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Swansea woman’s death investigated

Authorities say she was likely a homicide victim

SWANSEA — Officials are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found in her home early Saturday on a seaside street lined with modest one- and two-story single-family houses.

Around 5:35 a.m. Saturday, Swansea police received a 911 call about “a deceased woman inside her home” on Ocean Grove Avenue, according to a statement released by Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter’s ­office.

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Lisa Mello , 51, was “likely the victim of a homicide,” the statement said.

Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the Bristol district attorney, said in a phone interview that a family member found Mello and called police.

Miliote said Mello was not married but would not comment on whether she was involved in a relationship. He said she had children but he did not know how many.

Swansea police, State Police, and the district attorney’s office are investigating, Miliote said. He would not comment on a possible cause of death, but said the State Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy.

Local police and state troopers assigned to the district ­attorney’s office stood outside Mello’s white two-story home Saturday afternoon.

Set behind a weathered white picket fence, the house overlooks the Swansea Town Beach and Mount Hope Bay. Children’s toys were visible in the yard and, behind the house, a pair of pants hung on a clothesline.

Neighbor Lisa Vieira said that she has lived on the street for nine years and that Mello had been there at least as long.

Vieira described Mello as a “nice girl” who looked after her mother, who uses a wheelchair. She said Mello’s parents live next door to their daughter’s home.

No one responded to a knock on the door of the parents’ home Saturday afternoon.

Vieira said she believed that Mello has a grown son and daughter, and that she often spent time with her grandchildren, who would play in her front yard and walk down to the beach with Mello.

Vieira and other neighbors said they neither heard nor saw anything out of the ordinary Saturday morning before police arrived.

Another neighbor, Suzanne Dumais, said she had known Mello for 36 years and had “no inkling” anything bad would happen.

“I’ve always got along with Lisa. Never had any misunderstandings,” Dumais said in a brief phone interview Saturday. “You respected Lisa and she respected you. I really liked her a lot.”

Mello worked five days a week, possibly in a restaurant, Dumais said.

Dumais said did not hear any disturbance early Saturday. She said State Police interviewed her and other neighbors on Saturday morning.

Another neighbor, Cindy ­Oliveira, said she did not know Mello well and the news of her death was a shock.

This neighborhood “is usually quiet,” she said. “People walk here, jog here. It’s basically a very quiet neighborhood. You never know, I guess.”

Dale, a neighbor who declined to give her last name, said she knew Mello to say hello, but not well. She, too, was shocked by the crime.

“It’s a small town,” she said of Swansea. “I used to keep my door unlocked.”

Dale said she started locking her doors earlier this year after a string of robberies was reported on nearby Gardners Neck Road.

Miliote said police do not believe Mello’s death to be related to any other crime in the area.

No arrests have been made, and no further details were immediately available.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Chris Stuck-Girard be reached at chrisstuckgirard@gmail.com.
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