Pittsfield man's body found on Monument Mountain; no foul play suspected


GREAT BARRINGTON - The death of a Pittsfield man, whose body was found Saturday on the Monument Mountain Reservation, is not considered suspicious, according to authorities.

The body of Edward Passetto, 28, was found halfway down the face of the mountain, some five hours after his brother reported him missing, according to Great Barrington police. Authorities publicly identified Passetto on Sunday afternoon after next of kin were notified.

"We don't suspect foul play," said Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless.

During the search for Passetto, investigators came upon a homemade device near the mountaintop that prompted action by the state police bomb squad, but officials said they have not found a link connecting Passetto to the device.

The search for Passetto began shortly after his car was discovered by his brother at the base of Monument Mountain about 5 a.m. Saturday. Authorities immediately organized search teams consisting of area police and fire departments, state police and members of the Berkshire Mountain Search and Rescue Team.

Passetto's body was found about 10 a.m. in an area covered with rocks halfway down the mountain overlooking Route 7. Great Barrington police say it took searchers several hours to remove the body from the rocky terrain.

During the search, Great Barrington police officers say they discovered a device not far from a backpack belonging to Passetto. The device was comprised of toilet paper stuffed with blasting caps, screws and some wires sticking out from one end. The state police bomb disposal unit was called in and, after examining it, detonated the apparatus on the back side of the mountain as a safety precaution.

Following a thorough search of the popular hiking area along Route 7, no other devices were found, according to Great Barrington Police Chief William Walsh. The reservation, which had been closed during the ordeal, was reopened to the public about 3 p.m.

Authorities say Passetto's death and discovery of the device appear to be unrelated.

"Investigators don't believe there's any connection between the device found on Monument Mountain and the young man or his death," Capeless said.

Walsh added a subsequent search of Passetto's apartment "turned up nothing suspicious" to link the Pittsfield man to the device.

Passetto, a Lee native, is a 2004 graduate of Lee Middle and High School where he was a member of Lee High's alpine ski team, coached by his late father, Michael Passetto. Upon graduation, Passetto enlisted in the Marines and in March 2005 was deployed to Iraq. He was no longer a member of the Marines at the time of his death.


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