Vigil held for infants found dead in Blackstone home

A small memorial along the fence that now surrounds the condemned house at 23 St. Paul Street in Blackstone. (Corey Welch/WPRI)

BLACKSTONE, Mass. (WPRI) – Blackstone residents held a vigil Sunday night in memory of the three infants found dead in a squalid apartment last week.

The candlelight vigil took place at the JFK Elementary School at 200 Blackstone Street, according to a Facebook page organizing the event.

Meanwhile, town officials said shortly after noon Sunday that the cleanup process was taking longer than expected. Crews found the bodies of another dog and cat in the home since beginning to fumigate and empty the house Saturday.

Four children ranging from 13 years old to 3 months were removed from the home on August 28th after a resident tipped authorities off about deplorable living conditions in the home. The house was condemned and police returned last week to investigate further.

On Wednesday, an officer searching the interior found a newborn’s body, prompting officers clad in HAZMAT gear to return Thursday for a more extensive search, during which they discovered the bodies of two other infants among the garbage, insects and vermin.

Police charged 31 year-old Erika Murray with several criminal offenses Friday. She was held without bail. Her lawyer told reporters outside court that Murray was suffering from

Sunday morning, Blackstone Police Chief Ross Atstupenas confirmed to Eyewitness News that Raymond Rivera, who lives in the basement of the home at 23 St. Paul Street, but was not home at the time the gruesome discoveries were made, has been charged with possession and cultivation of marijuana in the basement.

The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office told Eyewitness News last week that they had spoken with Rivera, but have not filed any charges against him regarding the conditions inside the home. It’s unclear if any of the children, either those found dead or those placed in state custody, were his. There were no birth records on file for the two youngest children which were removed.

Police filed a report on the conditions in the home back in 2007, according to a police report obtained by Eyewitness News. The state Department of Children and Families confirmed that they had received the report, but that the claim was “unsupported” and no further action was taken.

Rivera and Murray are described as boyfriend and girlfriend in that police report.

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