Missing Clarksburg Woman's Body Found in Hatfield
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The human remains discovered in Hatfield on Tuesday have been identified as those of Joanne Ringer, who went missing almost exactly a year ago.
Ringer, 39, was last seen at her home on Hall's Ground in Clarksburg on March 2, but never showed up at her new job driving a taxi in Easthampton. Her green 1999 Volkswagen Jetta was discovered on Exeter Street in Easthampton four days later.
Her husband, Charles "Chad" Reidy, was the sole suspect in her disappearance. He killed himself and was found dead in their garage on April 7.
Ringer's body was found in a remote wooded area of Hatfield on Tuesday evening and removed the next day.
Dr. Kathleen Crowley, a forensic odonatologist at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston, made a positive identification from Ringer's dental records. Crowley was assisted by Dr. James Pokines, a forensic anthropologist, also assigned to the Boston Office of the Medical Examiner. The identification was made late Thursday afternoon.
"From the beginning, we have suspected foul play and have approached this as a homicide investigation and we have considered Joanne's husband, Chad Reidy, as the sole suspect," Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said a press conference in Northern Berkshire District Court on last year. "Reidy's apparent suicide on April 7 has not changed that view."
However, Laura J. Reilly, 42, of Berkeley Street, Easthampton, described as Reidy's former girlfriend, was arraigned last April on three counts of misleading investigators, an obstruction of justice, in providing erroneous information during the investigation of Ringer's disappearance.
Ringer's car had been found less than a half-mile from Reilly's address.
Capeless unexpectedly announced his retirement on Thursday morning, paving the way for one of his assistant DAs to be appointed to his post so he could run as an incumbent in November's election. The timing of the announcement, so close to the discovery of the body, had a number of Springfield area media openly speculating that it would be focused on the Ringer case.
On Thursday, Capeless said the timing was a "coincidence" and that his retirement announcement had been planned a long time in advance and that the Ringer family had been told privately what it was regarding.
Ringer's body was positively identified late Thursday afternoon and the media notified shortly before 8 p.m.
Conn. Police Arrest Clarksburg Man Wanted in Adams Shooting
ADAMS, Mass. — A Clarksburg man who is wanted in connection with last Wednesday's shooting in Adams has been arrested in Connecticut on unrelated charges while at least two other men are still being sought.
Gage M. Sherman, 20, of McLagen Drive, was arrested in Bristol, Conn., this past weekend for conspiracy to commit murder related to a shooting in Bristol on Friday.
A warrant seeking his return to Massachusetts to answer to charges in the Adams shooting has been lodged with Connecticut authorities, according the district attorney's office.
The shooting at 30 North Summer St. last Wednesday severely injured one man who was taken to Berkshire Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and remains hospitalized. Police have declined to confirm the victim's name or release much information regarding the incident.
Sherman will be arraigned on a charge of unarmed robbery when he is returned to Massachusetts, according to the DA's office. The investigation remains ongoing with the potential for further criminal charges being sought.
Investigators believe the shooting was an isolated incident and not a random act. Authorities are still searching for two other men both described as black -- one thin, standing 5-foot-6 with a possible neck tattoo and last seen wearing a red hooded windbreaker with a red baseball cap and the second with a medium to heavy build, standing 5-foot-7 with moderate facial hair, short curly black hair and last seen wearing black sweat pants and black fleece jacket.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Adams Police Department at 413-743-1212 or state police detectives at 413-499-1112.
Sherman was arrested with Juan E. Ocasio, also 20 and from Massachusetts, after police responded to shots fired in front of a home on Pleasant View Avenue on Friday night in Briston. No one was reportedly injured in that shooting. Both men were being held on $500,000 bail.
Motorist Misses Hairpin Turn, Speeds Into Golden Eagle Parking Lot
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A driver headed up the Mohawk Trail missed the Hairpin Turn completely on Wednesday and sped through the small parking lot at the Golden Eagle Restaurant and slammed into owner's pickup truck.
The accident occurred around 1:30 p.m. and restaurant owner John Morris said it was the second time that day someone had missed the turn and ended up in his parking lot.
This time, it was a small Buick Lacrosse sedan whose driver either failed to negotiate the tight turn or didn't realize it was there. He barreled through the parking lot, hit Morris' white Ford F250 and pushed it into a small shed at the end of the lot. The driver was able to back up the vehicle but it began to smoke.
The driver, an elderly man, was the only occupant in the car. He was taken by North Adams Ambulance Service for medical treatment.
The Golden Eagle has been the site of numerous crashes over the years, largely from trucks and vehicles coming down the steep incline. A stone wall was built to prevent cars from hitting the two-story restaurant, perched at the very tip of the hairpin.
But Morris said the problem is now the cars coming up the mountain who are failing to note the 15 mph speed limit and signs warning of the turn ahead. He's been putting orange cones out along his driveway as a visual reminder but had pushed them to the side today for delivery trucks to get in. The restaurant serves an annual Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds.
The Buick incurred severe damage to the front end and was towed by Mohawk Towing. The damage to the truck wasn't clear but the shed's doors were knocked in and it appeared to have shifted.
North Adams and Clarksburg police responded as did the Clarksburg Fire Department.
Hairpin Turn Collision Sends Two to Hospital
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A two-car collision at the curve of the Hairpin Turn sent the drivers to the emergency room.
Police Chief Michael Williams said the injuries appeared non-life-threatening but both individuals were taken by ambulance to the emergency facility at Berkshire Medical Center's North Adams campus.
The accident occurred shortly after 3:30 and the scene was cleared at 4:08 p.m. It initially was reported as a head-on crash involving three people.
A gray Toyota Corolla heading east apparently took the V-shaped corner too wide and too fast and collided with a black Chevy Impala heading west. The Toyota's front end hit the Chevy's driver's side door, close to the yellow line, Williams said.
The Toyota was travelling higher than the posted speed of 15 mph but not at a high speed, he said.
The airbags deployed in both vehicles and the drivers were only passengers. The Toyota suffered heavy damage on the driver's side front end and the Chevy's driver's side door was buckled. They were towed from the scene by Mohawk Auto and Dean's Quality Auto.
The sharp curve was reduced to one lane traffic for the half hour or so responders were at the scene. Clarksburg Police were assisted by North Adams Police and state police. Clarksburg Fire Company also responded as did North Adams Ambulance Service.
The accident was still under investigation.
Husband's Ex-Girlfriend Charged in Case of Missing Clarksburg Woman
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The husband of missing Clarksburg woman Joanne Ringer is the "sole suspect" in her disappearance, say authorities.
Ringer went missing on March 2; her husband, Charles "Chad" Reidy, was found dead on April 7 in the couple's garage.
"From the beginning, we have suspected foul play and have approached this as a homicide investigation and we have considered Joanne's husband, Chad Reidy, as the sole suspect," Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said a press conference in Northern Berkshire District Court on Thursday. "Reidy's apparent suicide on April 7 has not changed that view."
Laura J. Reilly, 42, of Berkeley Street, Easthampton, described as Reidy's former girlfriend, was arraigned in the court shortly before the briefing on three counts of misleading investigators, an obstruction of justice, in providing erroneous information during the investigation of Ringer's disappearance.
Capeless said she had been arrested Wednesday evening and arraigned on the three charges. He declined to speculate whether further charges would be forthcoming.
Instead, he asked for the public's assistance in ascertaining the whereabouts of Ringer, Reidy and Reilly between Thursday, March 2, when Ringer failed to arrive at her new job in Easthampton, and Friday, March 3.
Ringer, 39, was last seen at her home on Hall's Ground in Clarksburg on March 2, but never showed up at her new job driving a taxi in Easthampton. Her green 1999 Volkswagen Jetta was discovered on Exeter Street in Easthampton, less than a half-mile from Reilly's address, on Monday, March 6.
"We had kept hope that Joanne Ringer would be found alive. But seven weeks have passed since her disappearance and she has made no contact with family or friends, particularly with her 19-year-old daughter, Savanah, and animals that she loved were left without care at home," Capeless said.
He would not go into specifics other than to say information authorities had received pointed to Reidy.
"Obviously we don't rule out any possibility, but he has been the suspect from the start," Capeless said.
A number of Ringer's friends and relatives have said Reidy was abusive but Capeless declined to confirm that or whether Reidy had left a note. Reidy's death is so far considered a suicide although autopsy results are pending; the manner of his death has not been revealed.
Investigators have been searching around the couple's Clarksburg home, a rural wooded area on a dead-end road, and other areas of interest with the help of Berkshire Mountain Search and Rescue. Capeless noted turkey hunting season begins on Monday is asking hunters to be observant.
"We are not asking the public to conduct searches," he said. "But to be aware during normal activities and report anything suspicious and leave the investigating to professionals."
Reilly had not-guilty pleas entered on her behalf and her case was continued to a pre-trial conference on May 22. She was released on $1,500 bail.
The investigation has also been assisted by the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force, the Berkshire County sheriff's office, Clarksburg Police Chief Michael Williams, North Adams Police Director Michael Cozzaglio, Easthampton Police Chief Robert J. Alberti, Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper, and their officers.
"Returning Joanne Ringer to her family is the most important thing we can do," Capeless said. "We have been focused on that from day one."