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FBI OPERATION IN SHEFFIELD

The FBI was searching for a body last week in Sheffield. Agents did not find it, sources confirm

The body was reportedly that of a man who was from or died in Danbury, Conn.

Sheffield FBI investigation

Multiple law enforcement agencies led by the FBI Friday continued to work at the edge of a cornfield in Sheffield as they search for specific evidence as part of an ongoing investigation.

SHEFFIELD — The FBI last week was looking for the body of an out-of-state person when it led a search in the Housatonic River and on an adjacent cornfield next to a rest area off Route 7.

But multiple law enforcement agencies did not find it, sources in law enforcement familiar with the investigation told The Eagle, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Sources also confirmed that the body was that of a person who either lived in Danbury, Conn., or died there, but said the FBI did not provide other details about the nature of their ongoing investigation.

One person said it was unclear whether search crews would return to the area.

The search that began either late Tuesday or Wednesday morning sparked worry in this farming community, given the large police presence for three days, and two days of what appeared to be digging with an excavator and other equipment.

An FBI spokesperson declined to answer questions Monday about whether the agency would move its search to another location in Berkshire County, nor comment on whether the agency could reassure residents that there is no threat to public safety.

Kristen Setera of the FBI’s Boston Division said last week that the public was not in danger, but could not offer more information to “protect the integrity of the investigation.”

Setera said the search was a hunt for “specific evidence.”

The investigation is not connected to any Berkshire County cases, Sheffield police said in a statement last week, amid speculation that it was related to the recent disappearance of a New York state woman whose car was found in South Lee.

The search initially began in the river at a rest area near Sheffield Pottery, then moved up the bank to the field near a cluster of trees in a 156-acre cornfield. The Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office had its boats and divers at the scene.

Law enforcement vehicles and equipment used in the search on Friday afternoon exited a narrow dirt farm road adjacent to a house and outbuildings on Boardman Street, which runs parallel to Route 7 on the other side of the river.

Residents said they were troubled at the thought of people from out of state coming to the Berkshires to dispose of a body; and in this case, in a residential area shared with large tracts of farmland. The town borders Connecticut, and this stretch of state highway is a gateway to the county from there as well as New York.

In the village of Sheffield last week, people said they knew police were searching for the body of a Danbury, Conn., man.

“They were looking in the river first and then they went to dig,” said Jeremy Barcomb, working the register at Gulotta’s Mobil station.

At Silk’s Variety package store, some people were mystified by the enormous police presence. Others had already heard about the search for a body.

“It’s a really small town,” said Jamie Seward, who works at Silk’s, speaking of the way word gets around fast.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or 413-329-6871.

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