Mayor’s team will analyze police handling of beheading case

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — The mayor of a Massachusetts city where a teenager’s decapitated body was found is organizing an independent investigation into the police handling of the case.

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera announced the effort Thursday after critics said police didn’t do enough to look for 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, who was reported missing two weeks before a woman found his body near a river last week.

Police say they were “relentless on this case,” in which a 15-year-old classmate of Viloria-Paulino has been charged with murder.

Rivera says he stands behind the police department but acknowledges the concerns of Viloria-Paulino’s family and the community.

Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino's body was found near the Merrimack River.
Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino’s body was found near the Merrimack River.

The new inquiry will be led by a team of investigators with experience in public safety, including Boston police Deputy Superintendent Norma Ayala and former Providence, Rhode Island, mayor Angel Taveras.

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