Memorial Service for Danny Croteau to be held next week

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The family of Danny Croteau will be holding a graveside memorial service on Monday.

The family will be in Hillcrest Cemetery Monday at noon to remember their brother. Reverend James Scahill will preside over the service.

Defrocked Priest Richard Lavigne, who was identified as the person responsible for the murder of Croteau, presided his funeral mass in 1972 before being identified as the suspect.

According to the statement of facts sent to 22News from the Hampden DA’s Office, on April 15, 1972, 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. According to an autopsy report filed in the case, Danny’s cause of death was ruled to be “as the result of multiple blunt injuries of the head with fractures of the skull and lacerations of the brain.”

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.

Lavigne met the Croteau family in 1967, while he was assigned to the Croteaus’ parish, Saint Catherine of Sienna in Springfield. Croteau and his four brothers had served as altar boys at Saint Catherine’s and assisted Lavigne at Mass. The statement of facts said that investigators determined that Lavigne initially lied about the last time he had seen Croteau and witnesses disputed Lavigne’s claim that he was never alone with Croteau.

The DA said he believes that if Lavigne was still alive, investigators are confident that they would have enough evidence to charge him with murder.

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