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Where does Molly Bish’s case stand 20 years after her body was discovered?


Frank Sumner Sr. is still a person of interest in the case.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early said his office is still actively investigating Molly Bish’s murder. To file

Twenty years after the body of 16-year-old Molly Bish was discovered, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early seems optimistic about solving her murder.

“Our State Police detectives, prosecutors and victim witness advocates remain committed to solving this case and bringing justice to Molly’s family,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

The case so far

Molly disappeared on June 27, 2000, after her mother dropped her off for a lifeguard shift at Comins Pond in her hometown of Warren.

Police carried out an extensive search for the teenager, but her body was not found until June 9, 2003. Molly’s body was found in nearby Palmer after someone noticed a swimsuit blue in the woods that was similar to the one she wore.

At that time, police determined that she had been abducted and killed, but no one was charged with her murder.

The next big break in Molly’s case didn’t come until 2021, when Early announced that Francis “Frank” Sumner Sr., who died in 2016 at age 71, was someone with an interest in Molly’s murder. Molly.

Frank Sumner Sr. is still a person of interest

Early said Wednesday that Sumner is still a person of interest in the case, calling the evidence that led his office to name him “persuasive and credible.”

Sumner was a longtime resident of central Massachusetts who owned and operated auto repair shops in the area. He was convicted of aggravated rape and kidnapping in 1982 after locking up a woman he had hired to clean an apartment in the apartment. He then strangled her, threatened to kill her and raped her.

Where does Molly Bish's case stand 20 years after her body was discovered?
Francis “Frank” P. Sumner Sr. is still a person of interest in Molly Bish’s murder. – Worcester County Attorney’s Office

MassLive previously reported that Sumner was considered a disreputable auto repairman in the area and had been involved in numerous civil and criminal lawsuits during his life.

WBZ-TV previously reported that Sumner faced criminal charges when he died, including failing to register as a sex offender, uttering threats, disorderly conduct and harassment.

Sumner matches the description Molly’s mother gave police of a suspicious man driving a white car she saw near the beach at Comins Pond the day before Molly disappeared.

Sumner also looks like a police sketch made based on Molly’s mother’s description, and Molly’s family have publicly stated that they received information about Sumner for years before he was named anyone. of interest.

Where does Molly Bish's case stand 20 years after her body was discovered?
On the left is a photo of Molly Bish’s murder suspect, Francis P. Sumner Sr. On the right is a sketch of Bish’s potential kidnapper. – Worcester County Attorney’s Office.

Over the years, other men have been linked to Molly’s murder, but only Sumner has ever been named a person of interest.

What are the police doing now

This year, Early said, police have identified a “significant body of evidence” that could be tested or retested thanks to new scientific advances. State Police detectives are evaluating evidence that can be reanalyzed, he said.

Early said his office still regularly receives information about Molly’s case, calling the whistleblower line “very active.” He encourages anyone who may have information about Molly’s case or Sumner to contact his office at 508-453-7575 or [email protected].

“We are doing everything we can to solve Molly’s case. We have solved cases that are 40, 30 and 20 years old,” he said. “…These cases are not ‘cold’ cases, sitting on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.”


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