In the face of unspeakable grief — courage and grace. The family of Molly Conley, the 15-year-old Seattle girl who was murdered in Lake Stevens June 1, offers a lesson on the virtue of forgiveness, the permanence of memory, the sanctity of privacy.
“As this tragedy unfolds we ask the media and public to recall the beauty, grace and love that is Molly,” the family said in a statement. “She inspired classmates, inspired teammates and opponents, and inspired her family to live better lives, to find hope in the midst of hardship, and to play the game — whether soccer, lacrosse, or life — with enthusiasm, determination, and joy. She is the reason we are here today, and it is her life, more than her death, that we hope people will remember; since it is her life that was so amazing.”
The statement anticipated a wave of media attention after the arrest of a suspect Friday. The dignity of the human person, a central tenet of most faith traditions, is the takeaway.
“The violence that took her life and the circumstances that caused another human being to commit such an act are compelling and all want to understand it. As this aspect of Molly’s story is examined, do not lose sight of our daughter and sister; continue to honor her and present her shining example,” they write.
Friday’s arrest testifies to exemplary detective work. The randomness of the shooting made it much more of a cipher. As The Herald’s Diana Hefley and Rikki King report, detectives began to connect the dots, matching crime-scene forensics with similar drive-by shootings in Marysville and the Lake Stevens area. Molly’s family singles out Brad Pince and Undersheriff Tom Davis from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, for their dedication and care. It was a collective effort that knit together multiple departments.
“They worked their tails off,” Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Brent Speyer told The Herald. “They had one mission and that was to get justice for Molly and her family. There is nothing more serious than when somebody takes someone else’s life.”
Good police work is often tedious and demands cooperation. Questions of turf fell away, as law enforcement joined in common cause to nab a suspect. Kudos to the dozens of officers and forensic staffers who made it happen.
Lake Stevens, the city of Molly’s death, was united in its outrage. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support from Lake Stevens and surrounding communities whose contributions toward Molly have been so helpful,” the family said.
Justice, forgiveness, grace. If only tragedy was unnecessary to reveal our better angels.