Plastic yellow fuel can sought by authorities

By Shaun Moriarty
Citizen Chronicle Writer
shaun@thecitizenchronicle.com

WEST BROOKFIELD — Police are asking for the public’s help in the investigation into the homicides of a mother and her three young children, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

The District Attorney announced on Saturday afternoon that investigators are asking anyone who has seen a discarded plastic yellow fuel can to call the Massachusetts State Police Dispatch Center at 508-867-1170. Yellow is the color of cans used to store diesel fuel. Police have determined that a yellow fuel can appears to be missing from the home.

Investigators are also asking for anyone in the West Brookfield area with active home or business surveillance cameras or dashboard-mounted cameras to call the State Police Dispatch Center. “Anyone who was traveling on Old Warren Road last Wednesday evening” with such a camera or seeing anything out of the ordinary is encouraged to contact authorities, Mr. Early said in a press conference on Saturday afternoon. His comments suggested the homicides took place at some point during the “Wednesday, Thursday timeframe.”

The bodies of Sara Bermudez, aged 38, and her three children — daughter Madison Bermudez, aged 8, and sons James Bermudez, aged 6, and Michael Bermudez, aged 2 — were found during a welfare check on Thursday afternoon. West Brookfield Police Chief C. Thomas O’Donnell said earlier this week that his department arrived at the 10 Old Warren Road home around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday to conduct a welfare check, and it was at that time that “officers found the four victims in an upstairs bedroom.”

Sources have reported to The Citizen Chronicle that it appears some of the bodies had been burned. Mr. Early was unable to confirm those reports, or provide any information as to possible suspects, motives, how the perpetrators entered or exited the home, or any additional theories. “This is a very active and ongoing criminal investigation,” the District Attorney said. “We are relatively young into the investigation.”

Mr. Early said a cause of death has not yet been officially determined. “The Medical Examiner’s Office is almost complete with their autopsies,” he explained. “There are a couple of things we’re still waiting for.”

With so many questions and so few answers for residents of this otherwise quiet town of 3,700 people, officials attempted to calm fears while also urging locals to keep their eyes and ears open. “We think the public should remain safe, careful and vigilant with regards to this investigation,” Mr. Early said. “We’re asking the public to remain vigilant and careful.” He later urged residents to contact authorities if they “see anything out of the ordinary.”

Madison and James Bermudez were enrolled as students at West Brookfield Elementary School. The school had an added police presence on Friday, as well as grief counselors available to students and staff. New England Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder visited with students on Friday, helping to lift their spirits during a difficult time.

The deaths are being investigated by the State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s office in conjunction with West Brookfield Police.

Story updated March 3, 4:09 p.m.

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