Catherine Ruth Malcolmson

1 AP
Left: Catherine, circa 1985;
Right: Age-progression to age 44 (circa 2013)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: August 13, 1985 from Stow, Massachusetts
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: April 17, 1969
  • Age: 16 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'4 - 5'5, 110 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Catherine's hair had been bleached blonde prior to her 1985 disappearance. She has a chicken pox scar on her forehead, a mole on her left cheek and a dimple on her right cheek. Her ears are pierced. Catherine's nickname is Cathy.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A short-sleeved striped shirt, blue jeans, two bracelets and a silver ring. Carrying a gray pocketbook.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Catherine was last seen riding her Murray bicycle in her hometown of Stow, Massachusetts. She headed to her part-time job as a supermarket cashier at the IGA store two miles away, on Route 62 in Hudson, Massachusetts. She was reportedly in good spirits; her brother had just graduated high school and there was going to be a celebration later. She has never been heard from again.

    Catherine's case was first classified as a runaway, but authorities later admitted that she had probably not left of her own accord. She left her first paycheck behind at her workplace. Her family never believed she ran away. Her bicycle was located in 1987, nearly two years after her disappearance. A motorist located the bicycle in a wooded area along Gleasondale Road off of Route 62, about 500 yards past the Stow town line. The man did not know whose bicycle it was and gave it to a friend, who suspected it belonged to Catherine and contacted police. Searches of the location were delayed several times due to inclement weather, and no evidence related to Catherine's whereabouts was discovered.

    Authorities believe Catherine's case may be connected to the 1985 abduction and murder of Sarah Pryor, who vanished from the same Massachusetts area two months after Catherine's disappearance. A photograph of her is posted below this case summary.

    John Robert Whirty has been considered the prime suspect in both girls' cases. He served seventeen months in a Texas prison for the 1967 murder of a fifteen-year-old girl. After being released from prison he moved to Massachusetts. Records from his job place him in the area at the time Catherine disappeared, but there has never been any evidence to link him to her or Pryor's case. Whirty is currently back in prison in Texas for parole violation, which stems from the kidnapping and assault of a Newton, Massachusetts woman which occurred three months after Catherine's disappearance and one month after Pryor's murder.

    Foul play is suspected in Catherine's case due to the circumstances involved. Seven years after her disappearance, her family held a memorial service for her and erected a tombstone at the family burial plot in Dover, New Hampshire.

    Pryor
    Above: Sarah Pryor

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Stow Police Department
    978-897-4545

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    Child Protection Education Of America
    The Boston Globe
    Nation's Missing Children Organization
    California Attorney General's Office
    Child Seek Network
    The Worcester Telegram and Gazette

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated July 1, 2013; age-progression updated.

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