SANDWICH — The mutilated body was found Wednesday night wrapped in a tarp and strapped to a dolly on Town Neck Beach, its head, arms, and legs missing.
It was clad in a blue T-shirt that read “I Got Serviced” and bore the name of a Rhode Island company.
The gruesome mystery stunned this Cape Cod community and puzzled investigators who asked the public Friday for help in identifying the victim. The body is believed to have been left on the beach between Monday and 7 or 8 p.m. Wednesday, when it was found by someone walking on the beach.
“We are seeking information from the public regarding this discovery,” said Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe during a press conference Friday afternoon at the Barnstable County Complex.
Calling the death a homicide, he said any of the wounds inflicted on the torso could have resulted in death. The usual methods for identifying the body, he said, were compromised by the mutilation.
The body was affixed to a blue dolly and was wearing black sweat-type pants and the blue T-shirt bearing the name of Cranston Windustrial Co., O’Keefe said. The Warwick, R.I., business specializes in industrial-size fire suppression systems for big buildings.
He said the T-shirt was produced about six to eight years ago and was distributed by the thousands by the company.
“The hope is that somebody might remember that shirt,” O’Keefe said. “They’re a little unusual.”
He also urged people to step forward if they recognized the dolly or knew of such a dolly being missing.
The victim was a black man who was 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, weighed 220 to 230 pounds, and had a 3 to 4-inch surgical scar on the right side of his abdomen, O’Keefe said.
Based on the condition of the body, O’Keefe said the slaying was “a fairly recent event.”
Police went to the beach Wednesday evening to respond to a report of a suspicious object and found it wrapped in trash bags and the tarp. They discovered the body after carefully removing the wrapping, O’Keefe said.
Authorities have said they do not believe the man was killed on the beach. He could have died anywhere in New England or even farther away, said O’Keefe, who urged people anywhere in the region to call in with tips if they feel they have pertinent information. “We want to cast a fairly broad net on this,” he said.
Jim Laughrea, who said he lives about a half-mile from where the body was discovered, said two Sandwich police officers visited his home looking for help Thursday.
“They wanted to know if we had cameras on the house that might have captured anything on the beach,” Laughrea said in a phone interview.
Investigators worked through the night to collect evidence and want to hear from anyone who may have noticed any vehicles operating erratically around the beach between Monday and Wednesday, O’Keefe said.
Officials with the Warwick company did not respond to a phone call and e-mail.
O’Keefe said officials do not believe this case is linked to the death of Dennis Ray Jackson, who was killed and his body dismembered last fall. Parts of Jackson’s body were found burning in November in a barrel near the Bridgewater Correctional Complex and behind an industrial building in Boston’s Hyde Park section.
“We don’t feel they’re linked because of some particular facts of our case,” he said.
Sandwich police said they have found no evidence of any danger to people living on Town Neck Road or visiting the beach, but extra patrols have been added.
The discovery alarmed residents, nonetheless.
Pralay Som, a Needham resident who has a summer home on Town Neck Road, said he and some friends went to the boardwalk late Monday afternoon where they saw families out enjoying the beautiful, summerlike weather. After driving back to Needham, Som said he learned that the body had been found Wednesday night.
“We consider that place to be such a nice place, safe place,” Som said in a phone interview. “To hear such gruesome news in that area is hard to take.”
Sharon Kalweit, 68, said she worried the news was keeping her young granddaughters awake at night.
“I know they have nightmares about it,” Kalweit said. “I just hope their parents keep them away from the TV tonight.”
Michael Machonis, whose family has owned a home on Town Neck Road for 60 years, said that he has never heard of anything like that occurring in Sandwich.
“This is a retiree neighborhood,” the 63-year-old man said. “No drug houses, no crackhouses, I mean everyone has fun here.”