September 19, 2018—Through diligent investigation conducted since just after 5 a.m. this morning, Massachusetts State Police Troopers from the Charlton Barracks and the Hampden County State Police Detective Unit have identified and arrested a suspect in this morning’s sexual assault of woman. Troopers responded to a section of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Palmer after the woman ran out of the woods shortly after 5 a.m. and flagged down a passing tractor-trailer.
The victim, a 38-year-old woman, was interviewed by State Police. The investigation determined that she was held against her will, sexually assaulted, and strangled inside a camping trailer in Palmer.
A search by Troopers of a wooded area parallel to the Massachusetts Turnpike, near the Palmer Interchange, led to the recovery of evidentiary items. Based on information developed throughout the morning, Troopers then went to a trailer parked on Flynt Street in Palmer. Through further investigation, they identified a potential suspect, LEEMICHAEL COLLINS, 25, a resident of that street. Investigators interviewed COLLINS at the Palmer Police Station. Following that interview and observations made of the suspect, COLLINS was arrested and is expected to be arraigned at Palmer District Court later today.
Please note the initial release noted that the victim exited the woods on the Turnpike in Brimfield. The exact location where she exited the woods and flagged down help is now understood to be in Palmer in the vicinity of the Palmer-Brimfield line.