone, anyone, brings up the Molly Bisch case, start walking. They never found who did this.”

    Reply

  3. Rae

    I find it very odd Molly worte to Holly’s family about how she was sorry and wired things when their daughter went missing and killed in about the same area. And say something along the lines in her letter that she hoped they found her body. Very odd. Then six yrs later Molly is taken. And both the Stranger brother’s were very close in each case. And dipped out after Molly’s murder. One report says on brother was homeless living in the woods another says they lived down town by the Y where she hung out. It’s all very humbled which is it? All the same three men have been indicated in Holly and Molly’s deaths. Someone has to know something other then the dead gf sister……

    Reply

  4. Irma

    The person who took this child must of had some sort of weapon, cause she had a radio and did not use it, or she could have been a distance from her radio which made it impossible to call for help. so the only thing we have is a picture. I wonder if the police took her items and check for finger prints. It sounded like the item were layed out in fine order.

    Reply

  5. Nicole

    I lived in Warren at the time Molly was kidnapped, and I remember how my siblings and I were no longer allowed to even play in our backyard without adult supervision. Such a sad story, and all of the suspects in the case have already died. Recently, a private investigator found a pair of weathered, tattered boxers under a log in the woods near Palmer that match the boxers Molly was wearing when she disappeared. As of right now, only 26 of her bones have been retrieved along with her bathing suit, so DNA will be hard to pick up. Hopefully the family finds closure, thanks to new advances in forensic science.

    Reply

  6. Brad

    Do they know how she was murdered(shot,stabbed,beaten,strangled)? Was she raped? Surely if she was raped there would of been DNA. Not much info out there known to the public

    Reply

    • Emily

      All that was found of Molly’s body were some bones and a very badly weathered bathing suit. Even if there was DNA by the time they found it, it would have been destroyed.

      Reply

  7. Bryan

    Such a sad case. Any updates or DNA evidence? I pray for this family

    Reply

  8. LUIS FREEH

    DID SHE *NOT* HAVE A BOOIE! ( THAT DARK ORANGE FLOATATION DEVICE WITH A ROPE AND STRAP! SHE COULD GAVE EASILY SMACKED THE PERSON IN TTHE HEAD KNOCKING THE OUT WITH IT! WEAR IS IT? TWO ABDUCTOR’S/MURDERER’S ATLEAST!

    Reply

  9. Anonymous

    My nana gets a phone call from her ex any time Molly bish or holly a case is on the news or on the anaversiry of their murders.

    Reply

  10. Nancy

    How my heart breaks for the Bish family after all these years. What happened to Molly is so sad. The only joy is knowing that in death, her parents will reunite with her. But in the meantime, it is so important that this does not happen to anyone again. I think this problem will increase because of websites devoted to garbage out there. Don’t put ideas into the heads of the sickos out there. Stop Internet porn !! We are floating ideas out there that will encourage people with sick minds.

    Reply

  11. Anonymous

    Who do you contact if you have a tip

    Reply

  12. Johnny

    This case should never have happened. Molly was failed at several turns. Don’t understand why the employers would put a 15 year old girl by herself in this isolated Warren Pond location. She probably received a small salary. They could have teamed Molly with a male life guard. Safety in numbers and they could have worked together. There should be a police officer stationed there or guard on site to help with fights or thefts that could occur in these areas. Maggie protected her daughter and tried to scare off the man but should have demanded the employers had a guard or police presence at the pond. Her intuition was right. Molly should still be alive instead she was a victim of a predator. Maybe, the killer would have abducted the male life guard too if there was another one working there…It would have been tougher to control 2 people. Hope Molly’s killer is captured and case solved soon.

    Reply

    • Kathy

      Johnny – I, too, wondered why those in charge would allow a 15 year old girl to work by herself in such an isolated location. There should have been 2 or even 3 other people working with her. Who would have thought though…

      Reply

  13. Dwava

    State of mass was so scared when this hit … I remember parents locking there kids up for the rest of that season including my own mom…. So sad

    Reply

  14. jen

    she didn’t drive away that day. she stayed until the man left, but I agree…I would totally blame myself, all the way to my own grave.

    Reply

  15. Cali

    What mother would leave her daughter alone with a suspicious person parked there and drive off and leave her in that creepy lake with no one around ? If I was mom I would blame my self to my grave. Have to daughters my self and son and shame on you blame yourself .She says how she did not want to leave her with this man ? How she stared at him to scare him what ? how she walked her and when she came back he was still there o so drive off good choice . The way she explained how she felt about the man makes no sense sounds like she made it up so she would not look stupid for driving away.

    Reply

    • Demollysher

      When she left she Molly the day of the abduction the man was no longer there. How was the mom to know that he would return. Nobody even knows for sure still if it was him. The mother shouldn’t be blaming herself and people like you who just want to break her even more should go do other things with their lives because this mother has been through the unthinkable and you could not understand her pain unless you too have lost a child.

      Reply

    • sue smith

      Do you not think this mother is already sick with remorse? Shame on you for such an extreme level of cruelty and lack of empathy. I feel for your children having a mother with such a sharp and nasty tongue. SHAME ON YOU!

      Reply

    • Anonymous

      She didn’t leave her. She waited till he left. Watch what you say. I know this family. You have no clue what they have been through. Shame on you. She didn’t leave Molly there alone with that man.

      Reply

  16. hebry

    There is a 15 min session with molly bush on YouTube she came threw a ghost box search for para ghosters YouTube page

    Reply

  17. Brenda

    This is such a sad case. I remember watching the story on, I believe, ID TV. I hope the family is healing and in a better place.

    Reply

  18. grahamclayton