Authorities searching for link between burned human remains found in Bridgewater and Hyde Park

Authorities are investigating whether there is a connection between partial human remains found in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood this morning and partial human remains found on fire about 30 miles away, in a barrel on the grounds of the Department of Correction complex in Bridgewater.

Officials are seen at a crime scene of a reported burned body in Hyde Park, Massachusetts November 14, 2013. (Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe)
Investigators at the scene in Hyde Park (Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe)
The Boston Globe

Boston police are in Hyde Park where a human torso was discovered around 9:22 a.m. Thursday near 20 Readville St., according to several witnesses and a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

Workers for a landscaping and street repair business that leases space on the property arrived around 7 a.m. today and were surprised to smell what they thought was the odor of an early morning barbecue.

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“But after a while it was a foul smell,’’ said a company employee who asked not to be identified by name because of the ongoing homicide investigation.

Prompted by the odor, the employee said, workers went to the rear of the one-story building, where they saw a smoldering human torso; the legs, arms and head had been removed.

“Gruesome,’’ the employee said. “It’s unbelievable.’’

Also on the property this morning was a man who identified himself only as a plumber named Tom. He said he smelled the odor, and like the other workers, saw the human torso, which had been dumped near a large red trash dumpster on the property.

Tom said he and another man then reviewed video from surveillance cameras. That showed, he said, a vehicle, possibly an SUV, arriving sometime between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. today.

“It’s dark [in the video], but you can see a car pull in and a shadow come out,’’ he said. He said someone — he is not sure if it was a man or a woman — walked away from the vehicle, tossed an object on to the ground, and set it on fire.

The person then got back into the vehicle to leave. The vehicle paused at the end of the driveway, with the driver putting on the left turn signal, before turning onto Readville Street, Tom said.

Also today, State Police and Correction officials are in the woods off Titicut Street in Bridgewater on the sprawling Department of Correction complex where Bridgewater firefighters found the burning barrel Wednesday night inside a fire scene.

The death investigations are being overseen by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley and Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz.

“We are working together to investigate a potential link between the two scenes,’’ said Jake Wark, spokesman for Conley.

Bridget Norton Middleton, spokeswoman for Cruz, said that investigators from both offices are trying to see if the two grisly discoveries are linked.

“We are exploring it,’’ she said.

One of the other questions investigators are trying to answer, she said, is where the original crime scene is. “That is one of the questions that investigators are addressing,’’ she said.

In Bridgewater, according to Cruz’s office, some human remains were found burning inside a barrel after firefighters responded to a blaze in a wooded area off Titicut Street around 7:51 p.m. Wednesday.

The barrel, “with its contents on fire,” appeared to contain “partial human remains,” Cruz said in a statement.

Investigators are combing the area for evidence.

Officials said the state medical examiner will try to identify the victim and determine the cause of death.

Titicut Street is one of the access points to the Department of Correction complex off Route 18, which includes Bridgewater State Hospital, the Old Colony Correctional Center, the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the sexually dangerous, and a substance abuse treatment center

Boston police asked anyone with information to call detectives at District E-18 in Hyde Park at 617-343-5607.

Tips can also be provided by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-494-TIPS (8477) or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).