Man Found Dead at Webster Shopping Center

Officials identified the man on Sunday as Joseph Bottis, 39

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A death investigation was underway at a shopping center in Webster, Massachusetts, on Friday.

The investigation was centered around the Webster Commons shopping center.

Shortly before 3 a.m. Friday, a man walked into the Webster Police Department to let police know that someone was sleeping at the Big Lots on Main Street in Webster, Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early said.

When officers arrived at the scene, he said they found a man in his 30s who was dead. State police were called in and the state medical examiner took custody of the body and will conduct an autopsy to confirm the cause and manner of death.

Police are investigating a death in Webster, Massachusetts.

Officials did not release much information, other than to confirm that foul play was involved and the dead man was no stranger to police.

"The victim was known to the area and Webster police do know the victim," Early said.

On Sunday, officials identified the man as 39-year-old Joseph Bottis.

Angel Lopez, who lives in Webster, said he believes the victim is someone he knows only as Joe who told him Thursday that he was being harassed by two men.

"He looked very nervous, so I tried to talk to him as long as possible to try to get him away from them, but it was really, really suspicious," Lopez said. "We're a small community where people stick together, and for this to happen in a small community, in a little town like this, it gives all of us locals fear for our lives."

Webster has a population of about 18,000 people and is located south of Worcester along the Connecticut border.

The district attorney's office said investigators are continuing to interview people, but wouldn't say if they are potential witnesses or suspects. They are asking anyone who was in the area in the early morning hours to contact them.

Webster police and Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney's continue to investigated Bottis' death.

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