2 arrested in Dummerston homicide - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

2 arrested in Dummerston homicide

Melissa Barratt Melissa Barratt
Frank Caraballo Frank Caraballo
Joshua Makhanda-Lopez Joshua Makhanda-Lopez

Dummerston, Vermont - July 30, 2011

Vermont State police have arrested two men for second-degree homicide in the slaying of a Bellows Falls woman.  Police say the two men have links to the woman. Her body was found in Dummerston Friday morning.

"Cause of death was determined to be from a gunshot wound to the head, the manner was determined to be a homicide," Vt. State Police Maj. Edward Ledo said.

Police arrested Frank Caraballo, 29, of Brattleboro, and Joshua Makhanda-Lopez, 22, of Springfield, Mass., in the death of Melissa Barratt. The 31-year-old Bellows Falls woman was found dead on the side of the road in Dummerston Friday. Police say Caraballo and Barratt were a couple.

"It was relayed to us that they were deemed boyfriend and girlfriend," Ledo said.

Investigators determined Barratt was forcefully removed from an apartment in Brattleboro and seen walking into the woods with Caraballo at the location where a passer-by found her body.

"Caraballo was actively searching for Ms. Barratt regarding drug-related activity," Ledo said.

Ledo says Caraballo also faces seven felony charges for the sale of crack cocaine stemming from a previous investigation. Makhanda-Lopez faces three felony charges for the sale of crack cocaine, also from a previous investigation.

Reporter Susie Steimle: Does Melissa Barratt have any criminal history?

Maj. Ed Ledo: Yes she does.

Police say drug activity is the likely link for Friday's homicide. Police sources place Caraballo, Makhanda-Lopez and Barratt together in Dummerston on Thursday. They have yet to release information on the weapon used or which of the two men allegedly fired the shot. The investigation is ongoing. Caraballo and Makhanda-Lopez are scheduled to be arraigned in Windham County District Court Monday.

Susie Steimle - WCAX News

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