Updated Dec. 11
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe’s office has reportedly identified the body found on Menemsha Beach, but is not yet releasing the identity.
DA spokeswoman Tara Miltimore is quoted by the Vineyard Gazette as saying the body is not one of the three missing fishermen from the FV Leonardo, which sank off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard on Nov. 24. She said foul play has been ruled out, according to the newspaper.
Miltimore has not returned repeated messages over several days to The Times. Finally, on Wednesday, she wrote in an email to editor George Brennan, “I am not interested in talking with you.” The Times has written editorials critical of the DA’s handling of Assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard, who was disciplined by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.
The body of an unidentified male was discovered on the beach Saturday morning, Senior Chief Justin Longval, USCG officer in charge of Station Menemsha, told The Times. On Saturday, police and other emergency personnel were at Menemsha Beach for several hours during the active investigation. The public was kept away from a large section of the beach for most of the day after a woman found the body while she was walking her dog.
The Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office remains in charge of investigating the body, State Police Det. Dustin Shaw told The Times Tuesday. Shaw credited the Coast Guard for playing a vital role in the investigation, including helping a State Police crime-scene photographer get to the Island from New Bedford.
He referred further questions to O’Keefe’s office.
According to a press release issued Saturday by Chilmark Police, the body was discovered at about 11 am. Police responded to the scene, and “confirmed the remains were of a deceased human,” the release states.
At the scene Saturday, the State Police forensic specialist arrived via Coast Guard motor lifeboat at about 2 pm. He was greeted at the Menemsha fuel dock by Det. Shaw. Shaw and the specialist rode by ATV to the body. Chilmark Fire Chief Jeremy Bradshaw, Massachusetts Environmental Police Lt. Matt Bass, Chilmark Police Chief Jonathan Klaren, Chilmark Police Sgt. Sean Slavin, and Chilmark Police Officer Elizabeth Rogers were all on the scene.
At about 2:30, the ATV returned to the Menemsha Beach parking lot with the body. The body, which was wrapped in a red tarp, was driven to the Station Menemsha boathouse, and loaded onto a 47-foot motor lifeboat. That vessel departed Menemsha Harbor just after 3 pm, and l transported the body to Station Woods Hole, where it was transferred to the state medical examiner, according to Petty Officer Nicole Groll.
Updated with more details. –Ed.