Kids at Summer Camp Find Corpse While Collecting Firewood

Children at a summer camp in Massachusetts were gathering wood for a camp activity Thursday afternoon when they stumbled upon a decomposing body, state officials said Friday.

A Massachusetts State Police spokesperson told the New York Post four campers at Camp Lenox in Berkshire County came across the remains at about 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. The campers who found the body were identified as juveniles, a state police spokesperson told Newsweek.

Once the campers found the body, they returned to camp to notify their counselors, who then alerted police, the spokesperson said.

The Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office responded to the call and found the body "in a state of decomposition" in a wooded space within the town of Becket, the office told Newsweek. State police told Newsweek the body was located behind Camp Lenox near Werden Road at the time it was found.

A camp director told the Post on Friday the body was not found on camp property.

Campers body found
Campers in Massachusetts this week stumbled upon a decomposing body while gathering wood for a camp activity, local authorities said. Above, police tape surrounds a crime scene in Chicago on June 23. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The body was taken into custody by the chief medical examiner's office. Detectives are investigating the deceased individual's death, the district attorney's office said.

According to state police, the detectives assigned to the local district attorney's office and troopers with the State Police Crime Scene Services Section believe the deceased person may have died by suicide, based on their preliminary investigative efforts. However, the investigation is ongoing, authorities said, and an autopsy is expected to be performed to determine the official cause of death.

"The condition of the remains indicates that the death occurred some time ago," state police said.

State police identified the deceased individual as a male estimated to be 35 years old. They told Newsweek the individual's identity has not yet been released.

The camp notified parents about the campers' discovery in a Thursday email, according to 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, obtained by the Post, said. The message said the four appeared to be "emotionally stable" after finding the body.

"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 continued.

The co-ed camp, which has 170 acres of property, boasts more than 50 summer activities, according to its website. Campers range in age between 7 and 16, with a ratio of about three campers to every camp staff member.

Newsweek reached out to Camp Lenox for comment and will update this story with any response.