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Police fatally shoot former boyfriend wanted for questioning in death of Harvard woman

Mary Anderson, 23, of Harvard, was last seen in Hudson, N.H., at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.Courtesy of Harvard Police

Police on Tuesday night fatally shot the former boyfriend of a Harvard woman who was found dead earlier in the day in Brattleboro, Vt., police said.

Just hours after identifying Matthew Davis, 34, as a person of interest in Mary Anderson’s death, police saw him walking in West Brattleboro around 7:45 p.m. and tried to speak with him, according to the Vermont State Police.

During the confrontation, police shot Davis, who was later pronounced dead, police said.

“This situation is unfolding, and all circumstances surrounding what occurred are under investigation, including which officers discharged their weapons,” police said.

Vermont State Police did not identify the man who was shot, pending the notification of his family, but Massachusetts State Police posted on Twitter that he was Davis.

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Davis was the former boyfriend of Anderson, a 23-year-old who had been reported missing Sunday. Her body was found early Tuesday inside her truck in Brattleboro.

Matthew Davis, 34, of Fitchburg, former boyfriend of Mary Anderson, is being sought for questioning in her death.Vermont State

Police in Harvard and Hudson, N.H., where Anderson was last seen Saturday night, had been conducting a missing persons investigation since Sunday, when her family called to say she hadn’t returned home.

On Tuesday, a Harvard police cruiser was parked in front of the family’s house on Still River Road, a well-traveled two-lane road. According to town records, the spacious antique-style clapboard home, built in 1830, is owned by Sheila Anderson, Mary Anderson’s mother.

The scene outside of 277 Still River Road in Harvard.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Sheila Anderson described the moment when authorities told her that her daughter’s body had been found.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be good news because of the expression on their face,” she said, according to video from Boston 25 News. “So I gathered my children to come down and hear the sad news.”

Anderson said it was anguishing to think about her daughter’s final days.

“That’s the sad part for me as a mom, to know that whatever she’s experienced these last four days — just heart-wrenching because she was alone,” she said, according to video broadcast by WHDH-TV. “She wasn’t with her mom and … her siblings.”

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John R. Ellement, Travis Andersen, and Mike Bello of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.