Summer camp horror: Kids find body while gathering wood, cops say

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Kids at a sleep-away camp in the Berkshires discovered a man’s corpse as they collected wood for an upcoming “Rope Burn” contest, The Post has learned.

Massachusetts state police said the man’s body was discovered at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the woods behind Camp Lenox and Werden Road in Becket.

“Four campers from the camp, all juveniles, located the remains and went back to the camp to report it to counselors, who called police,” Massachusetts State Police spokesman Dave Procopio told The Post in an email Friday.

Troopers from the agency’s Lee Barracks responded to the gruesome find. A preliminary investigation suggests the man died by suicide “some time ago,” Procopio said.

“The investigation remains open and an autopsy is expected to be conducted,” Procopio’s email continued. “We believe we have identified the body as that of a 35-year-old male.”

The man’s identity was not released.

Procopio referred additional inquiries to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office.

“The investigation is ongoing,” Berkshire DA spokesman Andrew McKeever wrote in an email, adding that a medical examiner took custody of the man’s body.

Directors at the co-ed, sports-intensive camp for kids ages 7 to 16 told parents Thursday of the “strange but true” find in an email obtained by The Post.

“A counselor and 3 of our oldest campers were in the woods at the border of camp and private property collecting wood for a big event called ‘Rope Burn,” the email read.

As the youngsters collected wood, they “accidentally came upon” the deceased man who appeared to “have died quite a while ago,” prompting them to report their discovery to camp officials, who in turn contacted cops, owners and directors Richard and Stephanie Moss said.

The directors said they met with the campers and counselor who made the discovery and all seemed “emotionally stable” and looking forward to its end-of-summer “Color War” event.

“We really have no other information at this time and will keep you informed if there is any news that is relevant to camp,” the email concluded.

A “rope burn” is a team event at many summer camps where kids race to build fires to see who can smolder away a length of rope above their blaze first. Videos on YouTube show Camp Lenox kids taking part in the action in previous years.

Reached by phone Friday, Stephanie Moss said the discovery was “not on camp property” before declining additional comment. The camp’s website lists its primary address in Otis, but it also has property in nearby Becket, records reviewed by The Post indicate.

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