Title: Former Springfield priest killed 13-year-old boy in 1972: Hampden District Attorney
A former Springfield priest who was a person of interest in the murder of a 13-year-old boy 49 years ago has been ID’d as the boy’s killer, the Hampden DA said Monday, three days after the man died.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni announced that the investigation into the murder of Danny Croteau has been officially closed, citing new evidence against Richard Lavigne who died Friday in a hospital facility.
Danny was found dead on April 15, 1972, in the Connecticut River in Chicopee. This past Friday, detectives were authorized by Gulluni to present the case against Lavigne to obtain an arrest warrant for Danny’s murder.
“Danny’s parents, Carl and Bernice, told reporters that they just wanted answers. Based on the accumulation of historical evidence, the evidence gained in the last year, and the admissions of Richard Lavigne, I believe we now have those answers,” Gulluni said.
Lavigne met the Croteau family while he was a Roman Catholic priest assigned to the Croteau family’s parish, St. Catherine of Sienna in Springfield.
Danny and his brothers had served as altar boys at St. Catherine’s. Lavigne also socialized with the Croteau family, and took some of the Croteau boys — including Danny — on outings without their parents.