Metro

Some famous Mass. unsolved mysteries, cold cases

In the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 13 prized works were stolen.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

In the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 13 prized works were stolen.

Robert Durst was arrested Monday and will face murder charges in a 15-year-old cold case after he muttered he “killed them all, of course’’ in the finale of a six-part HBO documentary. Authorities hope the development will lead to a conviction of Durst, who was acquitted of one murder and long suspected in two others over three decades in three states.

The arrest also comes near the 25th anniversary of one of Massachusetts’ biggest unsolved mysteries: The 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in which 13 prized works were stolen. Over the years, the case has spawned thousands of false leads, prompting investigators to hunt the art from Boston to Japan, Ireland to France. On the 25th anniversary of the theft, take a

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Here’s a look back at some other unsolved mysteries and cold cases that haunt Massachusetts.

1961 — The disappearance of Joan Risch

Neighbors (right) walked by the home where Joan Risch vanished in Lincoln, Mass., in 1961.

Globe/ File photos

Neighbors (right) walked by the home where Joan Risch vanished in Lincoln in 1961.

The socialite disappeared from her home in Lincoln on Oct. 24, 1961, leaving behind a phone ripped from the wall, a phone book open to the emergency numbers section, and a trail of blood leading from the kitchen to the end of the driveway. The investigation remains unresolved to this day.

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> > Read more.

1962 — Plymouth Mail Truck Robbery

At the time, it was the single largest cash heist in history, a whopping $1.5 million in unmarked bills pulled from a mail truck on its way to the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. Its sheer magnitude, combined with the apparent skill of the robbers, made the Plymouth Mail Truck Robbery a national story in the summer of 1962. The money was never recovered, and to this day, the crime remains unsolved. > > Read more.

1974 — Lady of the Dunes

Provincetown Police Chief James Meads with the skull of the unidentified murder victim in 1987.

Stephen Rose/Globe photo/File

Provincetown Police Chief James Meads with the skull of the unidentified murder victim in 1987.

In July 1974, the badly decomposed body of the so-called Lady of the Dunes was found about a mile east of Provincetown’s Race Point Beach by a little girl walking her beagle. Her hands were amputated, and she had been nearly decapitated. At the time — and in the decades since then —police have periodically appealed for the public’s help in identifying the woman. > > Read more.

1982 — Judith Chartier vanishes

Police investigated the previous home of Judith Ann Chartier in 2012.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/File

Police investigated the previous home of Judith Ann Chartier in 2012.

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In the early morning hours of June 5, 1982, 21-year-old Judy Chartier of Chelmsford dropped her boyfriend off at his house after a party and drove toward her home on the next street. Neither she nor the 1977 black Dodge she was driving were seen again. > > Read more.

1993 — The Holly Piirainen murder

An undated family handout photo of Holly Piirainen.

AP/File

An undated family handout photo of Holly Piirainen.

The 10-year-old disappeared after she and her brother went to a neighbor’s house in Sturbridge to play with puppies. Her brother returned without her, and all that was found that summer afternoon was one of the girl’s red shoes. Three months later on Oct. 23, 1993, hunters found her skeletal remains in Brimfield, 5 miles from where she was last seen. > > Read more.

1996 — The Karina Holmer case

Slain Swedish nanny Karina Holmer

AP/File

Slain Swedish nanny Karina Holmer

The Swedish nanny’s body was sawed in half in a highly publicized slaying in 1996. The slaying of Holmer, a 20-year-old whose upper torso was found in a Fenway dumpster, riveted the city and perplexed investigators. > > Read more

2000 — The slaying of Molly Bish

Molly Bish

Handout

Molly Bish

Bish, a lifeguard, vanished from Comins Pond in Warren on June 27, 2000. The 16-year-old’s remains were found three years later in a wooded area not far from the pond. The Bish family’s search for answers in her murder continues. > > Read more.

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