Police investigating dead body near Mill River

  • Police respond to a report of a dead body off the Manhan Rail Trail near the Mill River in Northampton on Friday morning. STAFF PHOTO/MICHAEL CONNORS

Staff Writer
Published: 10/4/2019 1:11:08 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Police are investigating a dead body found near the Mill River off the Manhan Rail Trail that, according to a person who alerted authorities, was a man in a tent. 

Northampton Det. Lt. Craig Kirouac said police are investigating the death, though he did not disclose any more information. On Friday morning, three police cruisers were found parked on the Manhan Rail Trail near Veterans’ Field. At least five officers were seen interviewing people in a homeless camp in the woods.

Jesse Odle, 23, said he was sleeping under a bridge Friday morning when his friends found him and said they had noticed a body in a tent near where they were sleeping. Odle, who said he is CPR- and first aid-certified, immediately jumped on his friend’s bicycle, rode down the rail trail past Veterans’ Field toward the bridge over the Mill River, and followed a trail off the left side of the path where he found the body. 

“He was in a ripped-up tent with no tarp,” Odle said, noting some other tents around the area are also ripped and that the man was partially clothed when he found him.  

The man appeared to be in his 30s or 40s and was found face down, his head buried in a blanket, Odle said. Inside the tent were blankets, clothes and trash, he said. 

“I tried to get him to respond by yelling, and there was no response,” he said, adding that he called the police soon after, around 9:30 a.m.

“The only reason I didn’t check for a pulse is because I didn’t think I was in the position to do so,” Odle added.

Odle said authorities disclosed to him that they had found recently used drug paraphernalia in the tent along with what appeared to be empty heroin bags. Odle said he didn’t notice any drugs in the tent.  

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com. 

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