Holly Piirainen: Massachusetts Murder Mystery Remains Unsolved 23 Years Later, Local Residents Still Haunted By Her Disappearance

It has been 23 years since Holly Piirainen was abducted and murdered, and the mystery surrounding her death remains unsolved to this day.

Piirainen, who was 10-years-old at the time of her murder, was last seen on August 5, 1993. Holly and her family were residents of Grafton, Massachusetts, but had been vacationing at her grandmother’s summer cottage in Sturbridge at the time of her disappearance. According to WWLP, Holly’s father was the last person to see her alive as she headed to a house on South Shore Road to play with some puppies at approximately 11:45 a.m. Piirainen never returned.

When Holly didn’t return to the cottage, her father reported her missing, and later found one of her tennis shoes. A massive search was initiated, but nothing was found. It wasn’t until two-and-a-half months later, on October 23, 1993, that Piirainen’s body was discovered by a group of hunters on Five Bridge Road in the neighboring town of Brimfield — she was only about seven miles from where she disappeared.

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of Holly’s murder, and police are hopeful they will receive new leads in the case, and her family is pleading with the public to come forward with any relevant information. Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said the police detectives who were originally assigned to Holly’s case have never stopped pursuing leads and looking for her killer. In fact, they have named several suspects, but none ever panned out. One of the suspects was the late David E. Pouliot, who was known to hunt in the area where Holly’s body was found. In 2012, the police found a connection between him and an item found near Holly’s body. Although Pouliot is not officially classified as a suspect, the district attorney’s office said he remains part of the investigation, according to Mass Live.

“The nature of the item suggests either Mr. Pouliot or people associated with him were in the area at a time relevant to the disappearance of Holly and the discovery of her remains,” Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni said in January, 2012. He added: “he is clearly someone it’s appropriate to say we need to know more about.”

“The person identified we can establish had a familiarity and in fact a connection to that very area where Holly disappeared and where her remains were found,” added Mastroianni.

According to Telegram.com, Holly’s family still remains hopeful that they will one day find out what happened to their little girl all those years ago. As they do every year, Piirainen’s family will hang posters around the area and will offer a $40,000 reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to the conviction of the person who kidnapped and murdered their daughter.

“The Piirainen family has been coping with this tragedy for 23 years,” Gulluni said in a news release. “Along with Holly’s family, members of my office and the Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the case have never stopped investigating to try to bring justice to Holly and her family. If any member of the public has any information, please contact us.”

Anyone with any information regarding Holly’s disappearance or murder is being asked to contact the Massachusetts State Police at (413) 505-5993. You can also anonymously text a tip to the police by texting to “CRIMES” (274637), and in the body of your message the word “SOLVE” followed by your tip.

[Photo by Shutterstock]