WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Police had a section of Stanley Park in Westfield blocked off after a body was discovered in the area late Thursday afternoon.
Jim Leydon, Hampden District Attorney’s Office spokesman, confirmed with 22News that State Police detectives assigned to the DA’s office and the Westfield Police Department are handling the investigation as a homicide.
The body was discovered in the park, located at 400 Western Ave., near the Kensington Ave. entrance. 22News spoke residents who live near the park. They said their neighborhood is usually very quiet and that this discovery is shocking.
At first glance, it was a typical night at Stanely Park. Kids playing soccer, people out for walks and runs. Lisa Darlington takes her dog, Dixie, for a run nearly every evening.
“It’s gorgeous,” said Darlington. “It’s so well kept. It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful.”
But, that evening jog was interrupted by a police investigation. Megan Woodruff lives on Kensington Avenue and saw her neighborhood was busier than usual when she returned home from school.
“I just came home from school and my dad was home so he texted us,” said Woodruff. “The police have been here since the afternoon.”
Kensington Ave. has been blocked off for much of the afternoon and into the evening. They also have tarps draped over the park’s fence leading into Stanley Park.
Police also used yellow caution tape to cordon off the area and posted “Road Closed” signs. Police cruisers were also positioned on either side of Kensington. Investigators even interviewed neighbors.
“They asked my dad if we had cameras on our house or if we heard anything around 8:30 last night,” said Woodruff. “I didn’t know what to think.”
Stanley Park closed its gate at 8 p.m. but Westfield Police officers and detectives assigned to the Hampden DA’s office spent much of the evening combing over a crime scene just inside the fence to Stanley Park. Police used large lights to illuminate the area.
The medical examiner’s vehicle was seen leaving the crime scene just before 11 p.m.
This is developing breaking news. 22News will bring you updates as we learn more.