Man pleads guilty to improperly disposing woman’s body in Westford in 2019, DA says

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An Easthampton man has been sentenced to seven to eight years in state prison for destroying evidence and improperly disposing a woman’s body after she died of an overdose, by leaving her body down an embankment in Westford without telling authorities, the district attorney said.

Daniel Perras, 59, pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to destruction of evidence and improper disposal of a body in connection with leaving the body of Melissa Mestre on Providence Road in Westford, disposing of her belongings and never notifying authorities of her death, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement on Monday.

Perras was also sentenced to three years of probation “on and after” for improper disposal of a dead body, Ryan said.

On Feb. 2, 2019, a Westford resident walking his dog on Providence Road found Melissa Mestre’s body down an embankment on the side of the road, Ryan said.

When police arrived, they found Mestre with “obvious signs of death,” Ryan said.

Melissa Mestre
Melissa Mestre

Mestre did not have any identification and “investigators initially had no information as to who she was, how she died or how she ended up on the side of the road,” Ryan said.

Investigators later identified Mestre and Perras, and they learned that Mestre and Perras had recently met and that on Jan. 31, 2019, Perras had picked Mestre up at her home in Springfield, Ryan said.

Perras then drove from Springfield to the Haverhill area, where he sold “a large quantity of heroin” to another person, Ryan said. After that heroin sale, Perras began driving back towards western Massachusetts.

While driving, Perras realized that Mestre had died of a drug overdose, Ryan said. He pulled off of the highway onto Boston Road in Westford.

Perras “drove past the fire station and took multiple turns until he eventually ended up on a secluded area of Providence Road,” Ryan said. There, Perras pulled Mestre’s body out of his car and left it down the embankment on the side of the road.

Perras left with Mestre’s belongings, which included her purse and cell phone. Perras never alerted the authorities to Mestre’s death or where he left her, Ryan said.

Investigators were able to track Perras along Route 2 to the French King Bridge in Erving, Ryan said. While at that bridge, Perras disposed of Mestre’s belongings, including her purse and cell phone. Perras then drove to his home.

Mestre was born in Pittsfield, and a graduate of Monument Mountain High School, according to her obituary.

“Melissa had a laugh that was immediately identifiable, and a smile that was infectious,” her obituary states. “She loved all music and was passionate about it. Her love for music was matched by her love for animals - horses in particular - and her dog.”

“As a cancer survivor, Melissa was a fighter,” her obituary states. “She triumphed over Life’s challenges, however, her challenges did not define her, as she defined herself by her love for her children and her family.”

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