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Massachusetts Woman Found Dead in Recycling Bin Under Back Porch of Her Duplex

Home of Barbara Hovey Novaes .

Barbara Hovey Novaes’ home.

A Massachusetts woman was found dead in a recycling bin this week. Authorities are investigating and named no suspects. Barbara Hovey Novaes, 61, of Medford, Massachusetts, was reportedly in the middle of a contentious separation and divorce from her husband.

She lived in a duplex residence with her adult son, according to WCVB in a Friday report. He said he last saw her Sunday, May 22 at around 4:30 p.m., officers said. He believed she was going to a nail appointment. But when he woke up the next morning, he could not find her, officers said. Police said he called at around 6:40 a.m. on Monday. The front door of the home was open. Barbara’s car was still there. The son said he found her car keys, and purse in the residence. The search was brief and ended tragically. An officer found her body in a recycling container under the back porch.

The cause of death is unclear. Her body featured no obvious signs of trauma, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan reportedly said.

“We are awaiting toxicology reports and that’s going to be a bit, so that’s where we are right now with that,” she said.

Locals spoke warmly of Novaes. She taught Sunday school, said friend Rev. Carol Morehead of Grace Episcopal Church.

“I don’t think she said an unkind word about anyone,” Morehead said. “Very generous and giving, fun, very caring. She did a lot of social justice work here.”

“She was very loving and caring to my family, especially my daughter Caroline whom she formed a special bond with over the years,” Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said, according to NBC Boston. “We all mourn her tragic loss at this time and pray that her family finds the strength to endure at this terrible time.”

Novaes long worked at the Everett Co-operative Bank in the city of Everett, which is near Medford.

She reportedly filed for a restraining order against her husband on May 9. She said that on May 6, the man arrived at her home multiple times after drinking, according to documents obtained by WCVB. He allegedly refused to leave.

“The conversation then became much more emotional with him not accepting my decision,” she wrote.

She said she asked him to leave and that she could not speak to him after he was drinking.

“I remained in my bedroom with a locked door,” she wrote.

Novaes withdrew that requested restraining order on May 17, citing an agreement, according to NBC.

Police reportedly said they were called to the residence twice on Nov. 16, 2021 regarding a suicide threat. Officers also responded there on Feb. 8, 2022 for an identity fraud allegation. They arrived the following April 21 regarding a disturbance. Officers did not name the people involved.

Novaes’ family members declined to comment to NBC.

The investigation is ongoing. Police are asking that anyone in the Emery Street neighborhood Sunday night or early Monday to contact them. They also want video of the Emery Street area and down onto Winthrop Street. You can reach the Medford Police Department at (781) 395-1212.

[Screenshot via NBC Boston]

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