Person of interest named in the 2000 cold-case murder of teenager Molly Bish

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Source: Massachusetts State Police

Jun. 4 2021, Published 5:02 p.m. ET

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Authorities have identified a person of interest in the cold-case murder Molly Bish in Massachusetts nearly 21 years ago, prosecutors said.

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Francis “Frank” P. Sumner Sr. is under investigation for the death of 16-year-old Molly Bish, who disappeared while working as a lifeguard at Comins Pond in Warren, Massachusetts, on June 27, 2000.

A hunter discovered the teenager’s remains in the woods of Whiskey Hill in Palmer almost three years later.

Detectives began looking into Sumner after they recently received new leads related to the case.

“We got information. Every tip has to be verified. The tip was verified, and as it was verified and corroborated, we got more information that led us to this point where we are today where we believe he is a person of interest — a suspect if you will,” Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early said, according to WCVB.

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“I hope that we're getting closer and I hope that we're coming to an end to this really, really tragic story,” the murder victim’s sister, Heather Bish, told the station. “I believe if it's not science that's going to figure this out, it's definitely going to be someone who was brave enough to tell their story and tell their piece. And maybe it'll fit into the pieces and we'll get the whole picture and then the whole story and have a better idea of what happened to Molly.”

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Sumner, who reportedly had children around the victim’s age, operated auto repair shops and had been active in the Central Massachusetts area from 1960 until he died in 2106, prosecutors said.

Court records show Sumner had an extensive criminal past, including a conviction for the 1981 kidnapping and rape of a 21-year-old woman he lured to an apartment after she came to him to have her car fixed.

Anyone with information on Frank Sumner or anything else related to the Molly Bish case is urged to call Massachusetts State Police Detectives on the anonymous tip line at 508-453-7575.

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