2-Year-Old Girl Drowns In Pittsfield Swimming Pool
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating the drowning of a 2-year-old girl on Saturday afternoon.
According to Police, Raquel Paris drown in the family swimming pool on Victor Street Saturday. She was found in the water at about 3:15 and first responders were called.
She was rushed to Berkshire Medical Center and pronounced dead shortly after. An autopsy will be performed Tuesday at the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston to determine the cause of death.
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Superior Court Briefs: July 8 - July 17
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Williamstown Police Say Murder Rumors Are Untrue
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Police say if someone was recently raped, murdered and then left on the side of the road, nobody told them.
iBerkshires has fielded inquiries from multiple people over the last two days about a heinous crime. We were asked if about a 12-year-old girl being raped and murdered or if there were two people murdered — both stories ended with the body(s) being left on the side of a Williamstown road. We contacted Williamstown Police and they said that nothing was reported to them.
"If it happened in Williamstown, Mass., then it has not yet been reported to us," Police Chief Kyle Johnson said.
The stories we heard involved Vermont State Police and New York as though the culprits had taken off north after dumping the body(s). We were told traffic had to be rerouted for an investigation.
iBerkshires is betting that with something like this, the Police would hear about it.
We googled Williamstown, murder, bodies, rape, etc. in various combination in hopes to find where the rumor originated.
In Williamstown, N.J., there was a murder last month. But, other than it being a murder, the rest of the details didn't fit. A body found in Williamstown, N.J. in 2005 made news recently because a new reward was offered. But that didn't really match the stories we heard here either.
We also know locally state Police are searching for the body of James "Jamie" Lusher in a pond in Becket. Lusher was killed 21 years ago when he was 16 at the time. Lewis Lent confessed to that murder and he had previously confessed to killing a 12-year-old girl. So... maybe people are conflating those?
But that is about as far iBerkshires went with investigating the rumor because, frankly, we've seen these things before and if there was a murder, we would have heard of a lot more about it. So would the Police. At this point, we're thinking that it unlikely that it happened in Williamstown.
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Lewis Lent Confesses To Third Killing
WESTFIELD, Mass. — One of the county's most notorious murderers confessed to killing a Westfield teenager and leaving the body in a pond in Becket.
Authorities announced on Monday that Lewis Lent Jr. confessed to the 1992 murder of James Lusher, according to multiple news reports.
The 12-year-old was last seen riding his bicycle toward his grandmother's home. There was an intensive search for Lusher, which came to no avail.
On Tuesday, more than 20 years later, authorities will launch a second search for Lucher in Greenwater Pond in Becket.
Lent, who lived in North Adams at the time, is already serving a life sentence for the 1990 murder of 12-year-old Jimmy Bernardo of Pittsfield and the later killing of Sara Ann Wood in Herkimer, N.Y. Lent pled guilty to kidnapping and murder in both of those cases so Lusher is Lent's third confirmed victim.
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Overland Tour Participant Dies from Crash Injuries
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — An eastern Massachusetts woman has died as the result of injuries sustained in Arkansas during bicycle tour organized by Williamstown's Overland Summers.
On Friday, a message on Overland's website confirmed that Merritt Levitan of Milton had died. The company had previously announced it was suspending the tour in which Levitan was participating and making arrangements for the return of the participants.
"Yesterday morning we received confirmation that Merritt Levitan of Milton, Massachusetts, died as a result of injuries sustained in a terrible incident that occurred outside of McCrory, Arkansas, while participating in an Overland bicycle touring program," a note credited to Overland founder and director Tom Costley reads. "Liz and I, and the entire Overland community, are heartsick by this tragic loss. We extend our deepest condolences to Merritt’s family, friends and loved ones."
According to a report on the Associated Press, Levitan was 18.
On Thursday, the company announced its decision to call off the remainder of the American Challenge Two, which was to take a group of 13 bicyclists (including two leaders) from Charletson, S.C., to Los Angeles in six weeks.
On Tuesday, a vehicle hit some of the riders in Woodruff County, Ark., sending seven riders to the hospital.
When the decision was announced Thursday to cancel the remainder of the trip, four were still hospitalized, including one in critical condition.
"Tom and Liz [Costley] spent the evening with the remaining eight group members in Arkansas," read a separate blog entry on the Overland site on Thursday. "Counselors were also present. At this point, we continue to express our deepest concern for the injured individuals and their families and our gratitude for the incredible outpouring of support among the professionals, emergency personnel, law enforcement officers and communities of Arkansas and Tennessee."
Overland is accredited by the American Camp Association and licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. It overs hiking, biking, language and travel experiences worldwide.
From the Associated Press report:
"Prosecutors are considering filing charges against the 21-year-old driver who struck the cyclists, but prosecutor John Bell said no charges had been filed as of Thursday.
"Bell has said there wasn't any evidence of alcohol in the driver's bloodstream, but he said authorities were looking into whether anything else, such as a cellphone, was involved in the crash."
Levitan was a recent graduate of Milton Academy and planned to attend Colgate University in the fall.
"The best way to describe her is that she is the person everyone went to with any kind of problem," Abby Lebovitz, 17, a teammate of Levitans on the Milton girls tennis team, told the Boston Globe. "She was always there for anyone. It didn’t matter if she wasn’t your best friend; she was just there."
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