Tuesday March 22, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- A body found Friday near St. Mark School has been identified as Virginia May Brown, a Pittsfield resident who was last seen in early January.

Investigators don't suspect foul play.

"There was medical evidence that she died of exposure," said Detective Capt. Patrick F. Barry of the Pittsfield Police Detective Bureau.

An autopsy was performed Sunday at the state Medical Examiner's Office in Boston. But authorities are awaiting the results of toxicology and other tests before making a final determination on her cause of death, according to a press release from District Attorney David F. Capeless.

Police said a man walking his dog in a wooded area behind the Catholic school on Columbus Avenue Extension discovered a decomposed body Friday afternoon. Police said the dog led the man to the body, which turned out to be the 49-year-old Brown, who was last seen in Pittsfield on Jan. 7 but wasn't reported missing until Jan. 27.

Authorities didn't release information about the discovery of Brown's body until they were contacted by The Eagle on Monday afternoon. The newspaper had received numerous reports about a body found in Pittsfield over the weekend.

It remains unknown what Brown was doing in the woods, but a preliminary investigation suggests she succumbed to the harsh winter weather, Barry said.

Brown resigned her job a few days before she went missing and was last heard from on Jan. 10, when she called her mother and sister at their Georgia home, Barry said.


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