Molly Bish Investigation: An Allegedly False Alibi, DNA Delays, a POI's Imprisoned Son and an Unrealistic Timeline

Lori Lamothe

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1HLCvW_0gRTy3iZ00
(storiesoftheunsolved.com)


Note: This is a follow-up to an article I wrote last year. It is a long piece so here are the key takeaways:

A 15-year-old worker allegedly present the day Molly disappeared has called the alibi of Bish's supervisor into question.

The Massachusetts State Police have allegedly had the worker's statement for 22 years. Two other workers he was with on June 27, 2000 have died.

The DA's office has had Person-of-Interest Frank Sumner's DNA for 18 years.

The M.O for Sumner's 1981 rape differs from the M.O. for Molly's murder.

The timeline that alleges the man in the police sketch killed Molly contradicts the organized nature of the crime.


It may be New England's most famous cold case. When Molly Bish reported to her job as a lifeguard at Comins Pond in Warren, Massachusetts on June 27, 2000, she was running a few minutes late. As she hurried to set up her chair and towel just after 10 a.m., she may have been thinking about the swim lessons that would soon begin. It was her eighth day in the position she inherited from her brother and she wanted to do everything right.

Did she scan the isolated beach for signs of the man her mother had cautioned her about the day before? When they had spotted him in the tiny beach parking lot on June 26, Molly hadn't taken Magi Bish's misgivings about him seriously. In those final minutes before she was abducted, did a sixth sense warn her something was off?

The beach was officially open but Molly was alone. No houses looked out onto the water and the beach was not visible from the lot, which sits at the end of a dead-end street. In every direction, there was nothing but trees.

By 10:20 a.m., Sandra Woodworth and her children would arrive to set up camp for the day. Other families would quickly follow. But Molly was gone. She had never used her police radio to check in with the station that morning. Other than the first aid kit, which lay open, nothing was disturbed. Even her shoes were neatly arranged in front of her chair.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3b0ezx_0gRTy3iZ00
(Daily Mail)

After swim lessons finished, a parent contacted Parks Commissioner Ed Fett to report that Molly was missing. He arrived at the beach shortly after 11 a.m. and at 11:44 a.m. he used her two-way radio to let police know she had not shown up. He also went through her things, which explains why his fingerprints were all over her belongings. At some point between noon and that afternoon, Fett ran into John Bish, Jr. at a hardware store and did not mention that his sister was missing.

"I don't think he thought it was a big deal. Everybody thinks this is nothing," Bish said in a 2011 interview for Disappeared.

Molly's mother was not contacted by police until 1 p.m., three hours after she dropped Molly off. Part of the reason for the delay may have been that people thought Molly could have gotten a ride to visit a friend who had been hit by a car.

Crime scene destroyed

Hours later—after the crime scene had been destroyed by divers, kids, dogs and searchers—police realized their initial assessments were probably wrong. The assumption that Molly had simply gone off with friends made sense for a teenager, just not for someone as responsible as Molly.

The second theory—that she had drowned in the pond—seemed more plausible. Because Warren was the kind of small town where nothing happens. With its picturesque homes and natural beauty, it seems like a safe place to raise a family. In fact, that's the reason John Bish said he moved his wife and children to Massachusetts from Detroit.

As the day wore on with no sign of Molly, the reality of what had happened became more clear: someone had taken Molly against her will. Yet three years passed before 26 bones and part of her swimsuit proved what everyone feared: a killer had murdered the pretty, blonde 16-year-old.

He had not taken her far from the abduction scene, just a few miles away in Palmer. Though District Attorney John Conte announced that her skeletal remains had most likely been “dragged from the point of origin,” Whiskey Hill is even more remote than Comins Pond. It's a steep, heavily wooded place, where caves and coyotes can be found in abundance. People not so much.

It has been nearly two decades since Molly's remains were located. Despite the fact that the police have identified numerous Persons of Interest, her murderer has not been caught. Was it a meticulously planned and executed crime? Or was her killer an inept and disorganized man who got lucky?

The man in the white car

From the beginning, the case has centered on a well-known police sketch of the man Magi saw in the parking lot the day before the abduction. A sand truck driver also allegedly spotted the middle-aged man in the white car minutes before Magi and Molly arrived the day she disappeared. Another witness spotted the vehicle at a car wash at the head of Comins Pond Road.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4QnL7i_0gRTy3iZ00
Sketch of the man in the white car many believe may have murdered Molly Bish.(The Republican)

The most popular version of the theory posits that the murderer stopped at the car wash then drove to the parking lot. He then quickly left the parking lot and drove to nearby St. Paul's cemetery, parked the car and headed down the trail to the beach.

At this point, after the beach was open for the first day of swim lessons, he allegedly grabbed Molly or convinced her to come with him, got her back up the steep trail in bare feet, loaded her into his car and drove away without being seen or heard by families arriving for swim lessons at 10:20 a.m.

Since St. Paul's caretaker John Borowiec said he arrived at the small cemetery at 10 a.m. that morning, the murderer would have had to done all that while a potential witness was present at the abduction scene. The caretaker shed is around the corner from the place where the murderer allegedly parked his car and Borowiec was in the immediate vicinity at the time.

In fact, the proximity of the shed to the beach trail is why Borowiec allegedly saw the empty car. In 2003 he told The Boston Globe:

“I came up around to get a sandwich and that’s when I spotted it.”

What if there were two cars? What if the man in the infamous police sketch did not kill Molly?

It seems possible the "chubby" man in the white Chevy sedan who allegedly stared at her those first eight days on the job could have been the man in the parking on June 26 and June 27. He may have had nothing to do with her death.

A friend of Molly’s who often ate lunch with her told The Boston Globe they saw a “chubby” 50ish man snorkeling and trying to catch fish with his hands at the pond. The man drove a white Chevy Corsica and the friend, 14 at the time, believed he killed her, though on her first week they just “laughed” about him

In other words, what if the car Borowiec saw at the end of the trail on June 27 belonged to someone else, i.e. the real killer? After leafing through photos of car models, he chose “a Dodge Dynasty, recognizing its distinctive boxy rear window.

If true, it would mean Molly's killer could be anyone.

A new Person of Interest

A year ago, District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.'s office named Frank P. Sumner as the latest Person of Interest in the crime. Sumner, an auto mechanic from central Massachusetts, lived in the area from 1960 onward and died in 2016.

Sumner has a long list of priors and was convicted for rape and aggravated assault in 1982. He was released from prison in March 1998 and at first glance he seems to fit the profile of a person who could have committed the murder.

When Early named Sumner as a POI, he stated that recent tips resulted in new information that suggested he could have been involved:

“The information we have that led us to this point we think is very solid but we still have to keep going on the matter.”

Over the past several months, I have been in contact with numerous people who have been connected in some way to the case. I have also been to the crime scene, as well as to the spot where Molly's remains were found. The more I've looked into the case, the more questions arise.

The only thing that isn't in doubt is the impact Molly's death has had on everyone who came into contact with this case. I recently interviewed John Kelly, whose organization STALK prepared a profile of the killer in 2000. Kelly is a National Board Certified Addiction Specialist, Board Certified Social Worker, Certified Forensic Examiner and Fellow of the American Board of Forensic Examiners.

While his group is currently working on the Delphi case, Kelly said the Bish murder is one case he wants see solved in his lifetime:

This case has tugged at my heart for over 20 years. I don't think I can ever express enough condolences for the family. It was one of STALK's first cases, maybe the third or fourth, and I was broken-hearted about the trauma they were going through. Before I die I'd like to see them get justice on this.

Others I spoke with echoed Kelly's statement.

Here are four points about the case that raise questions about the prevailing theory that the man in the white car was involved in Molly's murder. They also raise questions about Sumner's viability as a POI.

1. A man who worked for Molly's boss says his alibi is inaccurate.

After I published my first story about the Bish case, a number of people shared information with me about the day Molly went missing. One of those people is a man who says he was doing community service for the Warren parks department that summer and was painting a fence at Cutter Park on June 27.

He was a year behind Molly in school and grew up in Warren. They had worked together at Howard's Restaurant and he was fond of her. On the day Molly went missing, he walked to the park for his first day of community service. He had committed a minor offense, had a probation officer, and was a little nervous. He was 15 years old and knew some of Molly's friends, as well as the many trails that ran through the woods behind Comins Pond.

According to the painter, Fett was not with him and the other two painters that morning, contrary to what has been reported in the past:

I was doing Community Service, painting the fence at the Cutter Park. The Community Service was Supervised by Ed Fett. He met us there that day at 9:00 a.m. He provided the paint and brushes, gave us instructions, then left. He was gone until about 12:30-1:00."
When he brought all of us to Mona's Pizza for lunch where he met with Chief Ronald J. Syriac as we ate. I've always thought it was strange that he left all day. He mentioned nothing to us at all. Then later that day I heard about Molly's disappearance. I felt obligated to say something back then and I feel like I should tell you about it now."

The third painter said he and the other teenage painters didn't know what they were doing that morning. Fett left after about "15-20 minutes," at approximately 9:15-9:20 a.m. He also said he didn't understand why Fett went to a hardware store in West Brookfield that day ("a pretty decent drive" from Cutter Park).

He said he wasn't sure whether Fett went to the store before or after Fett brought them to lunch. He believed it may have ostensibly been to buy paint but they already had paint and brushes. If Fett went there between 11:44 a.m. (when he called in to police on the radio) and lunch, he did not provide them with additional supplies when he showed up.

If he went after lunch, Fett had already told them they were done for the day. However, the parks commissioner may have purchased other supplies at the hardware store.

Later that day, the painter's friends rode to his house on their bikes and told him Molly was missing.

The painter remembered that Fett's young son was with him at 9 a.m. that day. He also recalled that his boss was driving a white van:

"I want to say it was a white van with a sliding door. An older white van."

The original story about Fett's whereabouts, as published in a 2003 Boston Globe article, goes as follows:

Three males who were painting a fence in a public park miles from Comins Pond on the day Bish disappeared said they were asked last week to supply DNA samples. One is a 16-year-old who was 14 when Bish vanished.
Kenneth Tatro, a computer technician, said he and his son gave DNA samples last week on request from State Police.
''They said they were building up a database of males in town,'' said Tatro. ''I told them, `If this can help Molly, sure, I'll do it.' ''
Ed Fett, the former parks commissioner who was painting the fence with Tatro and his son that morning, also voluntarily gave DNA to investigators last week.
''I guess they just want to build a large database,'' Fett said yesterday. ''I was treated like a suspect back then. They checked out my story and found that I had an alibi.''
When asked yesterday about a DNA database, Conte said, ''That is not correct.''
Fett said he took a polygraph test and was told that the results were inconclusive. ''I was a nervous wreck,'' he said.
Fett, who supervised Bish in his job as parks commissioner, has told police that he left the fence painting at around 11 a.m. to visit the pond and discovered that she was not at her post. When he found her shoes and her first aid kit open on the beach, he said he began to worry. After questioning a few female swimmers at the pond, he said he called police. When police did not immediately respond, he said he drove down and asked for a cruiser to be sent to the pond. . .
Tatro said that his son, who admired Bish and used to bring her sandwiches at lunch, ran to him that afternoon and told him, ''Dad, they think Molly drowned.''

The source said the alleged discrepancy between what actually happened that morning while he and the Tatro boys were painting on their own and what has been reported in the press has troubled him for two decades. While he said he remembers others were part of the community service program that day, he can only recall the names of Kenny, Jr. and Gerard Tatro.

He said he has not previously come forward because he does not want his name in the press:

This is about her, not me. I'm not looking to get my name into anything. . .I felt obligated to tell you my story. Same as I did with Massachusetts State Police back then. I have always had a weird feeling about Fett leaving that day, and then meeting with Chief Ron at Mona's with all of us 'Community Service Kids' that actually painted the fence."

He also stated that he gave all this information to Massachusetts State Police at the time of Molly's disappearance but they did not follow up with him. On June 28, acting on the advice of friends, he went to the Town Hall and told his story to an MSP officer, who wrote down his name and contact information on a notepad. He never heard from the state police again.

I stated to State Police about Ed Fett leaving and not returning until he brought us to get pizza. He wasn't there with us painting the fence until 11:00 a.m. He had the paint and brushes there at Cutter Park as we met him there for our community service. He told us what to do then left. Why did he need to go to West Brookfield and get more paint? Where he happened to run into John as well. Why did he meet with Chief Ron? You would assume that it was because of Molly missing. But there was no urgency at Mona's Pizza. It was very weird."

In a subsequent interview, the painter reiterated his statements and added, "They were casually eating." Molly was not the type of kid who would ditch work, he said, so her disappearance should have been cause for concern:

"She was your model kid you would want to have."

In an interview for Disappeared, Magi said she knew Fett from when he stopped by to give Molly a book "to look at swimsuits and some supplies."

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3DiHIY_0gRTy3iZ00
(theirstoriespodcast.com)

I have verified the painter's identity and spoken with him in detail about his story. I also tried to corroborate his account with the other two painters, Kenneth, Jr. and Gerard, who were with him that day. Unfortunately, this was not possible.

Kenneth, who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq, died at age 30 in May 2012. His younger brother Gerard died at age 31 in May 2018. Part of Kenneth Tatro's grand jury testimony in 2006 allegedly involved the man in the white car. In addition, Peter Rambiszewski, the painter's close friend who he played sports with, died in a car accident the day after Molly's remains were identified in 2003. Molly's boyfriend Steve Lukas also died in a car crash in 2006.

When asked if any of these men had anything to do with Molly's murder, the painter's reply was an unequivocal no.

The Massachusetts State Police Unresolved Case Unit did not respond to a request for comment.

Lindsay Corcoran, Director of Communications for District Attorney Early's office, said she could not comment on an ongoing investigation. She forwarded a statement about Sumner, which is quoted below.

The Warren Police Department officer I spoke with today said Commissioner William Dwyer, was not on the premises and was the only person who could respond to questions about the Bish case.

Fett was not able to be reached for comment.

According to press reports, police cleared Fett as a suspect and accepted his alibi:

"The police consider [the run in with John Bish, Jr. at the hardware store] a solid alibi for Ed Fett's whereabouts that morning."

2. The authorities have had Sumner's DNA for 18 years.

Another problem with the most recent development in the case, which posits Frank Sumner may have murdered Molly, is that authorities have had his DNA since approximately 2004. According to a Boston Globe article published last June, Sumner, who died in 2016, provided a DNA sample to authorities four years after Bish was murdered.

In addition, multiple family members provided DNA samples to authorities years ago. Early's office confirmed it has DNA samples from Sumner, as well as family members.

The Globe piece goes on to quote a family member who asked to be identified as Jackie:

“Sumner was out of jail, and they never came after him. Please show us once and for all the evidence that this is the man who killed Molly Bish ... now he is being the victim because he can't speak for himself.” The relative said Sumner's surviving extended family —one record suggested he had eight children and two grandchildren at the time of his death —now have to face being publicly linked to a horrific crime allegedly committed by someone they had limited contact with when he was alive.

Last year, authorities traveled to Ohio to obtain an additional DNA sample from Sumner's son, Francis P. Sumner, Jr. who is incarcerated in a London facility. Sumner, Jr., was indicted by a grand jury in Ohio in 2016 on charges of aggravated robbery, theft from a person in a protected class, grand theft of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering and petty theft, according to the Preble County Sheriff's Office.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2ykYKw_0gRTy3iZ00
Francis P. Sumner, Jr.(kicks96.com)

One reason police collected new samples may be due to the advances in DNA. In September 2016, authorities submitted 24 pieces of evidence for enhanced DNA testing. At that point, they already had Sumner's DNA, as well as DNA from POIs Rodney Stanger and Gerald Battistoni. It seems likely all DNA samples would have been compared to any results the 2016 tests produced.

Kelly emphasized that the technology continues to advance rapidly, however. Such advances may require new samples:

From the beginning when they found they had DNA I don't think they had a good enough sample for the particular person. However, with the way DNA technology has advanced it's only getting better and better. They may have a better sample now. We don't know what Early has or when he's going to expose it."

On the other hand, Sumner's son, whose criminal record spans five states, may have had incentive to offer information to authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence. Multiple sources I spoke with agreed this was a possibility.

A Worcester Telegram article published in December obliquely alludes to this rationale as well:

It was not clear why state police detectives traveled to Ohio as opposed to gathering DNA from family members in Massachusetts."

One of the sources I spoke with suggested other tips about Sumner were so general they were essentially meaningless. The source, who said he has worked as a private investigator in New England for 30 years, asked to remain anonymous:

Somebody supposedly saw him working on a white car that matched the description of the car at the scene. That was the tip given to police.”

As for the DNA evidence, the investigator was equally skeptical about the delays and about Sumner as a suspect overall:

“It doesn't make any sense. They've had [Sumner's DNA] for years. They got his son's DNA eight months ago. Everybody understands that DNA testing takes a long time. However, if there ever was a family that deserved the info sooner rather than later, it's the Bishes. Why the delay?”

Another possibility is that there is no viable DNA. In her book Who Took Molly Bish? Dr. Sarah Stein considers this angle. After three years exposed to the elements, there is a chance any foreign DNA could belong to someone other than the killer or have degraded.

In addition, if Molly knew her killer the presence of DNA could be plausibly explained.

In response to questions about Sumner's DNA results, Corcoran referred me to a previously issued statement from Early's office:

The investigation remains ongoing, and any discussion of evidence or the status of DNA evidence being tested is premature at this time. Shortly after taking office, I created a dedicated cold case squad but changed the name to the Unresolved Case Squad after Molly’s father, John, asked us to not use the phrase cold case. His point, and I agree, is that these cases are not on a shelf collecting dust. These are very active cases and our victims are not forgotten.

3. Sumner's M.O in 1981 differed markedly from the M.O. in the Bish case.

While Sumner's crime in 1981 was brutal, there are a few key differences with the Bish murder. According to court records, the 20-year-old victim had some work done on a friend's car at Sumner's autobody shop and Sumner offered to show her an apartment he was trying to rent in Auburn. The woman saw the apartment with him and as they were leaving he asked her if she'd clean it for him in exchange for money.

She agreed and returned to pick up the keys later that day. When she arrived at the auto-shop again, he told her to meet him at the apartment. After she finished cleaning, he prevented her from leaving the premises and raped her. Because he blocked her car with his own, she had to wait for him to move the vehicle before she could leave.

Kelly reiterated the marked difference between that crime and the 2000 abduction:

“It's a very different M.O. . . . It was an inside rape and that is much different. There could be no witnesses [to interfere with the crime]. That is much different than an outside abduction.”

While he noted that murders often escalate from earlier, lesser crimes, he said that the different M.O. suggests a significantly bolder type of killer. The need for power and control is integral to both crimes but the 1981 rape occurred in an apartment that Sumner knew well.

“That's really taking a lot of risk versus his first one. [The Bish abduction] is a much riskier ball game, not knowing who's showing up.”

Other investigators I spoke with concurred:

If you look at the case, the age is all wrong, the circumstances are all wrong. There's nothing in the victimology that relates to Molly," one said.

Kelly also noted that whoever the killer was, he had to have known the site where Molly's remains were found extremely well:

“We have to understand this person knew Whiskey Hill. He knew that area.”

The profiler speculated the murderer would likely have been a hunter who frequented that area and knew the predation patterns there.

Kelly did note that Sumner's occupation fit the STALK profile. According to the document, the killer would likely have been "a visual hands-on" type person, such as a “contractor," "auto mechanic” or "landscaper."

While Kelly stressed all persons of interest should be considered viable until evidence eliminates them, he mentioned previous POI Rodney Stanger as someone who fits the STALK profile. Not only did Stanger know Comins Pond and Whiskey Hill, he moved to Florida not long after the murder. In addition, the avid hunter is serving a 25-year sentence for killing his long-time girlfriend Chrystal Morrison.

However, Kelly said all possibilities must remain open until the crime is solved. It's always better to focus on a wide pool then eliminate people than to begin with a particular suspect in mind, he said.

“Could it be somebody that knew her? Somebody that she would be caught off guard by? That's always a possibility too.”

A separate source with a background in criminal investigation noted that while a predator's crimes often escalate they usually don't de-escalate. In 2010, for example, Sumner was charged with threatening to murder a customer who was dissatisfied with the service he received at his auto shop. Not only is this an example of impulsivity that seems to contradict the profile of Molly's murderer, but it would also suggest a rare instance of de-escalation if Sumner was responsible for planning Molly's murder.

According to court documents, one witness alleged Sumner “had once had been involved with the Mafia,” which also seems to contradict the profile of Molly's killer.

Finally, Sumner doesn't fit the profile of an organized killer. The dichotomy between organized and disorganized killers is the bedrock of criminal profiling. Organized killers plan their crimes in advance, usually commit the murder at a secondary site and take great efforts to avoid detection. They are often people who blend into the community, hold full-time jobs and are socially adept. They can be charming and often lure their victims away from the primary scene.

According to the offender and crime scene dichotomy, organized crimes are premeditated and carefully planned, so little evidence is normally found at the scene. Organized criminals, according to the classification scheme, are antisocial (often psychopathic) but know right from wrong, are not insane and show no remorse.
Based on historical patterns, organized killers are likely to be above average to average intelligence, attractive, married or living with a domestic partner, employed, educated, skilled, orderly, cunning and controlled. They have some degree of social grace, may even be charming, and often talk and seduce their victims into being captured.

Conversely, disorganized offenders commit their crimes impulsively, rely on force, leave behind abundant evidence and are not well integrated into their communities. They often suffer from drug and alcohol problems and hold low-level jobs (or no job at all). The usually do not move their victims to a secondary site and make little effort to avoid detection:

Disorganized criminals often leave evidence such as fingerprints or blood at the scene of the murder. There is often no attempt to move or otherwise conceal the corpse after the murder. Disorganized criminals may be young, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or mentally ill. They often have deficient communication and social skills and may be below average in intelligence. The disorganized offender is likely to come from an unstable or dysfunctional family.

While Sumner arguably could have planned the 1981 rape in advance, it also seems likely he committed it impulsively. He made little effort to avoid detection and the crime scene contained abundant forensic evidence establishing his guilt.

Could this same person, who didn't even bother to hide his face or name from his victim, plan Molly's murder and leave the scene in such pristine condition that her shoes were neatly placed in front of her chair?

4. The timeline for the morning of the abduction is problematic.

According to the timeline that designates the cigarette-smoking man in the white car as the killer, he drove to the parking lot at least twice: once the day before the murder and once on the day of the murder. As I mentioned earlier in this story, Magi and Molly saw the man first day.

On the second day, Beaudry, a local contractor, was delivering sand to the beach. Magi said she felt relieved when she saw his truck in the lot because he was someone she recognized from town. Beaudry later said he saw the car in the lot minutes before the two arrived just before 10 a.m on June 27.

If Beaudry's statement is accurate, it raises several issues. The lack of evidence, neatness of the primary site, and use of a secondary crime site suggest an organized killer committed the crime. If so, why would an organized killer risk being seen in the vicinity of the pond on the very day he planned to abduct Molly? How could he know parents and children wouldn't show up when the beach opened at 10 a.m.? Or earlier?

Even more importantly, why would he go on to commit the abduction after Beaudry saw him in the parking lot minutes before he planned to commit the crime? Why would an organized killer stop first at yet a third location, a car wash at the head of Comins Pond Road?

Last but certainly not least, why would an organized killer go through with the abduction if he realized the caretaker was present at the cemetery at the exact time he was going to put Molly into his car and drive away? This is especially true if the man had a criminal record or was a registered sex offender. Did the killer have a convincing way to explain his presence at the pond?

Remember: Borowiec stated he was at the cemetery between 10 a.m. And 10:35 a.m.--the time during which the abduction had to have occurred. The cemetery is also where police dogs lost Molly's scent.

A third possibility is that the killer decided to abduct Molly on the spur of the moment. This level of recklessness and disorganization does not fit the profile of the type of person who committed the crime, according to Kelly:

“I don't see a person that's this organized in pulling off a daring and bold crime being that impulsive. If he was in the parking lot [the day of the abduction] he'd have to be insane. . . If you were seen the day before there, why would you show up there on the day of your planned abduction? He's not going to try and abduct her from the parking lot. He could run into 10 people. He'd have to be out of his mind if he's going to pull that off.”

Could the sand truck driver be lying or mistaken? In support of this theory, it has been alleged that Beaudry may have been one of the 11 people who failed the polygraph test.

I recently spoke with a cold case expert who interviewed Beaudry about what happened that day. In response to my question, they said there was no suggestion he wasn't telling the truth:

“I saw no indication he was lying about anything.”

In addition, there is the witness who saw a white car at the car wash that morning. Was that person also lying or mistaken? Another investigator I spoke with noted some witness accounts place "two people" in the white car in the parking lot on June 27.

There is a simple explanation that reconciles these timeline and M.O. problems: there were two cars, that day, one in the parking lot and one in the cemetery. The first did not belong to the killer and is not connected with the crime. If you were driving the white car that day on Comins Pond Road, would you come forward?

Thirty-nine percent of the cars in the world are white, according to data compiled in 2019 by coatings company BASF. Black, gray and silver together make up another 39% of cars on the road. That means nearly 80% of all vehicles are painted with achromatic lacquer.

What's next?

Whether Sumner or another suspect is responsible for Molly's death remains to be seen. While the issues listed in this article raise questions, Kelly's statement that we don't know what evidence authorities may or may not have is on point.

If you have information about Molly's case, I urge you to contact the Massachusetts Unresolved Case Unit at 508-820-2121. You can also contact me at the email listed on my profile.

Whoever he may be, Molly's killer has remained unidentified for 22 years. She deserves justice.

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Writer, assistant professor, former baker. I cover cold cases, history, recipes, and culture. If you have a story idea you'd like me to investigate, you can email me at lorilamothe29@gmail.com.

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