Foul Play Feared in Fate of Missing Men
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rumors abound as tight-lipped authorities continue to investigate the disappearance of three men missing from Pittsfield since Aug. 28. David Glasser, Robert Chadwell and Edward Frampton have not been seen since late Aug. 27.
Following the extensive search of Pittsfield State Forest this weekend through Monday, the investigation has turned to repeated interviews and questioning of neighbors of the missing men and associates of Hells Angel officer Adam Lee "Leo" Hall, whose prosecution Glasser is considered to be a key witness for.
Meanwhile, unsubstantiated but persistent rumors that one or more dead bodies were recovered during the search have circulated since Monday. Variations that one, two, or all three bodies were discovered have been repeated to this reporter by more than a dozen people in different areas of Pittsfield.
Caterer Ed Lyons, who owns a cabin at Ponderosa Pine Camp Ground, very near to the area blocked off on Potter Mountain Road during the massive search, said, "The gossip going around here is they found them dead."
Jim Sweener of Pittsfield reported seeing an apparently abandoned car being towed by Sayer's Auto Wrecking out of the State Forest area during the police search on Sunday.
"It was a Ford Festiva, maybe around 1997 or 1998, green and black," said Sweener, "No plates on it."
Pittsfield Police have not responded to inquiries about a possible relationship between this car and the case of the missing men.
The rumors, however unsubstantiated, seem to reflect a growing feeling that foul play may be involved. Speculation has abounded about the possible connection between Glasser's role as a key witness in the prosecution of Hall, of Peru, who has been in custody since the afternoon of Aug. 28, and the disappearance of Glasser and his two friends.
While police and Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless have been reticent to comment on this possibility in the press, some sources close to the missing men seem convinced that something tragic has taken place.
One of them is Robert Chadwell's brother Lester, also of Linden Street, who told The Berkshire Eagle on Monday, "We'll never hear from them again, and you can quote me on that."
Chadwell told iBerkshires he did not recognize the description of the recovered Ford from State Forest as belonging to any of the three men, nor anyone else he could think of that might be related to the case.
When asked if he knew of any frequent hangouts or spots the missing men might have been around the time they were last seen, Chadwell indicated that they tended to stick close to home. "From over there to over here," he said, indicating the apartment at 254 Linden to his own address across the street, "That's about it."
General consensus among other neighbors of the missing men, who declined to provide their names, agree that there would have been some word from or sign of one of the trio, "unless something very bad happened," as one Linden Street resident phrased it.
No neighbors, however, have publicly reported seeing anything either the night of Aug. 27 or the morning of Aug. 28 that offers any clues to the missing men's whereabouts. Police reported that the apartment at 254 Linden St. showed no sign of a struggle, though cell phones said to belong to them were found at the premises.
David Glasser is thought to be a key witness against Hall.
Despite the fact that Hall, the reputed sergeant at arms for the Berkshire County Hells Angels, has not been officially named as a suspect, a significant amount of time and attention has been given by investigators to establishing Hall's activities leading up to the date the three men went missing.
Two individuals, who also wished not to be identified, say they had been questioned multiple times since Friday by police and detectives attached to the case about their relationship to Hall and knowledge of his whereabouts.
"That's all they asked about," said one young woman who was questioned on repeated occasions, referring to "Leo," aka Hall. "When I'd seen him, where he'd been, who he'd been with. They said they'd pulled his phone records and were putting it together."
She told iBerkshires that as far as she knew, the dispute between the missing Glasser and Hall began when Glasser stole a car part from him in 2009. Hall then allegedly lured the man to his home in Peru, where he proceeded to beat him with a baseball bat. "It's just been escalating since then."
"[Capt.] Barry and the other detectives wanted to know everything I could tell them about Hall, when I'd seen him, if I knew this person or that person seen with him," said another Pittsfield man questioned. "The whole case seems to be about him now."
Hall is currently being held without the right to bail for 60 days at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. He was arraigned Tuesday on new charges of extortion and child pornography, while his trial for previous drug and assault charges begins next week. He is also facing charges of kidnapping, witness intimidation, and with trying to frame witness Glasser with a fictitious crime.
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Body of Missing Pittsfield Man Recovered
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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Vermont Sisters Missing
SHAFTSBURY, Vt. — State police are seeking information on two teenage sisters who have been missing since Thursday from their home at 16 Cory Drive.
Kasey C. Bezio, 16, and Kayla L. Bezio, 17, were last seen on BenMont Avenue in Bennington.
Kayla is 5-foot-7, 140 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair, and has braces and a pierced nose. Kasey is 5-foot-6, 130 pounds, with blue eyes and blonde hair.
The Vermont State Police are encouraging anyone with information regarding these missing juveniles to contact the barracks. The teens are under age 18 and by state law are considered juveniles. Anyone providing a place for the juveniles to live is a crime of sheltering or harboring a runaway.
Anyone with information on the girls is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Helaine Gaiotti at the Shaftsbury barracks at 802-442-5421.
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Bear in Air Locates Savoy Hunter
The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing last night located a hunter who had gone missing in a forest in Savoy.
A state police helicopter crew found the hunter, a 62-year-old Savoy man, at 10:50 p.m. in a wooded area by using the aircraft's forward-looking infrared camera. The hunter was located about one-third of a mile from the point where he had entered the woods almost nine hours earlier.
The helicopter crew directed state police ground units to the hunter's location. Troopers on the ground and local firefighters determined that he had suffered potentially serious injuries but was conscious and appeared to be in stable condition. The helicopter crew illuminated the scene using a high-powered searchlight mounted under the nose of the aircraft while rescue personnel removed the hunter to an ambulance for transport to an area hospital.
State Police had begun searching for the hunter at 5:50 p.m., when his wife called the barracks in Cheshire to report him missing. She told troopers he had entered the woods at about 2 p.m. wearing fluorescent orange clothing and was usually home by dark. Troopers and state police dogs began a ground search. At approximately 10 p.m., the Air Wing unit was dispatched from its base in Westover and located the hunter less than an hour later.
State police are not releasing the hunter's name or the nature of his injuries at this time.
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