Left and Center: Holly circa, 1981
Right: Age Progressed to age 39
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: July 15, 1981
Missing From: Staten Island, New York County, New York
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: January 23, 1974
Age: 7 years old
Height and Weight: 4’0″ and 50 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Blue eyes, Holly has red marks on the back of her neck right on her hairline
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A beige colored bathing suit, blue shorts, and beige/brown sandals
NCMEC Number: 601770
Details of Disappearance
Holly Anne Hughes was last seen in Staten Island, New York on July 15th 1981. She was last seen at approximately 9:30 pm near Richmond Terrace and Park Avenue. Her mother sent her to the Port Richmond Deli to buy a bar of Ivory soap and she was last seen as she made the purchase. Holly never returned home and was never seen or heard from again.
Holly’s mother reported her missing when she never returned home. Authorities did get witness statements regarding her disappearance but they never found any evidence linking anyone to her disappearance. Holly’s family has criticized the investigation into her disappearance because many of the witness statements that authorities received were not checked because the people had criminal records. The authorities have maintained however that they did not botch the investigation in any way.
A month after Holly’s disappearance, a man who called himself “Sal” called Holly’s mother and claimed that he was holding the child captive and that he would safely return her if she performed sexual acts with him on camera. Her mother went to meet Sal at Penn Station with detectives in New York City. Holly’s mother never believed that Sal had Holly but rather that Holly has been deceased by this time.
In 2001, a mentally incompetent sexual predator named Andre Rant was charged with 1st degree kidnapping in Holly’s disappearance. Andres birth name is “Frank Rashan”. He is also a suspect in the Staten Island 1972 abduction of Alice Pereira, the 1977 disappearance of Audrey Nerenberg, the 1983 Staten Island abduction of Tiahease Jackson, the 1978 disappearance of Ethel Atwell, and the 1984 disappearance of Henry Gafforio.
All of Rande’s victims vanished from Staten Island. Authorities were able to determine that Andres aunt lived in the same apartment building as Holly in 1981. Rande was previously convicted of the 1987 abduction of 12 year old Jennifer Schweiger in Staten Island. Jennifer was murdered on the grounds of the Staten Island Development Center. The center is now defunct. Rande was never convicted of her murder because the jury could not reach a verdict on that charge.
Andre was originally questioned regarding Holly’s abduction in 1981 and authorities searched his vehicle but did not find any evidence. His former residence on Vreeland Street was searched but no evidence was found. Rande did at one point admit to playing hide n seek with Holly on the day of her disappearance and giving her money to buy the soap because she was “dirty” but says he left her before she would disappear.
Holly’s mother identified Randes voice as the one used in the ransom call and witnesses reported that they saw Andres green Volkswagen circling the area when Holly vanished and some even said they saw the child in his car. While Rande was incarcerated at prison, he bragged about his sexual exploits and some inmates testified that he confessed to kidnapping and murdering Hughes on the day she vanished. He also compared himself to serial killer Ted Bundy.
Andres attorneys stated that their client is innocent of abducting Hughes and that her family should be investigated for her disappearance. Prior to Holly’s abduction, she had been in the middle of a custody dispute between her mother and father and has been taken by both of them at one point. Holly’s parents were ruled out as suspects in the onset of her disappearance.
His attorneys also stated that the witnesses who saw Holly with Rande or who saw her at all were lying or mistaken. Despite this, Andre was convicted of 1st degree abduction in October of 2004. Due to lack of evidence, they did not charge Andre with Holly’s murder and they hadn’t found her body by that time. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime and was already serving time for Jennifer’s kidnapping. It’s unlikely that Rande will ever get out of prison.
Andre maintains his innocence of all crimes he’s suspected of. Holly has never been located but authorities believe she was abducted.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
New York City Police Department 646-610-6914
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children