Monday, December 20, 2021

A Denver Christmas LP and the Mysterious Death of Bobby Bizup

There is no easy way to segue a Colorado Christmas record with the story of a suspicious death of a child, but sadly these two go hand in hand. Just giving you a heads-up that this post takes on a (very) disturbing note.

The Cathedral Choir was founded in 1912, by the late Rt. Rev. Joseph J. Bosetti (1886-1954). It was based at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception (located at 401 E. Colfax), and made up of a volunteer group of Denver-area men and boys, from Catholic parishes around the city. 

Monsignor Richard Hiester

This 1964 LP credits Monsignor Richard Hiester, who took over the group after Monsignor Bosetti passed away. The album features the voices of 64 men and boys, who perform classical Christmas selections. Vocal soloists include Mike Hannigan, William Trinnier, Rose Enevold, and Ray Kellogg. It features organist Alan Hobbs and harpist Helen Lunn. No clue on the bulldog pictured on the front cover.

Listen to "Silent Night"

Now for the horrific connection.

Rev. Hiester's name would be linked with the death of Bobby Bizup, the ten-year-old, hearing-impaired boy who went missing at Camp St. Malo, in 1958. Hiester was the camp director, at the time. While he was never implicated in the case, the death cast suspicion on other priests, who worked at the camp. To this day, nobody has been charged with a crime. Bobby's partial remains would be found, in 1959. In a bizarre twist, a skull was discovered in the possession of Tom McCloskey, the son of Dr. Joseph McCloskey – a prominent member of the Catholic Church and a close friend of the Rev. Hiester. The skull has been turned over to the FBI, which is conducting a full forensic evaluation.

Joseph McCloskey died in 1980, and Tom McCloskey said he took possession of the skull a couple of years later, unaware of its history.

Earlier this year, Denver's 9News called attention to the unsolved case, which continues to intrigue the public, 63 years later (link to 9News documentary on the case) According to the investigative report, "Father Hiester told reporters that Bobby had been fishing and had failed to follow a counselor and other boys back to the main lodge for dinner. A search party went out that night, and within days hundreds of people, aided by bloodhounds and aircraft, were in the woods looking for the boy." At the same time, National Park Service documents obtained by 9News show that "Rev. Neil Hewitt discovered the bone and piece of clothing on July 3, 1959. However, Father Hiester didn’t report it to the park service until three days later, on July 6."

Monsignor Hiester died in 1993. He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.


  1. Lisa, is this LP available for purchase. I'd love to get a copy. Pam Lunn Walters

  2. Luckily, I have a well-maintained vinyl version of this exceptional album. My intention, as a musician and record producer, is to preserve the legacy of one of the greatest boy choirs of its era. I aim to digitize the recording and prepare it for release as a compact disc in the future. The album will include original images and liner notes, serving as a companion to the choir's other album, "Camp Saint Malo Sings," which features the renowned vocalist Dennis Day.