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Suspect in Dorchester killing found dead in the woods

Manuel Antonio Pires; his daughter Lavinia; and his wife, Maria Helena Rodrigues talked Sunday about their Bowdoin Street neighbors, Audilia DaVeiga and Paulo Rosa.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Family members and neighbors struggled Sunday to understand the deaths that were discovered this weekend of a Dorchester man and a woman who appeared devoted to each other and to their two young boys.

Audilia DaVeiga, 33, was found dead in the couple’s Dorchester home just after 4 p.m. Saturday, Boston police said. Police said her death was the result of a domestic incident and issued an arrest warrant for her partner, Paulo Rosa, 30.

Police did not say how or when DaVeiga died. A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said Sunday the timing and cause of her death will be determined by the state’s chief medical examiner.

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Amid a statewide manhunt, State Police found Rosa’s Infiniti G37 Coupe alongside Interstate 195 near the Rehoboth-Swansea line at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, authorities said, and a State Police helicopter discovered his body in the woods, about 500 feet off the road, three hours later.

Rosa was found hanging from a tree, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

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Earlier in the day, State Police spokesman Matthew Guarino did not provide Rosa’s cause of death but said it was not a gunshot wound and foul play was not suspected.

Boston police Commissioner William B. Evans told reporters outside the couple’s 45 Bowdoin St. home on Saturday that Rosa had no criminal history. He said that the couple’s son, who is about 5, was at the scene late Saturday afternoon but was unharmed. It was unclear whether the boy had been home when his mother died.

Evans said DaVeiga was “well known to us as members of the department,” but declined to elaborate. A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told the Globe Saturday that she was the sister of a Boston police officer.

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On Sunday, the Rev. Richard “Doc” Conway, who spent time Saturday and Sunday trying to comfort DaVeiga’s grieving family, said the officer is handling the funeral arrangements. Conway said DaVeiga’s large extended family, well known within the local Cape Verdean community, had come together to share their tremendous sorrow.

“Apparently it was a complete surprise to everybody,” he said.

Rosa’s cousin, Edson Soares Da Rosa, said in a phone interview Sunday that his family was “traumatized” and that Rosa was “a good person.” He said the family saw no outward signs of trouble in the relationship.

“If they had any arguments, you’d never see them argue,” he said.

Da Rosa said his cousin had been a truck driver for the Save-A-Lot grocery store chain but was unable to work for months following an accident in which he nearly lost his foot. Since then, he said, Rosa had required crutches and had been taking pain medication.

He said Rosa had been dedicated to caring for his boys, a son from a previous relationship who is almost 9 and a son with DaVeiga who is about to turn 5.

“They’re both great parents. They always looked out for their kids,” Da Rosa said.

DaVeiga’s death occurred one day after the 10th anniversary of the shooting death of her cousin Franquilim Monteiro Jr. outside 45 Olney St., less than half a mile from her home at 45 Bowdoin St.

“Frank was a quiet kid, reserved, shy,” DaVeiga told the Globe after the 2004 homicide. “He stayed out of trouble. He tended to stay to himself and didn’t mind other people’s business. That’s why it’s hard to accept this murder.”

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DaVeiga had graduated from Bridgewater State College earlier that year with a bachelor of science in criminal justice and a minor in psychology, according to a degree verification service. Yearbooks show she was a member of the Cape Verdean Student Association in 2000 and of the African-American Society in 2004.

Paulo Rosa.BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT

Mayor Martin J. Walsh issued a statement Sunday saying the city is continuing to battle violence through gun buyback programs, summer jobs, and other programs but has seen “a recent uptick in violence in Boston.”

“We will continue to work diligently with our partners in law enforcement and do everything possible to keep our streets safe,” Walsh said.

Life went on normally outside the beige, vinyl-sided three-story home at 45 Bowdoin St. on Sunday afternoon. The only sign of the previous day’s violence was a short length of yellow police tape that dangled from a fence post outside the house next door.

Neighbors said DaVeiga and Rosa appeared to be very much in love and that they had never seen the couple argue.

“I used to be in my room playing music, and the window would be open, and they would always be talking outside, hugging up on each other,” said 15-year-old Lavinia Pires.

Pires and her father, Manuel Antonio Pires, and stepmother, Maria Helena Rodrigues, said DaVeiga and Rosa hosted big family cookouts out back, and DaVeiga played in the front yard with their son.

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Lavinia Pires said she had heard a noise from DaVeiga and Rosa’s apartment on Saturday, before police arrived. “What I heard was someone falling,” she said. “That’s all I heard. . . . Just like a thump sound. That was it. Because I had my music on, and when I shut it off is when I heard that sound.”

Manuel Antonio Pires, 64, said he had last seen DaVeiga on Friday morning, when she waved goodbye to him as she got into her car.

People who work with domestic violence victims say abusers do not typically murder victims unless there has been a long pattern of abuse and controlling behavior. But it is not uncommon for the abuse to remain hidden from the outside world.

“Abusers are often very effective at keeping victims from reaching out for help,” said Sue Chandler, executive director of DOVE Inc., adding that abusers often seem charming. After a murder, “it is very common for neighbors to report that the [killer] was the nicest guy,” she said.

A funeral Mass is expected to be said for DaVeiga at St. Patrick’s Parish in Roxbury, but a date has not be set.


Globe correspondent Jennifer Smith contributed to this report. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Todd Wallack can be reached at todd.wallack@globe.com.