SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Family and loved ones of Danny Croteau gathered Monday for a memorial service at Hillcrest Cemetery following long-awaited closure in his murder case.
A memorial service was held at Hillcrest Cemetery in Springfield with about 100 family and friends in attendance. They were there to remember their brother who was killed in April 1972 by defrocked Priest Richard Lavigne. Lavigne was never charged in the case. An arrest warrant for Lavigne was authorized just hours before his death last month.
Croteau’s body was found in the Chicopee River still dressed in his clothes from his previous school day at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School. After Danny’s murder, retired Priest Richard Lavigne became a person of interest in the early stages of the investigation because of the inconsistent and unusual statements he had made to investigators days after the murder.
The 50 year-old case was closed in May by District Attorney Anthony Gullini, who was also at Monday’s ceremony. The DA said he believes that if Lavigne was still alive, investigators would have enough evidence to charge him with murder.
Lavigne presided over Danny’s funeral mass back in 1972. An arrest warrant for Lavigne was authorized just hours before his death last month.
Those that attended the event on Monday said it was a touching ceremony. Reverend James Scahill, retired Pastor of St. Michael’s in East Longmeadow, presided over of the service.
- Danny Croteau cold case closed after suspect Richard Lavigne died
- Diocese of Springfield on outcome of Danny Croteau cold case: The church must do better
- Former priest Richard Lavigne who died last week named as Danny Croteau’s killer in ’72
The case is now officially closed.