By CBSBoston.com Staff

WARREN (CBS) – A person of interest has been named in the disappearance and murder of Molly Bish. Bish was 16 when she disappeared from her lifeguard post at Comins Pond in Warren on June 27, 2000. Her remains were found three years later in Palmer.

Francis “Frank” P. Sumner Sr., who died in 2016, is being investigated in the murder after investigators recently received new information.

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Molly Bish and person of interest Francis Sumner (Photos from Getty Images and Worcester County District Attorney’s office)

According to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, Sumner was born in 1945, and was active in the Central Massachusetts area from 1960 through 2016.

He was known to operate auto repair shops in the Spencer, Leicester and Worcester areas. Sumner lived in Spencer prior to his death.

Heather Bish, Molly’s sister, is hoping the new information may give them the answers they have been searching for.

Francis “Frank” P. Sumner Sr. (Image from Worcester County DA)

“This person, Frank Sumner, had been convicted of an aggravated rape and kidnapping,” Heather Bish said in an interview with WBZ-TV. “He’s a bad guy and he hid amongst us.”

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Heather said one of Sumner’s family members gave her his name as a possible suspect three years ago and she gave that information to police.

Investigators are seeking tips from the public about Sumner’s employment, associates, vehicles, travel and any known habits.

“These little things that people might know or have information on about this person is important because all of those little pieces are going to lead the investigators to the whole picture of the puzzle,” Heather Bish said. “Once they have that whole picture then we’ll know.”

Sumner was a convicted sex offender and was well known to law enforcement in the area. “He’s got over a 20 page record,” District Attorney Joe Early said. “We had a tip come in that was corroborated and there was further information that came in which led us to declare Frank P. Sumner as a person of interest in this case.”

Heather Bish said her family is relieved and grateful that the investigation is progressing.

“I don’t know that we’ll know exactly what happened to Molly, but if we know the person who did it, that’s good enough for me,” Heather said.

Anyone with information on Sumner or any additional information on the Molly Bish case is asked to call the district attorney’s anonymous tip line at 508-453-7575.

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Rutland Police posted on Facebook that Sumner operated an Elite Auto on Paxton Rd. between 2009 and 2012. Anyone who had any experience with Sumner “no matter how small or seemingly insignificant” is asked to contact police.

CBSBoston.com Staff