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After months of wondering how and why a women’s body ended up on the residential Providence Road in Westford last winter, residents finally have a few answers.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan issued a press release on Oct. 2, accusing Daniel Perras, 56, of Easthampton with leaving the body of Melissa Mestre, 38, on the side of the road.
The revelation brought relief to a neighborhood of residents who wondered if they were safe in their own homes.
“There’s no more mystery, hanging over it as to what happened,” said Avery Adam of Providence Road. “…I hope there’s closure now for the family.”
Mestre’s family members waited for months to learn what happened to her. According to Ryan, Westford Police Chief Thomas McEnaney praised those officers who unraveled the case.
“I am grateful to the dedicated work of the police officers who never gave up on this case,” said McEnaney. “This was a lengthy and complicated investigation conducted by our Westford Officers in collaboration with Massachusetts State Police and the District Attorney’s Office. I commend the officers who worked tirelessly on this case to provide some answers to Ms. Mestre’s family and hold Mr. Perras accountable for his actions.”
Ryan stated that Perras allegedly picked up Mestre from her Springfield home on January 31 and drove her to the Haverhill area. But sometime during the trip Mestre overdosed on an unidentified drug and died.
“After realizing Ms. Mestre was dead, the defendant allegedly got off the highway in Westford and left Ms. Mestre’s body on an embankment along the side of the road,” Ryan stated in her press release.
The body was discovered on Feb. 2 by a dog-walker. Ryan said Mestre was not dressed to keep her warm enough in the winter temperatures. The case was referred to the Office of the state’s Chief Medical Examiner who identified Mestre by her fingerprints.
Ryan called Perras “a habitual criminal.” According to published reports, Perras was most recently arrested this spring. On April 23 the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported that Perras was “charged with possession with intent to distribute a class A drug, and possession with intent to distribute a class D drug.”
According to the Gazette, “investigators seized drug paraphernalia,” from Perras’ home, as well as “drug packaging materials, 400 bags of heroin, marijuana and $16,287 believed to be proceeds from illegal drug sales,” police said.
Perras was directly indicted on Oct. 1, meaning his case will go directly to trial. He was to be arraigned the next day in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.
Adam reflected on the events that had put her neighborhood on edge.
“It is nice to know the truth…but it’s sad to hear what actually happened,” she said.