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Dead rapist named person of interest in 2000 murder of Molly Bish

Bish was 16 when she vanished from her lifeguard post at Comins Pond in Warren, Massachusetts, on June 27, 2000. Her body was found three years later.

A convicted rapist who died in 2016 has been named a person of interest in the murder of Molly Bish, a Massachusetts teen who vanished in 2000.

Investigators received new information that pointed them to Francis “Frank” P. Sumner Sr., who was born in 1945, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. announced Thursday in a statement.

Sumner "was active" in Central Massachusetts area from 1960 until his death, the DA said. He operated auto repair shops in the Spencer, Leicester and Worcester areas.

"He has over a 20-page record, I think it's about 25 pages," Early told NBC Boston. "He's served time for aggravated rape and kidnapping. He's served time on probation violations. We know there were harassment orders with regards to the case that he was involved with before and violated and he's got a long, long record."

Now investigators are looking for information from the public about Sumner's jobs, associates, vehicles, travel and habits.

Bish was 16 when she vanished from her lifeguard post at Comins Pond in Warren on June 27, 2000. Her disappearance set up a massive search, but her remains weren't found until about three years later in the woods in nearby Palmer.

Molly Bish disappeared from Comins Pond in Warren, Mass., on June 27, 2000.via NBC Boston

Molly's sister, Heather, told NBC Boston she did not know Sumner.

"I have all kinds of feelings," she said Thursday. "Most predominantly, I feel gratitude."

In 2013, when Bish would have turned 30, her mother wrote a letter pleading with her killer to come forward.

"We have walked in the valley of hell. You have created a fear that haunted my family. It must stop," Magi Bish wrote. "We made a promise to Molly: you know we will never stop looking for you! That is the power of love."