Updated: Body found hanging in Marshall Square Park

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website and the Delaware County Daily Times‘ website.
A body of an unidentified person was reportedly seen hanging from the swing set in Marshall Square Park Monday morning. (Candice Monhollan)

A body of an unidentified person was reportedly seen hanging from the swing set in Marshall Square Park Monday morning. (Candice Monhollan)

WEST CHESTER — People returning to work after the holiday break were met with a chilling sight as the body of a man was found hanging from the swing set in Marshall Square Park Monday morning.

The man was found early in the morning at the swings located on the northwest side of the park off of North Matlack Street.

Police were notified around 6:50 a.m. and responded immediately to the scene and taped off the area.

“Officers located a white, non- Hispanic male approximated to be in his 50s,” said West Chester Police Chief Scott Bohn. “He was found hanging from the swing set.”

…[Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

The man was deceased when police arrived. It is unclear how long he had been there, but it is believed he had been there for “a little bit of time,” Bohn said.

No identification was found on the body, but police were able to get a positive identification shortly after noon. His identity has not been released as police continued to notify family.

“They have been making efforts since that time to notify (the family), but they have not at this point,” Bohn said.

Police do not suspect any foul play and believe the man’s death was a suicide.

Due to the time in the morning when the police were notified, numerous people on their way to work or school saw the man or the commotion that followed.

Ashley Herman, of Nottingham, was on her way to work at the Fern Hill Medical Campus when she rode past the park around 7:45 a.m.

“As I was passing the park, there was police tape surrounding the entire park and police cars randomly parked around it,” she said. “I saw a bunch of cops standing by the one swing set and there was a body hanging from there dressed in all black. I saw the face briefly, but not too briefly.”

Herman was driving on East Marshall Street when she saw what was happening.

“I thought I was seeing something that was a cruel joke, but it was definitely a person hanging,” she said.

Not quite sure if she truly saw what she did, Herman confirmed things with another employee of the campus after arriving in the parking lot.

“I actually asked her, ‘Did you see what was going on at the park?’” Herman said. “She did.”

West Chester Henderson High School, which is located just half a mile from the park, had its first day back Monday morning, and some saw the horrible sight as well.

West Chester Superintendent Jim Scanlon sent out a letter to the parents of students at Henderson, Peirce Middle School and Fern Hill Elementary School, all of which are contain Marshall Square Park in its boundaries.

“At 7 a.m., our transportation department rerouted any buses for this morning to avoid this area while the investigation was taking place, so none of our elementary buses traveled past the area,” the letter said. “We did have some high school and middle schools buses go through there before 7 a.m. and some high school students driving to Henderson may have witnessed the police activity.”

To help those students, the district offered counseling all morning for any students who may need it.

A student did allegedly post a photo of the hanging body to their social media account, but it was taken down. Jason Sherlock, principal of Henderson, sent a message to be read aloud to students in their classes.

“Times like this are difficult for everyone,” Sherlock’s message said. “We ask that you remain respectful to your classmates and teachers and not talk about this situation and please stay away from social media gossip.”

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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