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LAKE STEVENS — As Molly Conley’s family, friends, teachers and classmates gathered Monday at her home and school to grieve, pray and share memories, the investigation into the 15-year-old’s shooting death Saturday was turned over to homicide detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit.

The Sheriff’s Office offered few new details in its investigation into the drive-by shooting that claimed the life of the straight-A student at Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School. Police have not identified any suspects, and no arrests have been made.

Mary Clare (Molly) Conley, who turned 15 on Friday, was celebrating with friends at the home of a classmate in Lake Stevens
on Saturday, according to her mother.

The girls were walking along a shoulderless, curved road in a residential area at the south end of Lake Stevens when she was shot by an occupant in a passing vehicle, police said.

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On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said an autopsy revealed Conley died from a gunshot wound to the neck.

Detectives are investigating at least two other reported drive-by shootings in the area that same night, according to Shari Ireton, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.

The two shootings resulted only in property damage, according to Ireton.

“Whether these incidents were related to the tragic shooting earlier that night in Lake Stevens is unknown at this time,” she said.

Police said the Seattle teen was shot around 11:18 p.m. in the 10600 block of South Lake Stevens Road.

The next verified report of “shots fired” occurred at 12:45 a.m., near the 15000 block of 61st Street Northeast in Lake Stevens, police said.

The third shooting was reported at 2:30 a.m. near the 5400 block of 105th Street Northeast in Marysville.

Conley, who lived in Magnolia, was the youngest of three children. Her older sister, Tara, is a senior at The Center School in Seattle; and an older brother, Johnny, is a sophomore at Bishop Blanchet.

Friends and family recalled her as hardworking, studious and athletic. In addition to playing softball and soccer, she played lacrosse on Roosevelt High School’s varsity team.

Additional counselors were at Blanchet Monday to help students deal with their grief.

More important, her mother said, Conley was a funny, warmhearted and kind person.

At Conley’s urging, her mother and stepfather became foster parents to babies waiting for permanent homes.

“Molly would help take care of them, and she was extremely passionate,” her mother, Susan Arksey, said Sunday.

On Monday, her family released a statement that said Conley “had a generous spirit.”

According to the statement, Conley and her mother started an organization that assists mothers with babies who are recent arrivals in domestic-violence shelters in Seattle.

The shelters would provide a list of what they needed for specific babies, such as diapers, formula and clothing, and Conley and her mother would create the packages and deliver them.

“Molly named this cause ‘Mother’s Helper’ because as she maintained, who needs help more than a woman in that tough situation,” the family said in the statement.

“We loved Molly so very much,” her mother said.

“She was a great girl, she loved her family, her friends, her school and she loved life.”

Christine Clarridge can be reached at or 206-464-8983

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