LINCOLN – Clad in white protective suits, evidence-collecting state troopers scoured a Manville tenement Thursday in what investigators are describing – so far, anyway – as the suspicious deaths of a man and a woman.
The scene began unfolding at 125 Main St. beginning about 8:15 a.m., when police responded to a report of a disturbance, apparently on the ground floor of the boxy, gray three-decker. An adult female was dead when investigators arrived and a man was transported by rescue squad to the hospital, where he later died. Neither victim was identified as of press time, though police said they were a married couple.
Speaking to reporters on the sidewalk opposite the residence, Detective Capt. Philip Gould of the Lincoln Police Department stopped short of calling the deaths the result of a crime, however, and declined to say whether there was any evidence of a weapon involved. But Gould called the investigation “fluid and unusual.”
“It's being classified as suspicious deaths,” said Gould, describing the fatalities as the focus of an active, multi-agency investigation. “Right now the Rhode Island State Police and the Lincoln Police are diligently working to assess the cause of the injuries, the suspicious deaths. The Lincoln police are always around on patrol, and will be in this area, we always are, but if there is anything anyone would like to report...if they've seen anything suspicious, certainly they can pass that along.”
The disturbance that triggered the investigation was reported by a neighbor who heard “some loud noises,” Gould said. When officers arrived, the couple was on the floor, the woman deceased, the man still alive.
The determination that the deaths are suspicious was made by the responding officers, who found that the victims' injuries, particularly those suffered by the male, “were not natural,” Gould said. He did not elaborate.
The man was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, where he later died.
As TV news stations trained cameras on the residence around mid-day, several police officers were seen dashing on foot to their vehicles and racing from the scene. Some later returned to the area, where the Rhode Island State Police Mobile Crime Laboratory was positioned in front of the residence.
State troopers, some wearing haz-mat like outerwear, were seen working about the premises, cordoned off by yellow crime scene tape. One of the troopers took multiple photographs the exterior of the residence, as well as several motor vehicles that were parked in an adjacent driveway.
A neighbor who lives across the street told reporters he didn't hear or see anything unusual at the tenement in the moments before the police arrived.
“It's real quiet around here,” said the neighbor who declined to give his name. “If something happened, I definitely would hear it.”
But one woman who saw the address of the house on a news report immediately recognized it as the home of two good friends and rushed there from her residence in nearby Cumberland to see what happened. She feared they might be possible victims and at one point approached officers for more information, to no avail.
“It's disturbing,” said Marie Picchi. “I spoke to her every day. Either I'd call her or she'd call me.”
Picchi said her friend is the primary caretaker for her husband, who had serious medical issues and suffered from anxiety.
According to the town's property records, the three-family is owned by Kimberly Dupre.
Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo