NORTH ADAMS -- Police are searching for a 2005 blue Ford Taurus sedan as part of the ongoing homicide investigation in the death of city resident Ellen DePaoli.
The car is missing from DePaoli's 409 Walker St. residence and was registered to DePaoli with the license plate 88ZA27, according to a Thursday press release from the Berkshire District Attorney's office.
Investigators are asking anyone who may have information about the whereabouts of the vehicle to call the North Adams Police Department at 413-664-4944.
Frederick Lantz, spokesman for the district attorney's office, declined to comment Thursday morning on why investigators are searching for the car or how it may be linked to the investigation. He also declined to comment on whether police were searching for or had any suspects in custody, as the investigation is ongoing.
DePaoli, 84, who was a long-time cafeteria supervisor at Drury High School, was found dead inside her home by police Tuesday night. Police were responding to a 911 call at 8 that night, during which the caller reported the death. The person who made the 911 call remains unidentified by the district attorney's office.
An autopsy to determine the exact cause of death is being performed today at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston.
"We're hoping to get the results today," Lantz said.
Investigators from the North Adams Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police were at the house Wednesday. A state police helicopter was seen circling the house and surrounding area midmorning and state police K-9 units were also called to the scene. Police also reportedly searched the nearby woods on all-terrain vehicles later in the evening.
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright reiterated Thursday that city schools were not closed Wednesday because he had been reassured by investigators there was "no imminent or immediate threat" to the community. However, he said Superintendent James E. Montepare did decide to put all of the city's schools on "soft lockdown" Wednesday.
"If there was imminent danger or an immediate threat, we would have kept our schools closed," Alcombright said. "The superintendent made the decision to put the schools into a type of lockdown that essentially meant the school day went on as normal but the kids didn't go out to recess. He took a step of extra precaution. It was a decision I supported. We really felt we didn't have anything to worry about, but it was a decision that was made to give our parents and our students an extra sense of security."