David E. Pouliot, deceased, of Springfield, Mass., has been linked to the crime scene

An unsolved 1993 homicide case involving a 10-year-old Grafton girl was the subject of a press conference last week hosted by Hampden County District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni. The conference was held to update the public on a case involving Holly Piirainen, who was abducted and murdered.

In the spring of 2011, Mastroianni informed State Police and other detective bureaus that evidence in unsolved homicide cases would be reviewed to see if a new forensic or scientific examination would be helpful. Holly Piirainen’s case was one of them. New testing revealed that an item found at the time when Holly’s remains were discovered bore an “indisputable identification” to a person who had a connection with the crime scene area.

According to Mastroianni, David E. Pouliot of Springfield, Mass., was linked to the item at the crime scene. Pouliot died on Aug. 16, 2003 and is not a suspect, officials said. While he’s not a suspect, police are still interested in hearing from the public in case anyone had interacted with Pouliot from 1993 to 2003. Photographs of Pouliot were released.

“Developing as much information as possible about David Pouliot, with the assistance of the public, is vital to fully follow up on this new lead,” said Mastroianni. “The nature and character of the item tested, as well as its condition and location upon discovery, suggests Pouliot and/or persons associated with him were in the immediate crime scene area at a time relevant to Holly’s disappearance and the location of her remains. All evidence and leads previously developed in this case are now being evaluated with consideration given to this new forensic development. Review of all items for further forensic analysis continues to be part of this ongoing investigation.”

The victim, 10-year-old Holly Piirainen

On Aug. 5, 1993, Holly’s father, Richard Piirainen, reported Holly missing around 12:50 p.m. The girl was on vacation with him and other family members in a Sturbridge cottage, and was last seen around 11:45 a.m. by her father. She was off to play with puppies at a home on South Shore Road. Richard Piirainen began searching for his daughter when she did not return, and he then discovered her left sneaker on South Shore Road. An extensive search by local and state police and sheriff’s departments, with help from Connecticut and Rhode Island units, did not bear results. On Oct. 23, hunters discovered Holly’s skeletal remains in a wooded area off Five Bridge Road in Brimfield. State Police photographed and investigated the scene. Any items found at and near the scene were confiscated by the State Police. Police have continued to investigate Holly’s death and disappearance, and to review evidence necessary for forensic analysis and testing.

State Sen. Stephen Brewer and State Rep. Todd Smola are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Information can be called in to the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit at 413-505-5933, or people can text-a-tip to 274637, beginning with the word “Solve.”

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