The parents of Molly Bish issued a statement Friday following a major break in the 21-year-old cold case murder earlier this week.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. announced Thursday that they are investigating a "person of interest" in connection with the murder of the 16-year-old lifeguard who vanished from her post at a Comins Pond in Warren in 2000.
"Our hearts are heavy with our loss and the reality of what may have happened to our daughter, but we are hopeful that there will be resolution and that no one else will ever be harmed," Magi and John Bish said in their statement. "We are proud of Molly’s legacy of keeping children safe, advocating for families, and we feel it most strongly right now, reflected in our community."
"Thank you to those brave people who provided tips and information to the detectives. We recognize how hard and scary that can be," they added. "Our community took action on June 27, 2000 and they have not stopped supporting our search for the person responsible for hurting our Molly. You have buoyed us. When they say, it takes a village to raise a child, our village in Warren, Massachusetts has carried our broken hearts, and now helps us heal. We are so grateful for each and everyone of you. Thank you."
Francis “Frank” P. Sumner Sr., who died in 2016, is now being investigated in the 2000 murder after investigators recently received new information, the district attorney said.
Sumner, born in 1945, was active in the central Massachusetts area from 1960 through 2016, according to investigators. He was known to operate auto repair shops in the Spencer, Leicester and Worcester areas. Sumner lived in Spencer before his death.
Investigators said they are still seeking tips from the public about Sumner’s employment practices, associates, vehicles, travel and any known habits.
Molly Bish was a resident of Warren and her disappearance set off a massive search.
Her remains were found about 5 miles away in 2003 in the woods of Whiskey Hill in nearby Palmer.