WARREN, Mass. — A new person of interest has been named in the murder of Molly Bish, the 16-year-old whose disappearance from Comins Pond in Warren in June of 2000 sparked a massive search, according to the Worcester County District Attorney.
That person of interest has been identified as Francis ‘Frank’ Sumner Sr. of Spencer, Mass. Sumner died in 2016.
Bish was a lifeguard at Comins Pond and a Warren resident when she disappeared from the area on June 27, 2000. Her remains were found three years after her disappearance near the woods of Whiskey Hill in Palmer, Mass.
“Sumner […] is being investigated in the 2000 murder of the 16-year-old after investigators recently received new information,” the DA’s office wrote Thursday. “Sumner, born in 1945, was active in the Central Massachusetts area from 1960 through 2016. He was known to operate auto repair shops in the Spencer, Leicester and Worcester areas.”
And while there will be no justice in the case with Sumner dead, Bish’s family said there may be closure.
“It’s just been a whirlwind,” said Heather Bish, Molly’s sister.
“I am really feeling like this could be the guy.”
Investigators said Sumner’s record is 20 pages long, a violent man who served prison time for his crimes.
“The more we learn about Frank Sumner the more scary it becomes, but also the pieces are starting to fit together,” Heather Bish said.
One year after Molly was killed, the Bish family released a composite sketch of the suspected killer, as seen below.
“I believe so,” said Worcester DA Joseph Early when asked if Sumner resembled the suspect sketched. “If you look, it’s the same hair style, left-handed smoker. There are a lot of things that are similar.”
DA Early said that someone came forward several month ago with a tip that implicated Sumner in the Bish case.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction,” DA Early said. “I think we took a big step in the right direction.”
“I’m grateful because my parents won’t have to deal with the court case or trial and have to hear some really egregious things that might have happened to Molly, but I would have liked to have faced him myself,” Heather Bish said of Sumner.
Anyone with information on Sumner or anything involved in the Molly Bish case is asked to call the State Police’s anonymous tip line at (508) 453-7575.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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