Catherine Ruth Malcolmson

Left: Catherine circa, 1985

Right: Age Progressed to age 50

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: August 13, 1985

Missing From: Stow, Middlesex County, Massachusetts

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: April 17, 1969

Age: 16 years old

Height and Weight: 5’5″ and 110 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Blue eyes, Catherine’s hair was bleached blonde at the time of her disappearance, she has a chicken pox scar on her forehead, a mole on her left cheek, as well as a dimple on her right cheek, Catherine’s ears are pierced and she may use the nickname “Cathy”

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A short sleeved striped shirt, a pair of blue jeans, two bracelets and a silver ring, Catherine was carrying a gray colored pocketbook at the time of her disappearance

NCMEC Number: 601807

Details of Disappearance

Catherine was last seen in Stow, Massachusetts on August 13th 1985 as she rode her Murray bicycle through town to reach her part time job at the IFA Supermarket. She worked as a cashier there at the time. The store was located two miles away from where she lived on Route 62 in Hudson, Massachusetts. She never made it to the store and was never seen or heard from again.

Authorities initially believed that Catherine was a runaway and investigated her case under that classification. Her family never believed she would have runaway. She was in good spirits on the day she vanished, her older brother was graduating from school and a party would be occurring later that day. She would also be getting first pay check from her workplace that day. Authorities later admitted it was unlikely that Malcolmson left on her own accord.

Catherine’s bicycle was located by a motorist in a wooded area 2 years after her disappearance in 1987. It was found in a wooded area along Gleasondale Road off route 62. It was 500 yards away from the Stow Town Line. The man was unaware of the origin of the bike and gave it to a friend who suspected it to belong to the missing girl so he turned it over to authorities.

Searches of the location were halted by weather conditions but when they searched they found no traces of Catherine. Authorities came to suspect that foul play was involved in the case after the discovery.

Authorities believe that Catherine’s disappearance is linked to the 1985 abduction and murder of 9 year old Sarah Pryor. She vanished on October 9th 1985 from the same area as Catherine. She went out for a walk in a local park and disappeared. She remained missing for 10 years until her partial remains were recovered in 1995 and identified in 1998.

Authorities have also stated that Texas serial killer, John Robert Whirty, is the prime suspect in both cases. In March of 1967, John raped and murdered 15 year old Rose Marie Martin. He served 17 years for the murder and was released in 1984. Records from Whirty’s job show that he was in the Stow area at the time of Catherine’s disappearance and witnesses placed him in his car at the area that Sarah Pryor was last seen walking in.

John would later be arrested for the attempted abduction of a woman in Newton, Massachusetts. This occurred roughly 3 months after Catherine’s disappearance and one month after Sarah’s abduction. He has not been charged with murdering either girl and he denies involvement in the Pryor case but he is the prime suspect.

Catherine’s case remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected and authorities now believe that Catherine was abducted. Her family held a memorial for her in 1992 and erected a tombstone for her in the family burial plot in Dover, New Hampshire. She has never been located.

Investigating Agency

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Stow Police Department 978-897-4545

Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network


The Baltimore Sun

True Crime Diva

MetroWest Daily News