Police: missing Westfield man found dead after weekend search
WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Authorities announced Monday that a missing 32-year-old man with developmental disabilities in Westfield had died.
Westfield Police originally said Monday afternoon that Robert Tesini had been located after an extensive search, but no further information had been released, other than the Hampden District Attorney’s Office is investigating.
Later on Monday afternoon, police confirmed to Western Mass News that Tesini was found dead.
The city of Westfield came together over the weekend in a community-wide effort to find Tesini.
“We knew he was last seen on Meadow Street near the bridge, so we came down and we walked the dike that runs parallel with Meadow Street in Westfield. We searched in all the brush and all the abutting property and we looked across the river and we knew he was wearing a panda hat and we know the panda hat well, so we tried searching for that…We also searched the other side of the bridge and the City Knox playground and we searched that until it got dark Saturday,” said one Westfield resident.
“Robbie has been part of our Special Olympics family for at least 10 years, if not longer. Robbie participates in soccer, bowling, and track and field. He’s an excellent athlete,” said Diane Pirro, local area program coordinator for Westfield Special Olympics.
Pirro was one of the people handing out missing person flyers in Westfield on Monday.
“As a parent of a child with special needs, you just realize that our children are vulnerable, no matter how old they are, no matter what age they are,” Pirro added.
On Monday, Western Mass News watched search and rescue teams work throughout the morning and afternoon on the Westfield River. Police got the word out to the community they were looking for Tesini who has developmental disabilities. Western Mass News spoke with one Westfield resident, who wished to remain anonymous. He told us Robbie brings an abundance of joy to the city of Westfield.
“He’s a staple in the community. Everybody knows him. He lives up on the north end. He takes the same route, which goes right by my house. He was always very cautious about crossing the street,” the resident explained.
According to police, Tesini was last seen on Friday around 1 p.m. walking northbound on North Elm Street near the Great River Bridge. Residents told us he walked around the city often.
“He would go to the food pantry, the church on Elm Street, every Saturday morning…He was very smart. He knew his route and he was very careful. He never seemed to deviate from his path,” the resident added.
Pirro told Western Mass News that the outpouring of support from the community of Westfield has been moving.
“I spoke to Robbie’s aunt, Tammy, and she said the outpouring from the Westfield area community has just been amazing and that everybody knows Robbie. Because Robbie walks everywhere, you cannot help but see Robbie,” Pirro said.
Westfield Police said an investigation remains ongoing, which again now includes the Hampden District Attorney’s Office.
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