Disappearance of Holly Piirainen still haunts local residents

10 year-old girl disappeared in Sturbridge on August 5, 1993

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday marks a sad anniversary in western and central Massachusetts. Grafton resident Holly Piirainnen and her family were visiting her grandmother in Sturbridge in the Summer of 1993.

Holly disappeared on her way back from a neighbor’s house to see some puppies on August 5, 1993. Hunters found her body two months later in Brimfield.

23 years later, the mystery remains: Who killed Holly Piirainen?

Decades later, her disappearance continues to haunt complete strangers.

Then-13 year-old Maire-Brighid Bresnahan of Holyoke was vacationing at a nearby campsite, when Holly’s grandparents displayed her picture; searching in vain for their missing granddaughter. “We were terrified at night, sleeping in a tent, that there was somebody out there that could have done this,” Bresnahan said.

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said that state police detectives assigned to the case have never stopped searching for Holly’s killer.

Even now, 23 years later, many here in western Massachusetts still remember. “I think about it all the time, of course, with Molly Bish, I realize that, too. It’s just all over the country, you wonder why people would do something like that to little kids,” Frank Richard of Palmer said.

Even now, District Attorney Gulluni hopes to turn evidence regarding the person who kidnapped Holly Piirainen on that August afternoon on this date, 23 years ago.

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