Losing a loved one is never easy. The unspeakable pain of grief can be hard to ever move past completely. But, having a loved one’s life taken from them by the hands of another is even more unimaginable.

That was the reality for two families in England for nearly four decades. This cold case sat for 37 years until one day a simple Facebook search brought the entire crime back into the light…

Penny Farmer, a journalist from Oxfordshire, England, was haunted for decades by the disappearance of her brother and his girlfriend.

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In late 1977, Chris Farmer and his girlfriend, Peta Frampton, left England to travel the world. They started by flying to Australia, then to California, Mexico, and ended up in Belize.

Courtesy of Penny Farmer via BBC

They wrote letters to their families back home updating them on their travels. When they got to Belize, in July 1978, they sent a letter informing them that they were going to sail to Honduras with an American they met named Dwayne and his two sons (below).

Courtesy of Penny Farmer via BBC

Weeks turned into months as the Farmers and Framptons waited to hear more. They began to worry, so they contacted the harbor master in Belize who confirmed that Chris and Peta left port on a boat called the Justin B, but with a captain under the name of Silas Boston.

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They were also told that the boat returned, but Chris and Peta were not with them. Confused, they contacted Honduras officials and learned that their visas were never used to enter the country. The U.K. Foreign Office was contacted and an international investigation began.

Several months passed with no leads until they were finally able to track down Boston, the boat captain, in Sacramento, California. The British Consulate General questioned him, but he claimed to have no idea where Chris and Peta were.

Unable to prove his involvement with the disappearance, officials had no choice but to let him walk. The Farmers and Framptons refused to give up as they waited for justice to be served.

Finally, in early 1979, they received the news they were dreading the whole time. Fishermen off the coast of Guatemala had reported pulling two corpses from the Caribbean Sea.

Sarah Calhoun

Guatemalan officials used dental records to help prove the two bodies were, in fact, the remains of Chris Farmer and Peta Frampton.

Further investigation by the Guatemalan government never happened. The Justin B was never swabbed for evidence, and Boston’s two sons were never questioned. Silas Boston seemed to vanish from thin air and the case went cold.

There was nothing more to do but try to move on with their lives. Penny did her best, pursuing a career in journalism in the hopes that she could help other people solve mysteries in their own lives. 

Dead in the Water by Penny Farmer / Facebook

But she never forgot her brother. In fact, she held onto the name Silas Boston until one day she had an idea that might help her track down the man she believed was responsible.

Russell Farmer

While on Facebook one day she decided to punch in his name, and to her surprise, her search returned a hit. There was a reason she didn’t give up all hope nearly four decades ago, after all! This cold case had a new lead.

 She found a 74-year-old’s profile in a California nursing home. She recalled that his profile picture had serial killer written all over it.

BBC

Penny contacted officials who reopened the case and tracked down Boston’s two sons, Vince and Russell. Vince was already testifying in California regarding the disappearance of Boston’s third wife, and he had no issue sharing what he knew about that fateful day on the boat with his father…

Dead in the Water by Penny Farmer / Facebook

Vince stated that Chris and Peta tried to defend him and his brother when Boston became angry and abusive. Out of anger, Boston beat the couple, tied them up, and then threw them overboard with weights to make sure that they would drown.

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Silas Boston was arrested for suspicion of murder. But he was smart. His organs were failing and only medicine could keep him alive. He refused care and died before his trial could begin. 

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Penny, feeling conflicted with the outcome of the case, wanted to learn more about the life of Silas Boston and why he killed her brother and his girlfriend. She interviewed witnesses from various countries as well as Russell (pictured below).

Courtesy of Penny Farmer via BBC

She learned, through Russell, that Boston confided in him about committing 33 total murders over the course of his life. If this is true, then Boston was one of the most prolific serial killers of all time in America.

She compiled all of her research into a book titled, Dead in the Water. She recounts Chris and Peta’s life and their untimely deaths. She hopes her words stand as a memorial in their honor. They had “so much more to give.”

Dead in the Water by Penny Farmer / Facebook

Unfortunately, Silas Boston never suffered the consequences for the crimes he committed. Penny is finished with her research, but she has helped open the door for others to dive deeper because, in just the blink of an eye, your entire life can change.

Which is exactly what happened On June 27, 2000, when Massachusetts teen, Molly Bish, showed up the local pond to start her shift as a lifeguard. Twenty minutes later, a woman and her children arrived at the pond to find that the lifeguard had vanished. 

It was highly uncharacteristic for Molly to disappear. She loved the summertime—and she loved swimming. That’s why she didn’t mind offering up her Saturdays to train for her summer job at Comins Pond. She had just finished her junior year in high school, and she was excited about what the future would hold.

On the day of her disappearance, Molly’s mother, Magi, dropped her off at the pond. She said that the parking lot was totally empty. She would never forget the sight of Molly waving goodbye in the rearview mirror…

When Sandra Woodworth and her kids arrived at the ponds minutes later, Molly was gone. “The first aid kit was wide open,” Sandra recalled. “Backpack was on the beach, her towel was draped over the back of the chair, sandals were in front, the Poland Springs water bottle was right there. But there was no Molly.”

Molly’s boss, Ed Fetr, arrived at the pond as quickly as he could once he heard that his lifeguard was gone. He knew immediately that he had to call the police and Molly’s family. The police assumed she had ditched work to hang out with friends, but everyone who’d ever met Molly knew that she would never do something like that.

“She took her work very seriously,” said Molly’s sister, Heather. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that she would have done anything to jeopardize that.” Molly’s mother agreed, saying, “She would never just leave her job. We knew it.”

Once the policed realized that Molly was likely not playing hooky, they began to fear that she had drowned. Again, Molly’s family disagreed. Molly hated the slimy feel of the bottom of the lake and never went in without her sandals, which had been found on the shore.

Before long, the state police were called in to help solve the disappearance. There weren’t a lot of clues besides the open first aid kit. Had someone feigned injury to catch Molly off-guard? Whatever happened, it started the biggest hunt for a missing person the New England state had ever seen.

While the police began their search for Molly, Magi revealed her own fears about what had happened to her daughter. She said a strange man with a mustache had been lurking around the pond’s parking lot the day before and she suspected the worst.

Magi took her fears to the police, who weren’t surprised. You see, Magi wasn’t the first person to mention this stranger to them. Several other witnesses had reported that the man, who had been driving a white sedan, made them uneasy.

The police were able to put together a sketch of the man with the help of Magi’s mom and other witnesses. They described him as being between 45 and 50 with graying hair. They even offered a $100,000 reward, but no one came forward.

The police began researching local sex offenders and initially thought Oscar Baillargeon might be a suspect. He was a convicted rapist who admitted that he had once met Molly. However, Magi’s mom and the other witnesses could not identify him as the man they had seen.

The police hit a dead end. For three years, there was no activity on the case… that is until Tim McGuigan got involved. A former cop, Tim had a passion for working on missing person cases in his spare time, and Molly’s story had captivated him.

His investigation turned up something that would change everything. Tim interviewed a local man named Ricky Beaudreau, who mentioned that he had been hunting on Whiskey Hill just five miles from the pond where Molly vanished. While he was there, he had spotted a torn blue bathing suit.

Together, Tim and Ricky returned to Whiskey Hill to see if the bathing suit was still there. They didn’t want to get their hopes up, but they couldn’t help but feel excited when they discovered it was where Ricky had remembered it. They recruited a search party; tragically, one week later, they found a human arm bone.

More bones were discovered, and on June 9, 2003—almost three full years after her disappearance—the police confirmed that the remains were, indeed, Molly’s. Her family was heartbroken, but they were relieved to be able to put Molly to rest. However, they would not stop searching until her killer was found.

As the hunt for Molly’s killer continued, police began to suspect that her abduction and murder were linked to the August 5, 1993 abduction of 10-year-old Holly Piirainen, whose remains were found in the woods just months after she went missing.

In 2009, the police interviewed Florida resident Rodney Stanger, believing he might have been the one who committed these heinous crimes. He owned a white sedan and his appearance was almost identical to the description of the mysterious man given by witnesses so many years before.

Then, in 2011, the police identified another suspect. The man’s name was Gerald Battistoni, and while he was in jail for rape, he had been in the area when Molly was killed. Unfortunately, he died in 2014 without being charged.

The Bish family is still on the hunt for Molly’s killer. Her sister, Heather—now a mother—said, “I don’t know where this person is. Is he watching us? Is he going to come back for my daughter? Is he dangerous? Is he around? And could he do it again?”