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Police Inundated With Murder Rumors

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the wake of finding two dead bodies, rumors about multiple violent attacks on women have been spreading like wildfire.

Police say they have been "inundated" with phone calls asking for information. The rumors, apparently being spread over the Internet, insinuate that there is an outbreak of violent crime and the police have requested federal assistance. That information is false and has no factual basis, police said.

"We believe these rumors are the result of speculation surrounding the recent discoveries of two bodies in the city. The first occurred in February in Canoe Meadows and the second last week in a wooded area off of West Street," Police Chief Michael Wynn said in a written statement.

"While both of those incidents are tragic, both have been investigated. There is no evidence of foul play in either case. Both were reported to the media as soon as the necessary notifications were made."

On Friday, Police discovered the body of Virginia May Brown, 49,  in a wooded area behind St. Mark School and the body of Beverly Tanner, 57, at Canoe Meadows wildlife sanctuary in late February. Tanner was initially ruled a suicide while Brown, who had been missing since January, is believed to have died from exposure. In either case, foul play was ruled out by police.

"Since there is no known crime series to investigate, there is no investigation for which to request assistance," Wynn said.

Police is asking the public to halt the spread of the rumors.

Tags: rumors, death, violent crime, body      

Pittsfield Police Find Dead Body

Andy McKeever

 PITTSFIELD, Mass - The body of 49-year-old Virginia May Brown turned up in a wooded area behind St. Mark School.

Brown was reported missing in January after her landlord found the door of her apartment and nobody home. She was last seen in the city on Jan. 7.
She was found Friday afternoon and an autopsy was performed Sunday at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston by Kimberly Springer, according to police.
Police do not suspect foul play and an official cause of death has not yet been determined pending the outcome of toxicology and further testing.
Tags: body, missing person      

Police Identify Body Found at Canoe Meadows

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The body of a woman found Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Canoe Meadows wildlife sanctuary has been identified as Beverly Tanner, 57.

Tanner, whose last known address was on North Street, had not been seen since early January. Police say she was not reported missing.

The body was reportedly found by a couple of snowshoers off Wolf Pine Trail in the 262-acre sanctuary. It was fully dressed, frozen and partially covered with snow. A backpack was next to it. The death is being investigated but Detective Capt. Patrick F. Barry told The Berkshire Eagle on last week that foul play was not suspected.

The preliminary ruling on the death is suicide, pending toxicology results, according to the district attorney's office.  An autopsy was performed on Friday in Boston by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Henry Nields.

Anyone with information concerning Tanner's whereabouts or who may have had contact with her since early January is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9700.

Tags: body, missing person, suicide      

Body of Missing Pittsfield Man Recovered

Berkshire News Network

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Police say they recovered the body of an elderly man who they believe is 61-year-old Francis Rocca, an Alzheimer’s patient who left his Francis Avenue home on July 13.

Police said the body was discovered early Thursday afternoon with the help of a specially trained corpse-sniffing dog in a heavily wooded area off Turner Avenue near the west branch of the Housatonic River.

Police were waiting for an official ID on the body but based on clothing and jewelry found on the body, investigators believe the dead man is Rocca. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday at the state medical examiner's office in Holyoke. Police say the death does not appear suspicious and indicated Rocca had been dead for some time.

Rocca, a carpenter and a veteran, has been suffering from Alzheimer's for two years. He reportedly spit out his medication on the night he left his home. Police were also hoping to come upon Robert DeFreest with the help of the dog. DeFreest, a homeless man, hasn't been seen since June 2009.

Tags: body, missing      
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