Andre Rand


Andre Rand

"my own words aka the dribbler lmfao"
A.K.A.: "The Pied Piper of Staten Island"

Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Pedophile
Number of victims: 1 - 4
Date of murders: 1972 - 1987
Date of arrest: July 1987
Date of birth: March 11, 1944
Victims profile: Jennifer Schweizer, 12 / Alice Pereira, 5 / Holly Hughes, 7 / Tiahese Jackson, 10
Method of murder: ???
Location: New York County, USA
Status: Sentenced to 25 years to life, 1989

Born Andre Rashan, in 1943, the "Pied Piper of Staten Island" employed various pseudonyms to cover his movements and criminal activities through the years.

Between 1966 and '68, using the last name "Bruchette," he worked as a physical therapy aide at New York's Willowbrook State School - later renamed the Staten Island Development Center.

On May 5, 1969, he was arrested in the South Bronx for kidnapping and attempting to rape a nine-year-old girl. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge of sexual abuse, he served sixteen months in prison, winning parole in January 1972.

Back on the street, Rashan legally changed his name to "Rand," logging three more arrests by the end of the decade for "minor" offenses, including burglary. Along the way, his name was linked with disappearances of several children.

Rand was working as a painter at a South Beach, Staten Island, apartment house when five-year-old Alice Pereira vanished from one of the flats in 1972, but officers were short on solid evidence required for an indictment. Nine years later, in July 1981, Rand was hauled in for questioning in the disappearance of seven-year-old Holly Hughes, from Port Richmond, and once more he was released for lack of evidence.

On January 9, 1983, Rand collected eleven children from West Brighton, loaded them into a van, and set off on a five-hour jaunt into Newark, neglecting to ask parental permission.

They spent the day eating hamburgers and watching planes land at Newark airport, and while none of the children were harmed, Rand was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment, convicted in March and sentenced to ten months in jail. He was back on the street by August, listed as a suspect when ten-year-old Tiahese Jackson vanished on Staten Island. No trace of the three missing girls had been found by July 9, 1987, when 12-year-old Jennifer Schweizer disappeared from her home at Westerleigh.

A victim of Downe's syndrome, Jennifer was traced to the grounds of the deserted Staten Island Development Center, where Rand had been living for several years in a makeshift shelter of his own design. Witnesses reported seeing Rand with Jennifer the day she disappeared, and after some preliminary questions, he was charged with her kidnapping on August 4, held without bail pending a psychiatric evaluation.

Eight days later, Schweizer's body was unearthed from a shallow grave, within sight of Rand's lean-to, and a charge of murder in the first degree was added to his file.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans

'Hannibal Lecter of Staten Island'

Sex fiend trial revisits '80s case

By Heidi Evans -

Sunday, September 8th 2002

"You know me and [Ted] Bundy are alike in many ways. We both used Volkswagens. Bundy's thing was women. My thing is kids. . . . Do you think the police could figure that out?"

- Andre Rand, convicted child kidnapper and suspected serial killer in conversation with inmates.

As America agonizes over a wave of horrific child abductions and murders this summer, prosecutors are targeting a Staten Island deviant suspected of killing at least four young girls and two women.

Andre Rand, a 58-year-old drifter and sex offender, is serving 25 years to life for kidnapping 12-year-old Jennifer Schweiger, whose nude body was found in 1987 in a shallow grave near Rand's campsite on the abandoned grounds of the Willowbrook state mental facility.

Although Rand has been in prison for 12 years, he still casts a large and disturbing shadow over the borough.

"I call him the Hannibal Lecter of Staten Island," said Donna Cutugno, president of Friends of Jennifer for Missing Children, a volunteer group that began the community search for Schweiger and still searches Willowbrook's 385 acres twice a year looking for the other girls.

"He terrified a whole community. He still haunts us."

New trial

Tomorrow, pretrial hearings are scheduled to begin in a Staten Island courtroom, where Rand will stand trial for the kidnapping of Holly Ann Hughes, who disappeared 20 years ago when she was just 7.

Prosecutors and detectives have reinterviewed witnesses from two decades ago - some under hypnosis - and say they have pieced together key evidence that eluded them in 1981 when Holly was last seen at a local deli buying a bar of soap on the night of July 15. Police said witnesses saw Rand's green Volkswagen circling the area on that night. Although he was questioned by police and his car was searched at the time, he was not arrested or charged.

"There has always been a nagging thought about the other allegations about him and the other missing children," said Staten Island District Attorney William Murphy last week. "I thought it was important enough to take a deeper look at these cases and do another prosecution."

Law enforcement authorities have long suspected Rand in the kidnappings of two additional girls: Tiahease Jackson, 10, who disappeared Aug. 13, 1983, in Mariner's Harbor after buying chicken wings at a store 2 miles north of Willowbrook; and Alice Pereira, 5, who disappeared on July 10, 1972, near her apartment in the New Dorp section, several miles southeast of Willowbrook. He also has been linked to the disappearance of Ethel Atwell and the rape and murder of Shin Lee, both Willowbrook aides.

But Murphy said only the Hughes case got stronger in recent years, and prosecutors won an indictment from a grand jury last year.

At least 10 people are expected to testify at his trial about seeing him with or near the outgoing and smiling girl who lived with her mother at the time. Moreover, officers and inmates from Auburn Correctional Facility are expected to testify they heard Rand tell fellow inmates: "Kids entice me"; compare himself to Ted Bundy, the notorious serial female killer who was executed in 1989, and ask another inmate who was looking at a pornographic book, "How could I get a book like that with kids?"

Just 'boasting'

In court papers, Rand's lawyer, Duane Felton, dismissed his client's comments as "vague utterances more in the nature of pretentious prison boasting."

"Why would anyone boast about such things, let alone while incarcerated?" said Staten Island Assistant District Attorney Mario Mattei, the lead prosecutor in the Holly Ann Hughes case. "He's a pedophile who abducts young girls to have sex with them."

Mattei, whose hurdle at trial will be the 20-year time lapse, said he couldn't let the case rest.

"When you look at Rand's past, and there is a fresh case to be made against him, I couldn't imagine letting him get away with what we believe he did to this innocent little girl, Holly Ann Hughes. We think he should be accountable."

Holly Ann's father, Peter Hughes, a retired dockworker, still carries a photo in his wallet of the precocious little girl who loved singing Billy Joel's song "My Life" and going out for pizza.

"There is not a day that goes by . . . " he said, choking back tears. "She was just a beautiful little child."

Hughes said he was surprised when detectives came to his home in 1998 saying they had new leads in his daughter's disappearance.

"It's upsetting to go through again, but it was a good thing to happen. Andre Rand is an evil, evil person. I don't think he will ever say where her remains are so we will never be able to put my daughter to rest. But hopefully he will be convicted and put in jail for the rest of his life. The best we can hope for is that he will die in there."

He has one demand of Rand: "Let me know what you did with her!"

If Rand is not convicted in the Hughes case, he is eligible for parole in just under 10 years, on July 30, 2012, for the Schweiger kidnapping.

Rand was also charged with Schweiger's murder but in the absence of physical evidence jurors deadlocked on that charge.

Authorities at the time described Rand as a meticulous and fastidious person, who took great pains to leave no clues behind.

How he started

Rand was born Frank Rushan in Manhattan on March 11, 1944. He grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., served in the Army during the early 1960s and worked as an attendant at Willowbrook from 1966 to 1968, after which he changed his name to Andre Rand.

He had odd jobs, including his own sign-painting business on Staten Island, and lived in roominghouses, shelters and makeshift campsites on the Willowbrook grounds. People in the neighborhood described him as friendly, articulate and well read, not the retarded, drooler he feigns to be when questioned by police.

His first brush with the law was on May 25, 1969, when he enticed a 9-year-old Bronx girl into his car and drove her to a vacant lot. He removed his clothes and hers, but a passing police car interrupted the crime. Charged with attempted rape, Rand pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and was sentenced to four years. He served 16 months.

In 1979, he was accused of raping a young woman and a 15-year-old girl, but neither pressed charges.

In 1981, Rand offered a 9-year-old girl a lollipop and tried to entice her to ride in his Volkswagen. When she refused his offer, Rand followed her to her home and searched for her while she hid under a rug. No charges were filed.

And in January 1983, Rand drove to a Staten Island YMCA, enticed 11 children into his van and drove to Elizabeth, N.J., where he treated them to White Castle hamburgers. He then took them to Newark Airport, where they watched planes arrive and depart. On return to the YMCA five hours later, Rand was charged with unlawful imprisonment and served 10 months in jail.

Experts say Rand's criminal history is an anomaly because his victims are generally random strangers. Fewer than 100 cases of child abductions by nonfamily members were reported in 2001 among a population of 59 million children, according to the FBI.

With renewed national focus on these crimes, Rand offers a window into the dark psyche of criminals like himself, their methods and their madness.

"These people are typically loners and losers," said Kenneth Lanning, a retired 30-year veteran FBI agent and national expert on missing and sexually exploited children. "They prefer children to adults but lack the interpersonal skills to become a Little League coach, a teacher or a clergyman - people who easily befriend children. So they abduct young children because they are vulnerable and easy prey for them."

Lanning said at least 95% are unmarried men who have few friends, and that even in this small population of child molesters who abduct children, only a tiny fraction of those will kill their victims.

"These are the most vile and cruel of this sick population," he said.

Felton, Rand's court assigned lawyer, did not return several phone calls from the Daily News. But in court papers, he argues that his client is innocent.

His side

In an April 7 motion trying to prevent prosecutors from obtaining blood from Rand for a DNA sample, he argued that his client was "thoroughly investigated at the time. . . . His photograph was shown to persons who had seen Holly Ann Hughes shortly before her disappearance and none of them have identified [him] as having been near or with the child on July 15, 1981."

And in an affidavit filed with the court protesting press coverage of his arrest last year, Rand wrote on his own behalf - in meticulous and flowery handwriting - that he has been the victim of "a slanderous/scapegoat article resurrecting [so-called] 'notoriety,' thus encouraging hostility against plaintiff. Focusing and arousing public attention toward plaintiff from so-called 'missing persons' old cases - such persons plaintiff has never met!"

In a jailhouse interview with The News in 1987, Rand repeatedly lied to a reporter, saying he had never met Jennifer Schweiger.

He changed his story at trial only after his defense lawyer learned there were several witnesses who saw Rand with his bicycle leading the trusting little girl with Down syndrome by the hand away from her house toward the woods at Willowbrook.


MO: Pedophile slayer of young girls.

DISPOSITION: Convicted of kidnapping, 1989.

Andre Rand is taken into custody

Andre Rand is led out of state Supreme Court, St. George, in handcuffs in 2004 after the opening of his trial in the disappearance of Holly Ann Hughes.