WORCESTER — Frank Sumner, Sr. had a lengthy criminal record--20 pages long according to Worcester Co. District Attorney Joe Early--but one sexually violent case in the early eighties sent him away for 15 years.
Sumner, identified by investigators Thursday as a new “person of interest” in the unsolved 2000 murder of 16-year-old Molly Bish, was convicted in 1982 of aggrivated rape. According to court records, he held a woman against her will and sexually assaulted her.
“There was sufficient evidence concerning the defendant’s confinement of the victim in an apartment for two hours or more, after placing his automobile in a manner blocking the victim’s own vehicle in the driveway of the apartment,” court records said.
Sumner was paroled from MCI Shirley in March, 1998, a Dept. of Correction spokesperson said. Bish was killed a little more than two years later, in June, 2000.
“The more we learn about Frank Sumner the more scary it becomes but also the pieces are starting to fit together,” Molly’s sister Heather Bish said.
Heather said she first heard of Frank Sumner, Sr. three years ago, when someone came to her with a tip. Heather said she passed the information along to police, but it wasn’t until investigators received another tip several months ago that they began looking at Sumner in a different light.
“I think we’re scared, I know I am. We’re scared. I’ve been looking for this guy for a long time,” Heather said.
Sumner died in 2016 at the age of 71. Investigators said he spent time in Worcester, Leicester and Spencer, just a few miles from Warren, where Molly disappeared from.
The Bish family also sees similarities between the suspect sketch they released in 2001 and pictures of Frank Sumner, Sr.
“I think this is a very good person of interest and I’m just really hopeful that people will be forthcoming with information as they have been in the past and let us know more. Let us know everything they know about Frank Sumner,” Heather said.
Early said the case is not closed and he isn’t ruling anyone else out, but he feels this new lead could bring them closer to finding Molly’s killer.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction, yeah. I think we took a big step in the right direction,” Early said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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