This week New England Nightmare spotlights the murder of 34-year-old Joanne Presti and her 12-year-old daughter Alyssa.
Jan. 7, 2004, in Woburn, Mass., and Presti and her daughter are found dead in their own home, Presti’s 2-year-old son is found alive in his cot. He’s dehydrated but otherwise unharmed, whilst his mom and sister have been brutally murdered. Presti had been beaten and stabbed to death and her daughter stabbed in the neck, further investigation also revealed that Presti had been raped.
Initially police interviewed Presti’s landlord, her friends and the men who’d fathered her three children, but they turned up no lead until they came across some undeveloped film in her house. When it was developed one of the photos included 41-year-old Michael Bizanowicz, who had a criminal record and was a Level 3 sex offender.
Bizanowicz was a registered sex offender and rated at the highest risk of reoffending but as he was just visiting his girlfriend in Woburn he was not obliged to let anyone know. He had been seeing Presti’s good friend and lived on the same street as the mother of three.
Further investigation matched his DNA to sperm found on Presti and police found a suicide note and a rope in his truck, the rope matched fibres found on Presti.
Bizanowicz was found guilty and given a life sentence, with the sentence being upheld after his appeal in 2011. The case also prompted changes in the law requiring sex offenders to have to register their secondary addresses on the register.
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