Human remains, pot-growing operation at scene of murder-suicide

MOUNT PLEASANT TOWNSHIP (WNEP) -- One man is dead, and another is missing. What started as a standoff has turned into a complex investigation involving body parts and drugs.

The Wayne County district attorney held a news conference Tuesday morning revealing that what appeared to be a police standoff near Pleasant Mount Monday evening turned out to be a whole lot more.

Authorities in Wayne County call Monday's incident in Mount Pleasant Township a murder-suicide.

Human remains and a marijuana growing operation were among what was found at a home on Leonard Road.

According to troopers, a woman from out of state called for a welfare check on 54-year-old Joseph Mastropole around 8 a.m. Monday. She told troopers she had not heard from him in a while.

State police currently consider him "missing."

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Police make disturbing discovery at the scene of a murder-suicide
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Police make disturbing discovery at the scene of a murder-suicide

Police got to Mastropole's home near Pleasant Mount around 8:30 a.m. Monday morning and were there well into the night.

A man calling himself "William McDonough" told authorities he was Mastrople's roommate and had not seen him. Troopers realized that the man they talked to was really 57-year-old Gaston Gomez.

"He gave us his date of birth, said he hadn't seen Joseph Mastropole for a period of time. The trooper left at that point and went back to the barracks. Through our investigation of the name that was provided to us, we were able to determine that that was not an accurate identification with the individual of whom we had contacted initially," said Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Chris Paris.

They went back to the home on Leonard Road later in the morning. That's when they found a pot-growing operation.

Authorities say Gomez killed himself that afternoon when more troopers showed up to search the property.

"While they're searching the property based on a search warrant for the marijuana grow that we issued earlier, they see a burn barrel. It's smoldering. They kick it over. What is clear is bones come out. The wildlife and game commission has said this is not animal bones. Then inside the house, they see some things in the area they find a freezer and inside the freezer are Hefty bags and inside the bags are body parts," said Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards.

Authorities have not identified who the bones and body parts belong to.

Autopsies on Gomez and the remains are scheduled for Wednesday.

Right now, Joseph Mastropole is being considered a missing person. Anyone with information is asked to contact state police at Honesdale.

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