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Man’s remains are found behind Norwood middle school

Norwood -- A dog walker on Wednesday discovered the remains of a man who suffered “significant trauma” and whose body was apparently dumped behind a middle school here, officials said.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey declined to provide details of the trauma during an evening briefing behind the Dr. Philip O. Coakley Middle School and near the crime scene.

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“We don’t believe that the trauma that the body sustained occurred at this location,” Morrissey said.

He said the remains were discovered shortly after 4:30 p.m. in a wooded area behind the school. The death is being investigated as a homicide.

As Morrissey spoke, investigators were still combing the scene, which was located a few hundred yards behind the school near a football field, a baseball diamond, and a track.

The district attorney said investigators were unsure Wednesday night where the man had initially been attacked. He asked members of the public to come forward with any information they may have, including anyone they know who may be missing.

Morrissey said after the briefing that the victim was “not a young male,” but then added that he could have been “anything from teens up.”

“Identification is going to be slow and painful,” he added. “The body has suffered significant trauma.”

He said during the briefing that authorities do not believe the remains belong to James J. Robertson, a 37-year-old Avon man who was last seen on New Year’s Day climbing into a passenger car with two men. Morrissey’s office is also investigating that case.

He said it appeared that Coakley Middle School would be open on Thursday.

Asked if the school had any surveillance cameras that could be helpful, Morrissey said, “That’s a question that will be asked by the investigators.”

Paul Samargedlis, a School Committee member, said at the scene that he felt school would be in session on Thursday.

“I’m confident in the feedback that I got from the police chief and the DA, that I relayed to our superintendent, school will go on tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll make the proper adjustments.”

He said the crime scene is in an area where machinery and equipment are stored.

One parent of a Coakley student arrived in the school parking lot Wednesday evening after the briefing to find out what happened.

The man, who would only give his first name, Chris, took the news of the grisly discovery in stride.

“How he died, that’s the thing,” Chris said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.
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