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Second missing person found dead

Foul play not suspected in either Springfield case, investigators say.

A city man was found dead in a ditch near East Mile Road and Winding Trail Drive on Monday afternoon a few hours after his family reported him missing, according to a police report.

The missing person death is the second such discovered outdoors in the cold in the last four days in Springfield. Foul play was not suspected in either case, investigators said.

Matthew Pezzopane, 46, of Springfield, was reported missing to Springfield police by his father after Pezzopane’s girlfriend found his home unlocked and his garage door open on Sunday.

Police officers walked through the backyard of Pezzopane’s home at 1654 Winding Trail but were unable to locate anything there.

After speaking with neighbors, officers left the scene, but another neighbor who lives nearby on East Mile Road called and told them he spotted a red shoe in the ditch behind his house.

The neighbor also reported his dog had been barking at that spot all week, but he did not see anything.

After officers arrived back on scene, a neighbor located the body in the ditch frozen and covered in snow.

“We went back to investigate, and that’s when they found him,” said Lt. Lloyd Alexander.

The Springfield Fire Rescue Division removed the body, and the Clark County Coroner’s Office was called to the scene. The body was sent to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy, according to investigator Rodger Burk.

According to the report, Pezzopane was involved in a hit-skip crash at 1117 E. Mile on Jan. 17 and walked away from the scene. Police had tried to reach Pezzopane on Jan. 20 but were unsuccessful.

Police are unsure if the hit-skip and the death are connected, but will know more after an autopsy is completed.

Marcia Whitaker, 55, was found dead Saturday in the back yard of her home in the 400 block of West Parkwood Avenue by a family member, according to officials with the Springfield Police Division.

Whitaker was reported missing on Jan. 22 after relatives said they hadn’t seen her in about a week. Whitaker’s autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday in Montgomery County, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office, but no details were released.

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