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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.

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