Body found in woods thought to be man who fled from traffic stop in Westfield

While searching Yoniel Monsanto Maldonado's vehicle, police said they found "approximately 250 grams of suspected heroin inside a fanny pack."

A body —one matching the description of a 24-year-old who allegedly fled a traffic stop by police this weekend — was found in a stream in Westfield by a State Police K-9 team Tuesday morning.

Authorities located the body in a swampy, wooded area near Union Street around 11 a.m., State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said by email.

The body matches the description of Yoniel Monsanto Maldonado, a Westfield man who allegedly fled police and ran into the woods during a traffic stop just after midnight on Sunday.

A trooper had stopped Monsanto Maldonado, who was driving a 2003 Subaru Forester on Union Street near Eastwood Drive at the time, after determining that his insurance had been revoked, Procopio said.


A K-9 team attempted to track the suspect through woods and fields along Union Street, Powdermill Brook, and the Westfield River, the spokesman said.

“The K9 team, along with troopers, Westfield Police Officers, and the State Police Air Wing searched the area for several hours but did not locate the suspect,” Procopio noted. “Officers also checked the suspect’s home, on Union Street, and determined he had not returned home.”

While searching Monsanto Maldonado’s vehicle, police said they found “approximately 250 grams of suspected heroin inside a fanny pack.”

Authorities returned to the area Tuesday morning to search for the suspect. They soon found a body, which they believe to be his, in the Powdermill Brook.

Another man’s body was also found in some woods in Westfield this week, but the incident is unrelated, police said.


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