Year-in-Review: Murder of Haverhill Nursing Home Patient Brings Shock and Grief

Haverhill learned first from WHAV of the city’s only murder of 2019—the beating death of a 76-year-old nursing home patient Saturday night, Oct. 5. Police say Robert Boucher died when his 83-year-old roommate Jose Veguilla allegedly used his walker to beat him to death. Both were residents of Oxford Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, 689 Main St. Carrie Kimball, spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett told WHAV, “Police found a 76-year old male suffering from injuries a result of a physical assault.  He was transported to Holy Family Hospital where he was pronounced dead.”

In court the next day, Dr. Kerry Nellington told Haverhill District Court Judge Patricia Dowling the roommate suffers from dementia and a traumatic brain injury as the result of a fall.

Alleged Gang Member Tied to Saturday Shooting Participates in UTEC Violence Prevention Program

At least one of the two Lawrence brothers arrested in connection with Saturday’s Mount Washington shooting is a participant in UTEC’s gang violence prevention program. At their arraignment Monday in Haverhill District Court, 20-year-old Aidan Z. Rodriguez and his 18-year-old brother, Isaac R. Rodriguez were ordered held without bail until a hearing next week. Court documents reveal Aidan Rodriguez is employed by UTEC as a cook. While UTEC’s Gregg Croteau declined to talk with WHAV on the record, the nonprofit recruited to Haverhill in 2018, has always made clear its mission is to work with gang members most at risk, get them off the streets and mentor them after they return from serving time in prison. In an on-air interview with WHAV in 2018, UTEC’s Director of Streetwork Jonathan Lunde explained.

Region’s Mayors Meet in Haverhill City Hall, Call Gangs a Regional Problem and Seek Strategies

The mayors of Haverhill, Lawrence and Methuen say gangs are a regional problem and came to Haverhill City Hall with police to discuss strategies for fighting gangs, guns and drugs. Meeting in Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s office, they discussed how the three police departments work together to fight crime and discussed ideas for improving communication and cooperation. “Gangs are a regional problem, so we need to work together to identify gang members and make sure we are all keeping the heat on them,” Fiorentini said in a statement. “During the meeting it became very clear to me that police in Haverhill, Lawrence and Methuen are doing a great job talking and working together every day, and we all agreed we want to see that continue and even increase it whenever and wherever we can.”

Besides Fiorentini, participating in the recent meeting were Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro; Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera and Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque; Methuen Mayor James P. Jajuga, Methuen Police Executive Captain Kris McCarthy, Methuen Police Lt. Ron Valliere and Methuen Mayor-elect Neil Perry. Fiorentini’s office said the meeting was part of “stepped-up attention being placed on gangs in Haverhill and neighboring communities,” adding, Fiorentini recently hosted neighborhood meetings in various parts of the city to discuss gangs and crime with residents.

Groveland Police Arrest Two Haverhill Teens After Alleged Stolen Car Chase; Third Man Still on Run

Two Haverhill teenagers are under arrest and Groveland Police are searching for a third after the trio allegedly stole a minivan and led police on a chase Saturday morning. The two 14-year-olds, both from Haverhill, were arrested after being pulled over and fleeing from the minivan, reported stolen in Haverhill. The driver was charged with larceny of a motor vehicle. failure to stop for police, leaving the scene of property damage and two counts of unlicensed driving. Groveland Police charged the second teen with resisting arrest and being a minor in possession of marijuana.

Updated: Haverhill Shooting, Second at Same Address Since Sept., Brings Brothers’ Arrests; No Injuries

Two brothers are expected to be arraigned today in Haverhill District Court in connection with a Saturday shooting incident—the second at the same address since September—in the Mount Washington neighborhood

No injuries were reported, but there was property damage at 65 Jackson St. Ext.—near High Street and not far from Swasey Field. Haverhill Police arrested 20-year-old Aidan Rodriguez and his 18-year-old brother, Isaac Rodriguez. They were charged with assault with intent to murder and other firearms violations. The location was roughly the same as a Sunday, Sept.

Haverhill Police Arrest Two Women for Trafficking in Deadly Drug Fentanyl, Other Drug Charges

Two women—one from Plaistow, N.H., and the other from Natick—face fentanyl drug trafficking and other charges after their arrests last night in Haverhill. Thirty-six-year old Janean Polito of 73 Forest St., Plaistow, and 30-year-old Jessica Walton of Natick, were taken into custody around 8:15 p.m. at 81 Fountain St. Besides fentanyl trafficking, Polito was charged with three counts of drug possession with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and driving after license revocation. Walton was also charged with distribution of a class B drug, two counts of drug possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Both are expected to be arraigned today in Haverhill District Court.

Grand Jury Indicts Methuen Woman on ‘Sophisticated Scheme’ to Steal from Nursing Home

A Methuen woman was indicted Monday on charges in connection with stealing more than $530,000 from a retirement home and nursing center in Lawrence. According to Attorney General Maura Healey, 43-year-old Sherry Verdick, was indicted by a grand jury on five counts of larceny using a single scheme over $1,200, larceny over $1,200, larceny over $250 by a single scheme, two counts of making false entries in corporate books with intent to defraud, three counts of forgery, three counts of uttering and obtaining a signature under false pretenses. She will be arraigned in Essex Superior Court Jan. 7, at 9 a.m.

Verdick was the business manager at Berkeley Retirement Home and Nursing Center in Lawrence,

Healey’s office alleges that from January 2016 through September 2018, Verdick ran “a sophisticated scheme to steal money from several accounts operated by the facility.” Prosecutors say she wrote several hundred checks to herself from various accounts affiliated with the retirement center, allegedly forged various signatures of other Berkeley employees to steal money from Berkeley accounts, improperly used a corporate credit card for personal purchases and allegedly altered the company’s payroll system to reduce her health insurance contribution to zero. The attorney general’s office also alleges that Verdick was able to steal money from the estate of a deceased resident by misleading another employee into signing a check which Verdick then deposited into a Berkeley account for which she was a signatory.

Sheriff Warns of Phony Civil Calls that Threaten Arrest and Ask for Money

The Essex County Sheriff's Department is warning residents about the most recent phishing/phone scams in which the caller pretends to be a sheriff’s deputy calling about a legal civil matter,

Some calls threatened a warrant has been issued for arrest for failure to report for jury duty and request Visa cards to pay for these warrants. The call-back number is not the sheriff’s office. “At no time would an Essex County Sheriff’s Department employee call people to demand payment,” said Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger. “Callers demanding payment in a short amount of time is an obvious sign of a scam and illegal attempt to defraud citizens.”

Coppinger further reminds residents to not share personal or financial information with strange callers and to hang up. Citizens may call the Federal Communications Commission hotline at 1-888-225-5322, file an online complaint here, contact the Attorney General’s office by calling 617-727-8400 or filing an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.