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Body recovered from Massabesic Lake identified

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 19. 2012 2:24PM
Rescue workers retrieved a body from Lake Massabesic this morning (COURTESY/Brain Weymouth)

MANCHESTER - The body of a woman who had walked away from her home was recovered from the western area of Lake Massabesic on Sunday morning, a day after her family had reported her missing.

Manchester Police confirmed Sunday afternoon that the woman was 57-year-old Janet Langella, whose family called police around 2 p.m. Saturday saying they were concerned for her safety.

Police said her death is not considered suspicious; an autopsy is to be performed today.

Dozens of friends and relatives took part in the search Sunday morning after putting together fliers they hoped would lead to a tip from anyone who recognized Langella and may have seen her. The fliers asked runners and walkers to be vigilant on trails in areas around the lake, saying Langella loved nature.

Two women searching in the Mill Pond area spotted what they believed to be a body and notified firefighters at a nearby fire station around 9 a.m.

District Fire Chief Mike Gamache said firefighters responded. One was able to see through binoculars that a body was in the marshy area, which was iced over in parts. The firefighters called police, then assisted with the recovery.

Police and fire vehicles crowded the corner outside the gate where Little Pond Road meets Lake Shore Road southeast of downtown Manchester.

Jim Oparowske, who lives across the street, said he went to see if he could offer any information about the area and its backwater channels, but was turned away by a police officer who told him the situation was under control.

'I went, 'Uh oh. That's not good,'' said Oparowske, who had seen media reports about the search for Langella.

Just reaching the body was a challenge because the water surface is about a 3-foot drop from the shoreline and is surrounded by a large stone wall. Crews were finally able to lower an inflatable raft for three members of the search-and-rescue crew, who wore orange survival suits to protect them from the frigid water temperature.

'There was no place to launch the boat. We had to take motors off and use paddles,' Gamache said.

It was more than two hours before the recovery was complete and the body loaded into a white hearse. By noon, the only signs of what had happened were large tire tracks in the dirt just beyond a gate that blocks off the waterfront and spillway on the edge of the lake, which is the city's drinking water supply.

Police Sgt. John Patti said investigators weren't sure where Langella may have entered the water. The body was recovered about three miles from Langella's home.

Langella's daughter, Kristi Carosi, said Sunday night the family wants any details about the death to come from the police report.

Patti said the search covered a number of wooded areas as well as Lake Massabesic. Members of the Auburn Fire Department searched around Little Massabesic Lake on Saturday.

Auburn Fire Lt. Todd Dignard said up to 25 members of the Auburn department searched from around 2:30 p.m. until dark on Saturday. The body was found on the opposite side of the lake, about six miles from Auburn.

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