SEATTLE — Students returned to Bishop Blanchet High School for the first time after hearing that a beloved classmate was killed while celebrating her 15th birthday.
Molly Conley, 15, was a 4.0 student and an active member of her school — she played lacrosse and performed in drama. On Saturday night, she was walking in Lake Stevens with friends when she was shot and killed in what detectives are calling a random drive-by shooting. The shooter is still at large.
Joey and Alexis Capestany will miss her in class.
“She was in my beginning acting and intermediate acting and would always just light up my day if I was sad — just made me laugh and tell me jokes. She was a kindhearted person. She’ll be missed,” he said.
“Our (acting) scene is happening in two days, basically. We don’t want to pick it up so it’s going to be weird,” Capestany said.
On Monday, students held a prayer service together at the beginning of class to honor Conley and her family.
Gabe Briggs said, “I had a few classes with her and she’s always just never about herself. She always wanted to know what was up with you. Always curious and smart and intelligent in those ways.”
“I wish I had more time to spend with her, but we were friends and she’s going to be missed by a lot of people,” Ollie Anderson said.
Faculty and staff helped students dealing with the loss.
“The message is that every single one of them is precious to us, and when we have a tragedy like this, that it affects us all deeply and we have to walk through this together,” said Antonio DeSapio, Bishop Blanchet High School president.
Molly was supposed to celebrate her birthday with family Sunday night. Instead, more than 800 people gathered to say goodbye to the teen at a vigil.
“She always smiled, she gave people smiles, and she was joyful and kind. She had a generous spirit,” said Molly’s mother, Susan Arksey.
Her family said in a statement that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made at Bank of America to Mary Clare (Molly) Conley with “Mother’s Helper” in the subject line. Molly and her mother started the “Mother’s Helper” organization to help provide diapers, formula and clothing to mothers with babies who arrive in domestic violence shelters in Seattle.
Meanwhile, the Snohomish County Sheriff Major Crimes Unit has taken over the murder investigation, but detectives have few leads and little to say.
“We don’t have any reason to believe there is additional danger to the public, but we’re working on the investigation, which will take time,” spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.