missing person

New DNA testing on clothing in Molly Bish murder case could lead to long-awaited answers

The NBC10 Boston Investigators take an exclusive look at the evidence that remains in storage more than two decades after 16-year-old Molly Bish disappeared from Warren, Massachusetts

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Nearly a quarter of a century after Molly Bish's murder, the NBC10 Boston Investigators are taking an exclusive look at the evidence that's been kept in cold storage for decades.

The 16-year-old girl disappeared from her lifeguard shift at Comins Pond in Warren, Massachusetts, on June 27, 2000 — 24 years later, her murder remains unsolved.



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But technology has progressed. Investigators say new DNA evidence will be done on clothing in the case.

There are bags of evidence tucked away on shelves at the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab in Sudbury. Some of the evidence possibly contains the key to finding Bish's killer.

Sherri Mittelholzer, the forensic support section manager for the Massachusetts State Police, gave our team a look inside the storage room and some of the evidence.

NBC10 Boston Investigator Kathy Curran (center) looking at evidence from the Molly Bish case in storage.
NBC10 Boston
NBC10 Boston Investigator Kathy Curran (center) looking at evidence from the Molly Bish case in storage.

"This is our cold storage location where we store evidence for a multitude of cases, including Molly Bish. Anything that may be tested for DNA is kept in a cold storage location," said Mittelholzer.

The room is kept cold and humidity is controlled to preserve the evidence.

Inside one brown bag is the bathing suit Bish was wearing the day she disappeared. There are evidence samples cut for DNA testing, her knapsack that was left by her chair that day, soil samples and much more.

An evidence bag containing Molly Bish's knapsack
NBC10 Boston
An evidence bag containing Molly Bish's knapsack.

The Bish family has been praying for justice for 24 years. Bish's sister, Heather, is frustrated and heartbroken.

"Molly's presence is missed every single day," she said. "I miss my sister, it never ends. I don't look at the world the same way. My sister was taken by somebody, and I've learned there are many dangerous people out there."

The crime scene was never secured and was trampled on because at first, police thought Bish may have drowned. Her flip flops were left behind, and the lifeguard medical kit was open.

Molly Bish's knapsack on the beach at Comins Pond in Warren, Massachusetts.
Molly Bish's knapsack on the beach at Comins Pond in Warren, Massachusetts.

She vanished 13 minutes after she arrived at the pond. Her remains were found a few miles down the road from Comins Pond, in the woods of Palmer three years after her disappearance.

The hunt for the killer led investigators to convicted rapist Frank Sumner, who died in 2016. He operated auto body shops in the area and looks like the man Bish's mom spotted sitting in a white car the day before her daughter disappeared.

Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early Jr. said Sumner had access to a white car. He was officially named a suspect in 2021, but DNA from evidence tested so far hasn't linked him to the crime.

"There's a lot of evidence that leads to Frank Sumner, yes. That's why we first named him a person of interest and then a suspect," Early said when asked whether he believes if Sumner killed Bish. "We're not stopping, we're going to do everything we can to, you know, make sure that this case gets closed out."

There are 267 pieces of physical evidence in the case. Investigators have received more than 6,700 leads and tips throughout the decades.

An evidence bag that contains Molly Bish's bathing suit.
NBC10 Boston
An evidence bag that contains Molly Bish's bathing suit.

Surveillance video from a local convenience store captured the last images of Bish before she went to the pond on that fateful day. Her family and investigators are hoping advances in science and the evidence stored at the crime lab will finally lead them to the killer.

"We don't typically name people of interest, and we don't name suspects, but we did in this case because we got some solid information that came in," Early said. "We want to see a little bit more."

The Bish family is frustrated there hasn't been more progress on Sumner. Loved ones would like outside DNA experts to be involved in the case.

"My hope is to use my voice and stand up for Molly as much as possible and continue to look for resources available to support the investigation into solving her crime," Heather Bish said.

If you have any information about Bish's murder, you are asked to call the Massachusetts State Police tipline at 508-453-7575.

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