Here’s where the Molly Bish case stands 20 years after her body was found

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

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early says his office is still actively investigating the murder of Molly Bish. File

Twenty years after 16-year-old Molly Bish’s body was found, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early appears optimistic about solving her murder.

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

The case so far

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

Police conducted an extensive search for the teen, but her body wasn’t found until June 9, 2003. Molly’s body was found in nearby Palmer after someone noticed a blue bathing suit in the woods which 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 a person of interest in Molly’s murder.

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 as “persuasive and credible.”

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

Francis “Frank” P. Sumner Sr. is still a person of interest in the murder of Molly Bish. – Worcester County District Attorney’s Office

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

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

Sumner fits the description Molly’s mother gave police of a suspicious man driving a white car who she saw near Comins Pond beach the day before Molly went missing.


Sumner also bears a resemblance to a sketch police made based on Molly’s mother’s description, and Molly’s family has said publicly that they’d received tips about Sumner for years before he was named a person of interest.

On the left, a photo of Molly Bish murder suspect Francis P. Sumner Sr. On the right, a sketch of Bish’s potential abductor. – Worcester County District Attorney’s office.

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

What police are doing now

This year, Early said, police identified a “significant number of items of evidence” that could be tested or retested thanks to new scientific advancements. State Police detectives are in the process of assessing evidence that can be reanalyzed, he said.

Early said his office still regularly receives tips about Molly’s case, calling the tip line “very active.” He encourages anyone who might 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 40-, 30- and 20-year-old cases,” he said. “…These cases are not ‘cold’ cases, sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust.”


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