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Middlesex County Sheriff DiPaola Dead In Apparent Suicide

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Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola in a Nov. 22 interview with WBZ-TV.

Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola in a Nov. 22 interview with WBZ-TV.

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Updated on 11/28/10

BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola was found dead in Maine Saturday in an apparent suicide.

Wells Police say he was found on a bed with a single gunshot wound in the head in a room at the Lafayette Resorts on Mile Road.

It is believed DiPaola shot himself sometime between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

“The firearm believed to be involved was found in the room, and the subject did leave a multiple page note,” police said in a statement.

Wells Police Sgt. Kent Berdeen told WBZ Radio the note was addressed to DiPaola’s family.

WBZ Radio’s Suzanne Sausville spoke with Sgt. Berdeen.

The Sheriff’s office issued this statement Saturday evening:

The Middlesex Sheriffs Office is sad to confirm the sudden death of Sheriff James V. DiPaola.

At this time we ask that the family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.

Operations at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will continue under the direction of Special Sheriff John Granara.

Special Sheriff Granara requests you respect the privacy of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office family, as we continue to inform the extensive employee workforce.

Further details are not available at this time.

Arrangements will be handled by the family.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports.

RETIREMENT PAY

Earlier this week, DiPaola announced he would leave the sheriff’s office in January after a controversial retirement decision.

Just before the November election, DiPaola filed for his retirement. He was then re-elected to office as a retired employee.

So beginning in January, because of a loophole in the state pension system, he would have been legally entitled to his pension and his salary.

But when a Boston Globe reporter began asking questions about his plan for two paychecks and the governor called the move “outrageous,” DiPaola changed his mind.

Had he stayed in office, DiPaola would have made about $750,000 in salary over the next six years as sheriff.

AG INVESTIGATION

Recently, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office said it was investigating allegations of improper use of campaign funds by DiPaola.

In addition, the state ethics commission was investigating whether sheriff’s office employees were raising money for DiPaola’s political committee.

According to his biography, DiPaola was first elected in November 1996 after serving two terms as the state representative from Malden.

“This is a shocking and tragic event.  I extend my deepest condolences to the DiPaola family and to the Sheriff’s staff, all of whom are certainly reeling with this news.  Sheriff DiPaola had a 30-year record of public service.  Tonight we honor that service and pray for his family,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement.

Before entering politics, DiPaola was an 18-year veteran of the Malden Police Department.

He was 57 years old.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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