Law enforcement officials Friday afternoon, June 6, asked the public’s assistance in identifying an African-American man whose body, found Wednesday evening at Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, was missing a head, both arms and both legs.
At a press conference at Barnstable Superior Court House, Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe appealed to anyone in New England who could help identify the man, who was wearing a blue promotional T-shirt distributed by the Cranston Windustrial business of Warwick, Rhode Island.
The body was found inside a tarp affixed to a dolly. In addition to the T-shirt, the deceased was clothed in black sweat pants.
Mr. O'Keefe said the removal of the head and limbs had compromised the authorities' usual method of identifying a deceased person.1
Officials distributed glossy photographs of the front and back of the T-shirt, as well as of the dolly, to members of the media to convey to the public.
Mr. O’Keefe said the man had died fairly recently, but he did not provide a more precise time frame.
Officials calculate that the man was 70 to 72 inches in height (or just under six feet to six feet), and weighed from 220 to 230 pounds. They said he showed no sign of natural disease, but had a surgical scar, measuring three to four inches, in his abdominal area.
Mr. O’Keefe said the torso itself showed no sign of injury. He said the severing of the head or any of the limbs would have caused immediate or eventual death.
In a written statement, the district attorney appealed to anyone who recognized the T-shirt and may have seen someone fitting the general description of the deceased man to call police at 508-790-5799.
He further appealed to anyone who recognized the dolly or knows someone missing a dolly of that description to call police at 508-790-5799.
At about 8 PM Wednesday, Mr. O’Keefe stated, a passerby at the Town Neck Beach parking lot noticed a suspicious object wrapped in a tarp and called Sandwich police.
The Sandwich police in turn alerted state police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office.
Crime scene investigators processed the scene through the night. Careful removal of the wrapping revealed the headless, limbless torso.
At the Friday afternoon press conference, Mr. O’Keefe said the body had been transported to and dropped next to the beach parking lot. As such, investigators are treating the place where the body was found as a secondary crime scene, with the primary crime scene still unknown.
Mr. O’Keefe said investigators believe the body was left next to the parking lot sometime from Monday to Wednesday.
He asked that members of the public who may have been in the vicinity of Town Neck Beach from Monday, June 2 through Wednesday, June 4 to report any suspicious vehicles or unusual activity they might have observed in that area during that period of time. Members of the public may report such activity by calling the police at 508-790-5799.
Following the discovery of the T-shirt on the torso, Mr. O’Keefe said, investigators traveled to Warwick to interview members of Cranston Windustrial, which sells automatic faucets.
The district attorney said people at the business have been very cooperative. They told investigators that particular T-shirt, was a promotional item given to customers about six to eight years ago. The shirt carries the motto, “I Got Serviced.”
In response to questions at the press conference, Mr. O’Keefe said that although they are appealing to New England residents for help in solving the case, the man may have died outside the region – or, on the other hand, somewhere else on Cape Cod.
A possible sign that the crime was committed off-Cape is that Town Neck Beach is one of the first major beaches east of the Sagamore Bridge.
As for the residents of Sandwich, police chief Peter Wack said at the June 6 press conference that the case has not placed them in danger.
Updated, June 6, 2014: Additional details from press conference added.
Updated, June 7, 2014: 1. This sentence was added.