Sandra M. Birchmore

Sandra Birchmore, originally from Stoughton but moved to Canton in 2020, was discovered deceased in her Windsor Woods apartment on February 4, 2021 after her employer requested a well-being check due to her absence from work for several days. The last person known to have seen Sandra alive was Matthew Farwell who was captured on camera leaving Sandra’s apartment. At the time of her death, Sandra was pregnant, and it is suspected that one of the officers, Matthew Farwell, was the father. The cause of death was determined to be suicide.

Nineteen months after her death, an internal affairs report from the Stoughton Police Department revealed disturbing allegations against three officers. The report uncovered that Sandra Birchmore had been victimized by three police officers involved in the Explorer POST program, namely Matthew Farwell, William Farwell, and Robert Devine. The abuse began when Sandra was a minor and continued over the years as part of the program and beyond.

About Sandra Marie Birchmore

Sandra Marie Birchmore was born in May 13, 1997 to Denise F. McKain Birchmore and W. Birchmore. Denise was sick throughout Sandra’s childhood. Sandra had no relationship with her father and her stepfather passed away when Sandra was young. She was raised by a single mother Denise F. (McKain) Birchmore and her grandmother Claire G. (Coughlin) Gaudet , both of whom died in 2016. First, Sandra lost her mother and, a month later, her grandmother.

Robert C. Devine, 51 then a deputy chief in Stoughton led the department’s youth program since early 2000, the Stoughton Police Explorers Program.

In 2010 Robert Devine brought in former Explorers Matthew Farwell and his twin brother, William, as guest instructors, the same year Sandra tried to join Youth Explorers program in 2010 when she was 13 but was on the stand-by list for the program, She became a member in 2011.

Matt and Billy Farwell are twin brothers and former Stoughton High School students who went through the same program Sandra did with Robert Devine 12 years earlier. Both would go on to become Stoughton Police Officers. Matt Farwell was promoted to detective in 2017.

Matthew Farwell reportedly began an inappropriate physical relationship with Sandra Birchmore when she was 15, which is considered statutory rape under Massachusetts law.

Sandra thrived in the program and In 2014, her mother expressed her gratitude to the local Explorer post for their efforts. Sandra remained in the program until 2015, the year she graduated from Stoughton High School.

In the spring of 2015, Sandra graduated from high school. Though Birchmore’s participation in the Explorers Program ended, the officers’ involvement with her didn’t.

In 2016, she experienced the loss of both her mother on May 18, 2016 and  grandmothe r on June 24, 2016, within a short span of time. It was also revealed through police and court records that Sandra struggled with mental health challenges for much of her life.

In 2019, Sandra took the Massachusetts civil service exam and was placed on the eligibility list for the Stoughton police force.

October 12 2019 Sandra lost her favorite aunt Alice. The same year, Sandra Birchmore met Joshua W. Heal at the local animal shelter when Sandra came to adopt a cat. They became a friends and she started to confide in him about intimate details of her life including her relationship with Farwell brothers and Devine.. According to Joshua, they engaged in a consensual sex act once after working hours at the animal.

Sandra Birchmore was raised in Stoughton before moving to Canton.

On May 19, 2020, the police were called to Sandra Birchmore’s home for a well-being check. A dispatcher informed the officers that Birchmore was expressing a desire to harm herself, according to police radio call recordings. According to the reports, The Farwell brothers and Devine were not involved in the police response.

In September 2020, Sandra applied for housing and secured her own place. In October 2020, she started working at East Elementary School in Sharon. On November 14, 2020, she moved out of her aunt’s place and into an apartment with the assistance of Matthew Farwell.

Sometime in December 2020, Sandra found out she was pregnant. On January 22, 2021, she had an ultrasound. Then, on January 30, 2021, she went to a hair salon to get ready for a New Year’s Eve Celebration.

Also, on December 23, 2020, Matthew Farwell was at Sandra’s apartment. Sandra mentioned to a friend that she had talked to Matthew Farwell about her pregnancy a few days before Christmas. They had an argument, and she asked him to leave the apartment. But before he left, Sandra said Farwell told her “I wish you would kill yourself”..

On February 1, 2021, Sandra spoke with a coworker on the phone. At 9:00 PM that evening, she sent a message via Snapchat to inquire about a work schedule. At around 9:27 PM, Matthew Farwell was seen entering Sandra’s apartment building. Sandra’s coworker replied to the Snapchat message at 9:28 PM, but Sandra did not open the message. Matthew Farwell was seen exiting Sandra’s lobby at 9:56 PM.

On February 4, 2021, school officials contacted the School Resource Officer to check on Sandra Birchmore, who had missed a few days of work. Officers Cotard, Brady, and Yeaton responded to 3307 Windsor Woods Way to make contact with Sandra. When they arrived, no one answered the door. Sandra’s vehicle was in the apartment complex parking lot, covered in snow and had not been moved since the snowfall on Monday, 2/1/21.

The officers spoke with a property manager, who provided a key to access the apartment. At 11:46 AM, Officers found Sandra in the bedroom, deceased with a black strap around her neck, tied to the bedroom closet door. Sandra was 10 weeks pregnant and The cause of death was determined to be suicide.

Video from the apartment complex showed a man entering the lobby of Sandra’s building. Detectives learned from maintenance worker Michael that the person in the video looked like the man who helped Sandra move into her apartment. It was later revealed that Sandra had been victimized by three police officers who were part of the Explorer program and the man in the video is Detective Matthew Farwell..

Before her death, Sandra had shared with a coworker that she was dating a police officer who was 10 or 11 years older than her and already had two children from a previous relationship. She also mentioned that she wanted to get pregnant with her boyfriend, and it is believed that one of the officers, Matthew Farwell, was the father. Sandra was 23 year old, 5’1″ and 10 weeks pregnant.

Case Timeline – Sandra Marie Birchmore

1997

  • Sandra Marie Birchmore was born in May 13, 1997 to Denise F. McKain Birchmore and W. Birchmore.

1999

  • Robert C. Devine Joined the SPD.

2001

  • 2001Devine served as school resource officer.

2002

  • Robert Devine became a head of the Explorers Program.
  • He was ordered to run the program by the Former Chief Cachopa. Devine changed the program model to teaching aspects of policing to youth participants. It was in this program that Divine met Matthew and William Farwell they attended the program since the age of 12.
  • Farwell brothers were known to have disciplinary issues while attending school.

2003

  • William Farwell was designated a the rank of Lieutenant within Explorer Program.

2005

  • Sandra Attended respect program at the age of 8

2006

  • Sandra attended a 14 weeks Strengthening Program designed to reduce negative factors for children and high risk families. Sandra’s mom was quoted “She likes the fact that they show you what your tools are. Instead of yelling at your child you sit down and talk. Denise said. Article here

2010

  • Sandra Birchmore joined Youth Explorers Program in 2010, but she was put on the standby list. 
  • Stoughton police ran the Explorer program for about 15 years. The agreement signed by Robert Devine required the department to encourage officers to take Youth Protection Training, as well as undergo an annual evaluation by Learning for Life.
  • But the agency said it hasn’t found records that Devine, the Farwell Brothers or any of its officers completed the training, nor did it locate any records related to an evaluation.

2011

  • Sandra joined the local Explorer post at age 13, hoping to become a police officer.
  • When Sandra Birchmore joined, veteran officer Robert Devine led the Explorer post.He ran the program for more than a decade as he rose through the ranks from a school resource officer to deputy police chief.
  • Robert Devine brought in former Explorers Matthew Farwell and his twin brother, William, as guest instructors.
  • September 6, 2011 William Farwell applied to PD but was bypassed for employment.

March 2012

  • The department later hired both Farwell as officers. Matthew Farwell was employed as a police officer for the Stoughton Police Department beginning in March 2012. Robert Devine was on hiring board and helped cover up the fact that Matthew Farwell was caught impersonated police officers. They pulled over cars as teenagers while being part of the POST program.

2013

  • William Farwell had a sexual relationship with a member of the Stoughton Police Explorers Program, Sandra Birchmore, beginning in 2013, when she was fifteen years old and he was twenty-seven years old.
  • Joshua Heal was working as an Animal Control Officer

2014

  • April 17, 2014 Sandra’s Mother wrote a letter to Devine thanking him for running the Explorer post. By then, officer Matthew Farwell had reportedly had sex with Birchmore, according to police evidence later cited in a judge’s decision allowing the Birchmore family’s lawsuit to proceed.
  • September, 2014 William received an offer of employment for the position of Patrol Officer. He Also received an appointment to the Massachusetts State Police and attended MSP recruit Academy.

2015

  • In spring 2015, Birchmore graduated from high school, walking across the stage in flip-flops, and with her hair pinned back in a bun. 
  • September 8, 2015 Matthew Farwell was appointed to Wellesley Police Department
  • August, 2015 Rob Devine is featured in FBI LEEDA Insighter Magazine p32
  • internal affairs investigation was ordered by the Chief to look into Devine actions.

2016

  • May 18, 2016 Sandra lost her mother Denise , less than a month later on June 24, 2016 she lost her Grandmother.
  • Devine received a 60-day unpaid suspension after an internal affairs investigation found that he improperly ordered an investigation into Overstreet using department resources and technology. Later, Devine was demoted from deputy chief to patrolman after photos of an extramarital affair caused a scandal in the department. One of his superiors later described him as “exploitive, misogynistic and risk seeking.”  

2017

  • Matt Farwell was promoted to detective in 2017.
  • May 27, 2017 William Farwell appointed to Stoughton Police Department

2018

  • Sandra approached William Farwell with her interest in joining the Army. Farwell put her in touch with an Army recruiter. Billy said that Sandra got into the Army but eventually got kicked out during boot camp.

2019

  • Sandra’s closest aunt passed away.
  • Sandra Birchmore took the Massachusetts civil service exam in 2019 and was placed on the eligibility list for the Stoughton police force.
  • Joshua W. Heal met Sandra Birchmore at the local animal shelter when Sandra came to adopt a cat. They became a friends and she started confide in him about intimate details of her life including her relationship with Farwell brothers and Devine.. According to Joshua they engaged in a consensual sex act once after working hours at the animal shelter .

May 19, 2020 

  • Police was called to Sandra Birchmore home for a well-being check. A dispatcher told officers that Birchmore was “saying she wants to harm herself,” according to police radio call recordings. The Farwell brothers and Devine weren’t involved in the police response.

June 7, 2020

  • Matthew Farwell sent Sandra a text message to meet him on Walnut Street, they spent time together while Farwell was on duty.

July 14, 2020

  • Joshua Heal left Stoughton Animal Control Office to become and Abington police officer

September 2020

  • Sandra had applied for housing and was getting her own place.

October 2020

  • Sandra had begun working at East Elementary School in Sharon

November 14, 2020

  • Sandra moved out from her aunt in Stoughton

December 2020

  • Sandra moved into apartment and Matthew Farwell helped her to move.

December 23, 2020

  • Matthew Farwell was at Sandra’s apartment. Sandra told a friend she had spoken with Matthew Farwell about pregnancy a few days before Christmas. They argued a bit and she kicked him out of the apartment. But before he left, Sandra said Farwell told her I wish you would kill yourself.  

January 22, 2021

  • Sandra Birchmore had ultrasound

January 30, 2021

  • Sandra was at a hair salon

2021

  • Joshua Heal became a school resource officer in Abington. (He resigned while on administrative leave because of a pending internal investigation)
  • Birchmore was pregnant and was looking forward to being a mother. She believed Matthew Farwell was the father, but Matthew Farwell denied it.

Note: He also told investigators that he didn’t have a sexual relationship with Birchmore until 2020. Investigators found text messages indicating it began much earlier.

Date? – Sandra Birchmore was a babysitter for Matt Farwell and his wife, who gave birth right around the time Birchmore was killed.

Sandra’s whereabouts:

January 2021

Lesley Davis, 26 and Sandra Birchmore went shopping with Birchmore weeks before her death, and that she bought a $200 stroller for Birchmore.

January 31, 2021 – Sunday 

  • 9:51 AM – leaves building and on the telephone
  • 1008 AM – returns to building carrying a large box containing a baby car seat
  • 10:11 AM – leaves again
  • 1:15 PM – returns to building with two pizza boxes and talking on telephone
  • 4:39 PM leaves the building
  • 4:41 PM returns to building texting on telephone

February 1, 2021 – Monday

  • Sandra spoke with a coworker on the phone.

February 1, 2021 – Monday

  • 12:51 PM Sandra entering the building while using her cell phone at which time she proceeds to the elevator.
  • 4:25 PM Sandra spoke with her Aunt they discussed food Sandra was planning to order.
  • 5:01PM getting off the elevator, retrieving a food item from a delivery driver, and returning to the elevator.
  • 5 :31 PM, Birchmore is seen getting off the elevator in the lobby and exiting the building.
  • 5:33 PM – Sandra leaving the building and she returns at 5:46pm, holding a snow brush.

The last time Sandra was seen alive was at 5:46 PM, and the last time she was heard from was 9:00 PM:

  • 9:00 PM Birchmore had sent a coworker a message via Snapchat at approximately 9:00 PM on Monday, February 1st about work the following day since they both worked for the Sharon school system. There had been a half day on that day due to snow and a remote half day was scheduled for Tuesday, February 2. 
  • 9:14:56 PM Male entered the building : The individual is a, tall, burly, male. The individual is wearing work boots, jeans, a black jacket, and has a black hood on his head. The individual is also wearing a black mask (COVID). The party is not wearing gloves and appears to be white.
  • 9:28 PM co-worker responded to a Snapchat message from Sandra asking whether school would be canceled the following day because of a nor’easter, but Sandra never opened the communication. The colleague said Birchmore’s failure to respond was out of character because she normally was prompt to open and answer Snapchat messages.
  • 9:14:01 PM Male pushed an elevator button
  • 9:14:05 PM Entered Elevator
  • 9:43:32 PM The individual exits the elevator
  • 9:43:41 PM Male exit the building – Description of the male: When the individual exits the elevator, his jacket coat is open, and a white symbol is seen on his upper left portion of his black sweatshirt. The symbol resembled what I believed to be the Nine Line logo. Nine Line is a military apparel line.
  • 11:58 PM A friend said she texted again to Sandra but she didn’t respond.

Note 1: It snowed on Monday, February 1, 2021 into Tuesday, February 2, 2021. 

Note 2: Surveillance Video timestamp is off by 13 min

February 4, 2021 – Thursday

Morning:

  • School Resource Officer was contacted by a school officials to provide a wellness check on Sandra Birchmore, after she missed few days of work.
  • 10:00 am Michael J. Lank was notified by SRO Officer Cotard that he was going to be conducting a well being check on a party at 3307 Windsor Woods Way.
  • Officer Cotard, Officer Brady and Officer Yeaton responded to 3307 Windsor Woods Way in an effort to make contact with Sandra.
  • Once on scene, Officer Cotard notified Michael Lank that nobody was answering the door.
  • Officer Cotard was then able to locate Sandra’s vehicle in the parking lot.
  • The vehicle was covered in snow and appeared to not have been moved since the snowfall on Monday 2/1/21.
  • Being unable to reach anybody at the apartment, officers on scene were able to make contact with the property manager, Erin Porter, who provided them with a key to access the apartment for a well being check.
  • Upon entering the apartment, Officer Cotard located Sandra in the bedroom, deceased with a black strap around her neck which was tied to the bedroom closet door.
  • at this point, the scene was secured and Officer Yeaton requested Michael J. Lank response to the scene along with Detective McCourt.
  • Detectives learned from maintenance: Michael saw the party in the video before with Sandra, that the individual on camera looked like a guy who helped Sandra move in to her apartment. Sandra moved in sometime in December.
  • 11:46 AM Sandra Birchmore was found dead in her apartment by the Canton Police.

Responding Officers: Officer Cotard, Officer Brady and Officer Yeaton and Sergeant Michael Lank, of the Canton Police Dept.

Apartment:

  • Two cats in the apartment
  • There was a kitchenette immediately upon entry, toward the left side. There was a living room area directly in front of the entrance way, a short hallway that led directly to the bathroom, and the single bedroom was to the left side of the hallway.
  • The countertops in the kitchenette were almost entirely covered with personal items to include postal correspondence, junk mail, medication. and trash and an ultrasound photograph Birchmore’s name and date of birth were printed on the ultrasound..
  • the conditions of the apartment were cluttered and unkept, the living room area. Officers noted trash and clumps of cat fur on the carpet indicating that it had not been cleaned or vacuumed in some time. There was debris. trash and personal effects on virtually every horizontal surface in the living room area. There were two glass end tables, a dining room table, a glass coffee table, a couch, and a television stand with a television. There was a nook area that contained two recliners side by side, which were both covered on top and in front with personal effects and boxes.
  • the bedroom door was closed once door was opened There was a desk lamp turned on and color Christmas lights around the window that were also on. The room was cluttered and untidy in the same manner as the kitchenette and living room, with items covering the desk and a plastic storage table with drawers. There was an unmade bed with a sheet over the mattress and an exposed box spring. Sandra’s eyeglasses were on top of the bed. Among the scattered items inside the bedroom, they found a US Army ACU-pattern duffle bag.

How the body was found:

  • Sandra was in a seated position on the floor, with a scarf around her neck and tightly affixed to the closet door handle.
  • Other officer: The strap was tied to the door handle of the bedroom closet.
  • There was no visible trauma to the head, or defensive abrasions on the hands
  • According to Ensley Cotard: I also noticed a large pooling of dried blood around the mouth.
  • Due to the discoloration in skin (blue) and lividity, and appeared that the female had been there for a long period of time
  • Birchmore’s cell phone was on the floor, approximately 12 inches from her right hand and 6 inches from her right knee.
  • Chris Adams and Caitlyn Bulger of the Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body.

Medical Examiner Office: Chris Adams and Caitlyn Bulger of the Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body.

Evening:

Michael J. Lank. was contacted via email by Erin Porter 781-830-9100, who is the property manager of Windsor Woods.

  • She stated that she had seen somebody enter the building on the video footage that she believed was Alexander Stenstrom, who is a friend of Sandra.
  • Alexander Stenstrom had applied for housing a few weeks back with the recommendation of Sandra.
  • She said she was not positive due to face coverings, but she wanted to bring it to our attention. I advised her that we would look into the matter when we were able to access the video footage again.

February 5, 2021 – Friday

  • 1:08 PM – Detective spoke with Sandra’s aunt who stated she was aware that Sandra Birchmore was pregnant, and that the father of the baby is Matthew Farwell. Sandra had previously mentioned that she and Farwell had been talking through issues regarding Farwell signing the birth certificate. was asked if she was aware of any allegations or signs of abuse between Farwell and Birchmore, to which she stated she was not.
  • Deputy Chief Brian Holmes ordered a full and complete internal investigation to determine what, if any, misconduct was committed by members of the Stoughton Police Department.

February 6, 2021 – Saturday

  • 8:00 AM – Michael J. Lank returned to work as the patrol sergeant on the 8 am-4 pm shift. Once at work, He had another email received from Porter stating that she had a concerning phone call on Friday night around 9 pm
  • Matthew Farwell was interviewed by Mass State Police, during that interview he admitted to have relationship with Sandra. Farwell said he went to her apartment to broke off their relationship, she was upset, but didn’t make any “suicidal statements,” and was standing in her kitchen when he left.

Erin Porter:

  • She told him that she received a call last night on their emergency line from a party named Tina Thompson.
  • She said that Thompson was very upset and was making statements about Birchmore.
  • She stated that Birchmore had been dating a police officer and that .. She told Erin Porter that the police officer … told Birchmore he would take care of the problem himself.
  • Erin Porter advised her that she should be speaking with the police and not her.
  • Detective McCourt provided Trooper Tufts with all of this information as well as the contact information for Erin Porter and Thompson.

Thompson:

  • She said that she spoke with Birchmore about four weeks ago and this was when she first learned that Birchmore was pregnant,
  • Birchmore told her that the …… and that she seemed nervous about it.
  • She told Faherty that the father was a police officer, who was not happy about the pregnancy and did not want to …….
  • Sandra never told her where or in what capacity the boyfriend worked as a police officer.
  • Sandra went on to say that the two had broken up and were no longer together.
  • The next time Faherty recalls talking with Sandra was approximately three weeks ago. During this conversation, Faherty stated that Sandra seemed to be happier and joked with Faherty about anticipating multiple packages to be delivered in the coming weeks, as she ha ….
  • She also stated that once the baby is here, she was hoping to move into a bigger unit within Windsor Woods.
  • Faherty told detective that all packages that are delivered by courier come to the leasing office and then they send a message to the tenant.
  • She told detective that she had a record of Sandra’s recent deliveries. She picked up two packages on 1/30/21. There were three packages from Kohl’s that were delivered last week, but had not been picked up yet.
  • There was one more package that had just arrived on this day 2/6/21 from Kohl’s. The packages were small and based on what Faherty had told detective, I did not open the packages, but brought it to the attention of Troopers Dunn and Tufts.

3:10 PM

Detective’s interviewed Matt Farwell at the Gibbons School (Stoughton) in a parking lot out front:

  • Matt said that sometime early in 2020 he began a sexual relationship with Sandra. He said that he was intoxicated one night and ended up meeting up with her and having sex.
  • Matt said that he maybe had sex with her 2-3 since last year.
  • He said that the last time they had sex was the end of October 2020.
  • Matt said that sometime in December 2020 Sandra told him that she was pregnant and he was the father.
  • Matt said that he was confident the last time he had sex with her and that the timeline didn’t add up based on her expected due date in September. Matt was adamant that he is not the father of the unborn child that Sandra was carrying at the time of her death.
  • Monday February 1, 2021 he went to Sandra’s apartment in Canton.
  • He said that he asked her if he could come by and she said no problem.
  • Matt said that he intended on breaking everything off with Sandra.
  • Matt said that he told Sandra that she was crazy and it was not his child.
  • He said that Sandra told him that he was a dick” Matt said that he was straight-forward in his conversation with her, and told her that it was all over and he was blocking her from all forms of communication.
  • Matt said that it was a pretty nasty argument but they weren’t too loud.
  • Matt said he kept telling Sandra that there is no way that he’s the father based on her timeline. Matt said that he kept calm and was not trying to incite a fight. Matt said that Sandra was upset, but she did not make any suicidal statements at all.
  • Matt said that he left and Sandra was standing in the kitchen when he walked out.
  • Matt said that he arrived around 9: 10 pm and left around 9:30pm. (Matt is observed by video surveillance entering and leaving Sandra’s building, the approximate time was 28 minutes).
  • Matt said that when he left he blocked Sandra on all communication platforms.
  • Matt said that the last time he had seen Sandra prior to Monday February 1 was approximately a week before.
  • He said that he had been trying to distance himself from her.
  • Matt said that Sandra was having sex with other people during their entire time together.
  • Matt did not know that Sandra was telling other people that he was the father of her unborn child.
  • Matt said that he has been to her Canton apartment 5-6 times and he helped her move in.
  • Matt said that he had never had sex with her in the Canton apartment.
  • Matt said that prior to the Canton apartment, Sandra was living at her grandmother’s house on Holbrook Ave in Stoughton.

February 8, 2021

Detective Interviewed Sandra’s Closest Friend

  • They met in high school and that Birchmore was one academic year below her.
  • She and Birchmore would typically speak approximately three times a week, and would see one another in person one to two times per week.
  • stated that Birchmore told her that she had kicked the baby’s father out of her apartment one time, approximately 2 or 3 weeks earlier, after the two had argued about the birth certificate issue. stated that Birchmore had also told her about another verbal argument the two had.
  • Birchmore told her that she and the father of the baby were still trying to figure out how to approach the situation with respect to him signing the baby’s birth certificate.
  • According to Birchmore said that he would waver between being ok with signing it and then not.

Detective Interviewed Teacher and a friend

  • Birchmore would not necessarily get sad when something to upset her. Instead, she would tend to become aggressive and angry if something were to upset her.
  • She stated that she was never really sure if she could take Birchmore’s word as true. For example, she was aware Birchmore would occasionally fabricate events. For that reason, stated she was leery of what Birchmore would tell her and what was actually true. She stated that recently she had spoken with Birchmore less often due to the coronavirus pandemic. During this time. she described their communication as “spotty.”
  • in January2021 told her that she was pregnant. Birchmore stated that the father was a close friend”but did not mention a name. stated she was not sure if Birchmore was telling the truth about the pregnancy at the time. given that she could not always believe Sandra Birchmore’s word.
  • January 22″, Birchmore told her she had already had several ultrasounds
  • Birchmore would share “drama” about the Stoughton Police with her, specifically mentioning how the chief was treating one specific officer unfairly

10:58 AM – Interviewed Witness:

  • She had met Birchmore around December or January, while taking classes at Massasoit. She stated that she and Birchmore spoke almost daily.
  • she had last spoken with Birchmore on Sunday January 31, According to her phone for the time, they had spoken at 11:57 AM, and that she had received a missed call from Birchmore at 7:16 PM on that day.
  • According to Birchmore was approximately 12 weeks pregnant and planned to announce it publicly on February 14.
  • Birchmore had mentioned being involved in a court case due to a car crash she had been in.
  • Birchmore was upset that the father of the baby wanted to have his own kids with his wife. but not with her. When questioned about any signs or mention of abuse between the baby’s father and Birchmore stated that she knew he had raised his voice to Birchmore before, but “never anything more than that.”

Detective Interview cousin of Sandra Birchmore’s mother:

  • She had seen Sandra Birchmore in person approximately two weeks ago, at which time they had spoken about her pregnancy and stated that she believed the baby’s father had a key to Sandra Birchmore’s apartment.
  • During her conversation with Birchmore, she brought up the topic of adoption, however, Birchmore stated she was not considering that as an option. Sandra never mentioned him by name.
  • Aunt said Sandra that Birchmore had babysat for his children before, which she believed to have occurred somewhat recently.

Detective Interviewed a friend:

  • she and her sister had breakfast with Birchmore, which turned into a long conversation
  • She stated that Birchmore was a member of the “respect program” at age 8 and later the junior officer program at age 13
  • Birchmore began a relationship with Matt Farwell of the Stoughton Police Department at age of 15
  • Birchmore had previously enlisted in the military at one point but had gotten kicked out,
  • Birchmore was pressuring Matt Farwell to sign the baby’s birth certificate.
  • She further stated that Matt’s brother, Billy Farwell, had informed Matt’s wife about the affair.
  • Matt’s wife confronted him but he denied it.
  • Birchmore had previously told that Matt Farwell’s wife knew about the affair.

Detective Interviewed close friend of Birchmore

  • she has known Sandra since they were 7 or 8 years old, at which time they were involved in a program that helps mothers strengthen bonds with their children.
  • They then played volleyball together from approximately ages 9 through 12. stated she moved to a different school in Brookline around the 5″ to 6″ grade but remained living in Stoughton.
  • Over the years, she and Birchmore would lose touch for an extended period of time then reconnect and occasionally communicate via social media or an occasional text message here or there. This continued into their late teens and early 20s. According to , this past summer she and Birchmore began to interact once again.
  • Sandra sked her if she could move into her house.
  • Birchmore had said at the time that she was having an issue with her aunt. who was selling the house where they were both living. also stated that Birchmore did not trust her aunt with her cats, and wanted mother to look after them.
  • Birchmore also asked to watch her cats and dog if she ended up going back into the military.
  • November or early December, she went over to Birchmore’s apartment complex where they hung out for approximately 2 hours outside the building. then went over to Birchmore’s apartment a few days after that. Around December I2 ” Birchmore told that she was pregnant. She told that the baby’s father was a Stoughton detective but she did not say his name. Birchmore told that she and the father are dating. but because he’s still married, they are not “official.”
  • Birchmore had told her that the baby’s father was going to divorce his wife, but can’t right now because of corona virus. Birchmore had told her that at the time she became pregnant,
  • Birchmore further told that she used to babysit
  • Birchmore asked if she was going to have a baby too, and mentioned something to about “baby fever.”
  • Birchmore began avoiding certain foods when she began to suspect she was pregnant, but pointed out this was before Birchmore ever even took a blood or urine pregnancy test.
  • Birchmore told her she had told the baby’s father about the pregnancy a few days after Christmas. Apparently the father was upset about the pregnancy, and She then kicked him out of the apartment. stated that Birchmore told her he had said “I wish you would kill yourself’ or “l wish you were dead.”
  • she wanted the baby to have the father’s last name and wanted the birth certificate to reflect that.
  • She also wanted him in the delivery room when she gave birth.
  • Birchmore had demanded that if he could be in the delivery room with his wife, then he could be in the delivery room with her.
  • Birchmore had told about a second meeting between her and the father of the baby to discuss the pregnancy. which occurred sometime around January 8″. According to Birchmore and the father argued at this meeting as well.
  • Birchmore had owed her the money for a couple months and eventually she told Birchmore she needed some of it paid back.
  • January 16 2021 stated that Birchmore responded by saying that she would send her $150 that night. After receiving no response from Birchmore, got irritated and asked her why she only stopped responding when she requested that Birchmore pay her back. Birchmore responded a few days later stating that she didn’t respond because she had hit her head on her car door and then again on the pavement and had to go to the hospital
  • January 20″, she called the Stoughton Police and informed them about the monetary dispute. was advised that this was a civil matter. She stated that she became upset and responded to the officer on phone by insinuating that the Stoughton officer or detective that Birchmore is engaged in a sexual relationship with should tell her to pay back the money she owes. stated she then received a phone call from Birchmore not long after this took place.
  • Interview with ex-wife of Birchmores mother’s cousin
  • Birchmore had told her she was upset about her aunt selling the house. She stated that Birchmore “seemed down” and knew that the pregnancy was going to be an “uphill battle.
  • stated that she knew the father was a detective, has two children of his own, and that his wife is pregnant and due sometime in February. further stated that the father of the baby is a twin and Birchmore’s mother is a twin, so they had discussed the potential of Birchmore possibly being more likely to have twins. She said that she later spoke with Birchmore after an ultrasound and was told Birchmore was only pregnant with one child.
  • she justb didn’t want the father’s wife to find out. Birchmore had told that the father was willing to help with the pregnancy and the baby. stated that she and Birchmore discussed but they also spoke about topics such as her plans for the baby, day care, a baby shower, etc.

February 9, 2021

Detectives Interviewed a friend of Birchmore when they were younger.

  • she moved across the street from Birchmore’s house when she was about 4 years old, and had known Birchmore, off and on, for about 1 7 years. stated she and Birchmore were very close between the ages of 4 and 12. She stated that until about a month ago, she had not spoken to Birchmore in approximately two years. According to Birchmore had reached out to her about a month ago out of the blue. stated that she was actually kind of surprised to hear from Birchmore. She stated that when they last spoke. they had left things “not necessarily on bad terms, but not great terms.”
  • They then spoke via Facetime for approximately two hours. During that conversation, Birchmore told that she was pregnant but she was not sure who the father was.
  • She told that she was sleeping with twin brothers. stated that Birchmore told her that one or both of the twins were cops.
  • stated that Birchmore never actually said the name of either party. Birchmore told that she wasn’t sure what to do and asked her for advice since she already has a child of her own.
  • When asked to elaborate on what Birchmore told her regarding the pregnancy. stated that Birchmore did not know who the father was due to a “timeframe thing in which she was sexually active with more than one individual around the time she became pregnant. However. stated that Birchmore later told her that she knew who the father was and stated he was a cop. Birchmore told that he made a lot of money. stated that it was an awkward situation because the father of the baby was married and Birchmore did not know what to do.
  • that she had told the father of the baby how much money he would have to pay per month once the baby was born. According to Birchmore told her that she would be demanding $4,000 per month from the baby’s father. plus an additional $3,000 for daycare. stated that Birchmore had already picked out a specific daycare center. the Creative World Children’s Learning Center in South Easton, MA noted that it was not even a month into her pregnancy when Birchmore told her all of this.
  • Birchmore told her that the baby’s father was in denial, saying that it was not his child. Birchmore told her that he did not seem happy about the pregnancy. further stated that Birchmore seemed set on having the baby alone if he was not going to be involved, and stated she did not need help. said Birchmore “seemed completely OK with that.”
  • stated she was aware that sometimes Birchmore would make up stories, however, she believed the information at the time and it sounded real. then went on state that she was aware there were various rumors going around Stoughton regarding Birchmore’s death, such as: the death was a suicide, that a cop was involved, and that the death was suspicious with blood all over the walls in her apartment.
  • Detective Collected iPhone11 from Matthew Farwell

February 9,2021 12pm

  • Detectives met with Matthew Farwell at the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office in Canton.
  • Matthew gave consent to retrieve the data off his phone relative to the investigation into the death of Sandra Birchmore.

February 11, 2021 at 4:05pm

Trooper Matt Dunne interviewed William Billy”Farwell (Matthew Fawell twin brother) in a parking lot at Cobbs Corner in Stoughton.

  • Billy said that he heard Sandra passed away on Friday. Billy said that he first met Sandra about ten years ago when Sandra was a Police Explorer in Stoughton and Billy was a guest instructor. The Police Explorer program is a junior academy program for high school aged kids, exposing them to the different facets of law enforcement.
  • Billy said that he had not seen Sandra in a very long time probably since the Explorers program.
  • Billy became a Stoughton Police Officer in 2017. In 2018
  • Billy saw Sandra while he was working a paid detail in Stoughton. Billy said that Sandra remembered him but he didn’t really remember her that well.
  • Billy said that Sandra wanted to get into the Army and asked if he had any contacts. Billy who still serves in the military helped her get in contact with recruiters to get into the Army.
  • Billy said that Sandra got into the Army but eventually got kicked out during boot camp.
  • Billy said that Sandra started constantly contacting him. Billy said that the last time he was in contact with Sandra was about two weeks ago, via email.
  • Sandra told Billy that she has been accepted to nursing school.
  • Billy said that he had a sexual relationship with Sandra going back about two years. Billy said that in 2020 he had been with her sexually maybe 2-3 times.
  • Billy said that the last time they were together was sometime in December of 2020. Sandra told Billy that she was pregnant and that the father was his brother Matt. Billy said he knew that he didn’t get her pregnant

February 12, 2021

Interview with a friend

  • stated that she has known Birchmore since elementary school. She stated that over time, she and Birchmore fell out of touch, but reconnected toward the end of high school around the time they were age 17 or 18. said that she and Birchmore attended volleyball open court sessions in Stoughton around that time.
  • She stated that Sandra Birchmore told her that at one point after expressing he was unhappy about the pregnancy, an argument took place between the two. Birchmore told him that she was going to tell his wife and his job. stated that Birchmore was aware this would get him into trouble. The father of the child then got angry and took Sandra Birchmore phone from her, this was approximately two weeks prior to her being found deceased.
  • Sandra Birchmore told her, she had been sleeping with a married man and he was the father of the baby.
  • She also told she had already bought a baby stroller. that said that Birchmore had wanted a family of her own, but she believed the baby’s father may not have wanted the pregnancy.
  • According to Sandra Birchmore “wasn’t trying to not get pregnant.” When asked to elaborate, said that she believed Birchmore may have intentionally gotten pregnant
  • Sandra Birchmore had sent her a message via Snapchat at approximately 9:00PM on Monday, February I’ about work the following day since they both worked for the Sharon school system. There had been a half day on that day due to snow. and a remote half day was scheduled for Tuesday, February 2. They spoke about work, but stated that Birchmore never responded to her last Snapchat message.
  • She stated that Sandra Birchmore told her that at one point after expressing he was unhappy about the pregnancy, an argument took place between the two. Sandra Birchmore told him that she was going to tell his wife and his job. stated that Birchmore was aware this would get him into trouble. The father of the child then got angry and took Sandra’s phone from her, this was approximately two weeks prior to her being found deceased. Sandra Birchmore had also told that “he should leave his wife, he loves me” and that he loves her more than his wife.

May 2021

  • the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that Birchmore, 23, a former participant in a Stoughton police youth program who was pregnant when she died, killed herself by hanging, according to her death certificate

July 1, 2021

  • Farwell was automatically certified as a police officer in Massachusetts.

October 6, 2021

  • Detectives received Sandra’s MacBook Air.

December 22, 2021

  • Detectives received all pet adoption files from Stoughton Animal Control shelter. There was no records of Sandra adopting a cat from a shelter where Joshua Heal was employed as Animal Control Officer.
  • Stoughton investigators interviewed Joshua Heal as part of their inquiry into Sandra, but Heal walked off the interview. “He didn’t feel like a witness; rather, he felt like he was being “interrogated.”

February 2022

  • Joshua Heal agreed to another interview. During his second interview, he said that because Birchmore had confided so much to him, she would tell Heal details about her relationships with the other Stoughton police officers, including sharing photos and videos. Birchmore told him Matthew Farwell used a phone to track her whereabouts and met her for sex at his residence and at a soccer field. Heal testified that Birchmore seemed to need to “vent.”

April 1, 2022.

  • Matthew Farwell resigned from that position.

April 8, 2022.

  • Robert Devine was interviewed by Paul L’Italien and Robert Fries at the MPCT Training Academy. During that interview Devine denied that he had any relationship with Sandra.

August 1, 2022

  • Farwell Resigned from PD

August 16, 2022

  • Robert Devine Resigned from PD

August 29, 2022

  • investigation into possible violations was completed.
  • the Stoughton Police Department sustained allegations that Farwell engaged in conduct unbecoming of an officer, was incompetent, was untruthful, and failed to display the proper attention and devotion to his duty. 

September 23, 2022

  • Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamara held a press conference on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at police headquarters where she revealed the results of an internal investigation, which found that three now-former Stoughton police officers engaged in inappropriate relationships with a young woman who took her own life while pregnant last year.
  • Joshua Heal was put on administrative leave after the Stoughton Deputy Chief told Chief David Del Papa they considered Heal a non-credible witness

October 10, 2022,

  • the Commission denied the Stoughton Police Department’s application for recertification of Farwell.
  • The investigation also revealed inappropriate communication between a military recruiter and Birchmore.

November 22, 2022

  • the Commission authorized the Division to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations of misconduct against Farwell.

December 29, 2022

  • Darlene Smith (aunt) as the personal representative of the estate of Sandra Birchmore, filed a lawsuit against Matthew Farwell and former officers William Farwell and Robert Devine, the Town of Stoughton, and the Stoughton Police Department.
  • The lawsuit states that the complaint claims a grooming scheme and misconduct led to Sandra Birchmore’s death.
  •  Friends and family of Birchmore have found her death to be more suspicious despite reports listing her death as a suicide.

June 30, 2023

  • the Division submitted its report of preliminary inquiry to the Commission.

July 12, 2023

  • the Commission voted to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Farwell. 

March 21, 2024.

  • Matthew Farwell LE Certificate revoked.

July 12, 2024

  • Civil Lawsuit Motion to Compel Hearing: Sandra Birchmore’s hearing focused on a Motion to Compel document. The Attorney General’s office has objected to Farwell’s attorney’s motion to produce documents related to the investigation. During a hearing Friday morning on a motion to compel the Attorney General’s office to provide those documents, attorneys also confirmed that a separate federal investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office is underway, though they did not say what exactly the subject of that probe was. The attorney general’s office took over an investigation that was being led by Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office.




Matthew G. Farwell

September 1998 Matthew and William Farwell joined Police Explorers Program, they were 12 years old. Farwell brothers were known to have disciplinary issues while attending school.

In 2003 Robert Devine brought in former Explorers Matthew Farwell and his twin brother, William, as guest instructors. Later that year William Farwell was designated a the rank of Lieutenant within Explorer Program.

2008 Matthew Farwell was hired by the Wellesley Police Department – He received several commendations in Wellesley PD, including one for performing CPR on a man who collapsed while working out at a local gym.

Prior to becoming a police officer Matthew Farwell and William Farwell allegedly impersonated police officers and pulled over cars as teenagers, **exercising an abuse of the trust of authority that accompanies the role of police officers, although Devine has previously denied any such knowledge of that behavior as per the PD investigation report. However, such a lack of knowledge, as described by the same report, would be impossible as Devine was the head of the Program, was familiar with both M. Farwell and W. Farwell, and sat on the hiring board for Matthew Farwell in 2012.

Matthew Farwell was employed as a police officer for the Stoughton Police Department beginning in March 2012.

Sandra Birchmore, 23, first met former police officer Matthew Farwell as part of the Youth Explorers program in 2010 when she was 13.

Farwell had a sexual relationship with Sandra Birchmore, beginning in 2013, when she was fifteen years old and he was twenty-seven years old, which is considered statutory rape under Massachusetts law.

Farwell, 36, was a detective, former patrolmen union president, and a married father. He was 26 at the time when prosecutors say the abuse began.

September, 2014 William Matthew twin brother received an offer of employment for the position of Patrol Officer. He Also received an appointment to the Massachusetts State Police and attended MSP recruit Academy.

Matthew Farwell’s twin brother, William Farwell and Officer Robert C. Devine were the other two Stoughton officers named in an internal affairs report commissioned by Stoughton police.

Evidence uncovered in the investigation found that William Farwell had engaged in “multiple inappropriate physical encounters” with Birchmore and had sent explicit messages and photos to the girl while he was on duty, McNamara said.

“The investigation found that Matthew exploited Miss Birchmore when she was young,” McNamara said.

February 1, 2021 Matthew Farwell came to see Sandra. The following day February 2, 2021 at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Newton Massachusetts, Michelle Farwell, wife to Matthew Farwell, a Stoughton Police Department Detective, gave birth to their 3rd child at 9:25 in the morning.

Birchmore was found dead February 4 2021 three days after Matther Farwell was the last one who saw Sandra alive. and had told friends that she was pregnant with Matthew Farwell’s child. Matthew Farwell denied that the baby was his, and he was the last to see Sandra alive. 

Farwell told troopers he visited Birchmore’s apartment on the evening of Feb. 1, 2021, telling her that he wasn’t the father of her baby, records show. Birchmore was upset, Farwell told the troopers, but didn’t make “any suicidal statements.” “Matt said that he was straightforward in his conversation with her, and told her that it was all over and he was blocking her from all forms of communication,” Fanning wrote.

Surveillance footage from Birchmore’s apartment complex showed Farwell entering her apartment building and then exiting 28 minutes later, State Police records show.

On February 6, 2021 Matthew Farwell was interviewed, he stated that sometime early in 2020 he began a sexual relationship with Sandra. He said that he was intoxicated one night and ended up meeting up with her and having sex. Matt said that he maybe had sex with her 2-3 since last year. He said that the last time they had sex was the end of October 2020.

Matt said that sometime in December 2020 Sandra told him that she was pregnant and he was the father.

Matt said that he was confident the last time he had sex with her and that the timeline didn’t add up based on her expected due date in September. He was adamant that he is not the father of the unborn child that Sandra was carrying at the time of her death.

Monday February 1, 2021 he went to Sandra’s apartment in Canton. He said that he asked her if he could come by and she said no problem and he intended on breaking everything off with Sandra.

Matt said that he told Sandra that she was crazy and it was not his child. He said that Sandra told him that he was a dick” Matt said that he was straight-forward in his conversation with her, and told her that it was all over and he was blocking her from all forms of communication. Matt said he kept telling Sandra that there is no way that he’s the father based on her timeline. He said that he kept calm and was not trying to incite a fight. Sandra was upset, but she did not make any suicidal statements at all. It was a pretty nasty argument but they weren’t too loud and when he left and Sandra was standing in the kitchen when he walked out.

William Farwell, has been was put on military leave, was later informed that he was being placed on paid administrative leave, Town Manager Robin A. Grimm said.

Decertification Date: March 1, 2023

Matthew Farwell became licensed as a commercial driver in 2021 and has a trucking business in Easton, MS

Robert C. Devine

Robert C. Devine, quickly climbed the ranks of the Stoughton Police Department after becoming a patrolman in 1999. He served as a school resource officer, sergeant, lieutenant and executive officer.

Robert C. Devine Career as SPD officer:

  • 1999 Joined the SPD
  • 2001-2004 Devine served as school resource officer
  • 2002 Robert Devine was ordered to run the Explorers Program by the Former Chief Cachopa
  • 2004-2006 served as sergeant from
  • 2006 became a lieutenant
  • 2008 became the Executive Officer
  • 2011 – Devine received an award for his work in investigating corruption within his own department (SPD) Read Here
  • 2012 Devine served as the acting chief for 2 months When Shastany was at FBI training
  • May 2013 – Devine, who was appointed to the deputy police

April 18, 2011 – FBI director Robert Mueller flew Devine to Nashville to present him with an award for his work in investigating corruption within his own department (SPD). Read Here He then served as the department’s spokesman and deputy chief. Photo

2012 – When Shastany was at FBI training in early 2012, Devine served as the acting chief for 2 months.

May 2013 – Devine, who was appointed to the deputy police

Stoughton Police Explorers Program

The program that first introduced Birchmore to the officers is one of many similar chapters at police agencies across the country. Created by the Boy Scouts of America decades ago, law enforcement Explorer posts are intended to help teenagers and young adults learn about policing.

Robert C. Devine, 51 then a deputy chief in Stoughton led the department’s youth program since early 2000, the Stoughton Police Explorers Program.

In 2010 Robert Devine brought in former Explorers Matthew Farwell and his twin brother, William, as guest instructors, Matt and Billy Farwell are twin brothers and former Stoughton High School students who went through the same program 12 years earlier. Both brothers were in their mid-20s and would go on to become Stoughton Police Officers. it was the same year Sandra Birchmore tried to join Youth Explorers program in 2010 when she was 13 but was put on the stand-by list for the program, She became a member in 2011 that is when Sandra first met former police Robert C. Devine, officer Matthew Farwell and Officer Farwell

Extramarital Affair

2013 Devine began to have an affair with Tiffany Overstreet.

March 10, 2014, Deputy Police Chief, Robert Devine, is reading at the Stoughton Library2014, and Deputy Police Chief, Robert Devine, is reading at the Stoughton Library Listen Here

October of 2014 obtained restraining orders against Overstreet, when he claimed that he and his wife (who is also a cop in a different town) were receiving threatening messages from Overstreet. Allegedly Overstreet send flowers to his wife November of 2014 Overstreet sent naked pictures of her and Devine to his coworkers and their spouses.

December 18, 2014 Easton Police raided Overstreet’s home in Easton in order to seize her computers to prove she was the one sending the naked pictures.

Overstreet was was taken into custody by state police and charged with with three counts of violating harassment prevention orders that were filed against her by Devine and his wife and was released on personal recognizance. The case has been transferred to Dedham District Court. 

Five days after her arrest, Overstreet reported a break-in at her Easton apartment, When Easton police responded they found no sign of forced entry, according to police, but her apartment “was in disarray – dresser drawers were pulled out, couch cushions were thrown on the floor.”

During investigation it was discovered that Devine continued to meet up with Overstreet for sex. He claimed he was only doing so in order to save her life because she would commit suicide if he didn’t continue to plow ahead. Read Here

August, 2015 Rob Devine is featured in FBI LEEDA Insighter Magazine p32

in 2015 Devine was paid $125,284 a year.

2015 – internal affairs investigation was ordered by the Chief to look into Devine actions.

July 2015 – Devine received a 60-day unpaid suspension after an internal affairs investigation found that he improperly ordered an investigation into Overstreet using department resources and technology.

Stoughton Chief Paul Shastany stated that adjustments have been made to the role of 42-year-old Devine, who admitted to state police that he had been involved in a several-month-long affair with Tiffany Overstreet, 30, from Easton, which ultimately turned sour. At that time Devine served as the deputy or second in command in Stoughton and acts as the chief when Shastany is absent.

The matter has led Shastany to take on some of Devine’s work, and prompted at least one police expert to question whether Devine should stay in his position. But Shastany stood by the deputy chief, saying Devine is “the victim” in this case and terming the situation a “personnel matter.”

Feb. 12, 2016 Devine was demoted by Town Manager Michael Hartman, who announced his decision in a brief press release. Devine reached an agreement with Hartman to return to the lowest rank within the department.

Due to this decision in the case by Michael Hartman was one of the reasons Chief Shastany announced that he planed to retire in April, 2016.

He believed the town manager has left him out of many department decisions. The police Chief Shastany pushed for Devine termination after he said he took a long look at the documents and reports related to the case but Shastany said he found out an agreement was reached an hour and 25 minutes before an executive session. A custodian hand-delivered Shastany a letter written by Hartman announcing his decision. Letter

Investigation into Sandra Birchmore Death:

Internal investigators found Facebook messages between Birchmore and Devine during which he asked her for sex acts and discussed locations to meet. Devine communicated with Birchmore on Facebook, using the alias Marty Riggs, a police officer from “Lethal Weapon.”

Devine had a sexual relationship with Sandra Birchmore while she was still a member of the Explorers Program, but, by 2020, he was having full-fledged sexual encounters with her at various locations, including inside his Stoughton P.D. patrol car.5 Defendant Devine’s relationship with Ms. Birchmore appears to have been ongoing at the time of her death. Read here

Court Records Details 2014:

documents detailed a clandestine relationship between Devine and Overstreet that started in fall 2013 and eventually reached both his family and the department.

By summer 2014, Devine wanted to end their relationship, and began receiving harassing and threatening messages, he told investigators.

Devine contacted state police in November after an email containing graphic photos of him and Overstreet was sent to his police co-workers and their spouses, the police report states. Devine’s wife is a police officer in a different community.

The meetings, according to the report, came after Overstreet had threatened to commit suicide if Devine “abandoned her.” Court records show that a week before her arrest, on Dec. 11, Devine and his wife requested the court “immediately rescind” the harassment prevention orders against Overstreet.

William Farwell

September 1998 Matthew and William Farwell joined Police Explorers Program, they were 12 years old. Farwell brothers were known to have disciplinary issues while attending school.

2008, Billy joined the U.S. Army EOD.

In 2003 Robert Devine brought in former Explorers Matthew Farwell and his twin brother, William, as guest instructors. Later that year William Farwell was designated a the rank of Lieutenant within Explorer Program.

Billy has volunteered with the Stoughton Police Explorers program with which he grew up.

He has assisted Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine with the running of the annual academy, bringing in Army EOD equipment so the kids could try on a bomb suit or drive one of the robots.

Devine said, “All three were in the very first Explorers class 11 years ago. It means a lot to have one of the men in our department. They grew up right before my eyes. If we played even a small part in their success, I’m proud of that.”

September 6, 2011 William Farwell applied to PD but was bypassed for employment.

Dec. 9, 2011 William aka Billy served full time with the Massachusetts National Guard and was deployed overseas to Kosovo. He was a U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Team Leader.

Prior to becoming a police officer Matthew Farwell and William Farwell allegedly impersonated police officers and pulled over cars as teenagers, **exercising an abuse of the trust of authority that accompanies the role of police officers, although Devine has previously denied any such knowledge of that behavior as per the PD investigation report. However, such a lack of knowledge, as described by the same report, would be impossible as Devine was the head of the Program, was familiar with both M. Farwell and W. Farwell, and sat on the hiring board for both Brothers.

Sandra Birchmore, 23, first met William Farwell as part of the Youth Explorers program in 2010 when she was 13.

2013 William Farwell had a sexual relationship with a member of the Stoughton Police Explorers Program, Sandra Birchmore, beginning in 2013, when she was fifteen years old and he was twenty-seven years old.

September, 2014 William received an offer of employment for the position of Patrol Officer. He Also received an appointment to the Massachusetts State Police and attended MSP recruit Academy.

2018 Sandra approached William Farwell with her interest in joining the Army. Farwell put her in touch with an Army recruiter. Billy said that Sandra got into the Army but eventually got kicked out during boot camp.

February 1, 2021 Matthew Farwell came to see Sandra. The following day February 2, 2021 at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Newton Massachusetts, Michelle Farwell, wife to Matthew Farwell, a Stoughton Police Department Detective, gave birth to their 3rd child at 9:25 in the morning.

Birchmore was found dead February 4 2021 three days after Matthew Farwell was the last one who saw Sandra alive. and had told friends that she was pregnant with Matthew Farwell’s child. Matthew Farwell denied that the baby was his, and he was the last to see Sandra alive. 

Farwell told troopers he visited Birchmore’s apartment on the evening of Feb. 1, 2021, telling her that he wasn’t the father of her baby, records show. Birchmore was upset, Farwell told the troopers, but didn’t make “any suicidal statements.” “Matt said that he was straightforward in his conversation with her, and told her that it was all over and he was blocking her from all forms of communication,” Fanning wrote.

Surveillance footage from Birchmore’s apartment complex showed Farwell entering her apartment building and then exiting 28 minutes later.

February 11, 2021 at 4:05pm Trooper Matt Dunne interviewed William Billy”Farwell (Matthew Fawell twin brother) in a parking lot at Cobbs Corner in Stoughton.

  • Billy said that he heard Sandra passed away on Friday. Billy said that he first met Sandra about ten years ago when Sandra was a Police Explorer in Stoughton and Billy was a guest instructor. The Police Explorer program is a junior academy program for high school aged kids, exposing them to the different facets of law enforcement.
  • Billy said that he had not seen Sandra in a very long time probably since the Explorers program.
  • Billy became a Stoughton Police Officer in 2017. In 2018
  • Billy saw Sandra while he was working a paid detail in Stoughton. Billy said that Sandra remembered him but he didn’t really remember her that well.
  • Billy said that Sandra wanted to get into the Army and asked if he had any contacts. Billy who still serves in the military helped her get in contact with recruiters to get into the Army.
  • Billy said that Sandra got into the Army but eventually got kicked out during boot camp.
  • Billy said that Sandra started constantly contacting him. Billy said that the last time he was in contact with Sandra was about two weeks ago, via email.
  • Sandra told Billy that she has been accepted to nursing school.
  • Billy said that he had a sexual relationship with Sandra going back about two years. Billy said that in 2020 he had been with her sexually maybe 2-3 times.
  • Billy said that the last time they were together was sometime in December of 2020. Sandra told Billy that she was pregnant and that the father was his brother Matt. Billy said he knew that he didn’t get her pregnant

Matthew Farwell’s twin brother, William Farwell and  Officer Robert C. Devine were the other two Stoughton officers named in an internal affairs report commissioned by Stoughton police.

Evidence uncovered in the investigation found that William Farwell had engaged in “multiple inappropriate physical encounters” with Birchmore and had sent explicit messages and photos to the girl while he was on duty, McNamara said.

  • William made inappropriate cellphone exchanges with Birchmore while on duty, according to the findings, and reportedly introduced her to others.
  • William Farwell of encouraging Birchmore to “secretly record her sexual encounters with others” and send him the photos or videos.
  • One photo, sent by Birchmore to William Farwell on Aug. 16, 2020, depicted the male genitalia of an unnamed Stoughton officer, according to POST records, which refer to Birchmore by her initials.
  • William Farwell was aware that Birchmore believed she was pregnant with Matthew Farwell’s child and that Devine was having a sexual relationship with her, Davis wrote.

William Farwell, has been was put on military leave, was later informed that he was being placed on paid administrative leave, Town Manager Robin A. Grimm said.

William Farwell resigned from the department on Aug. 1 2022 and began working the same day for the Transportation Security Administration at Baltimore/Washington International Airport

After leaving the Stoughton police, William Farwell worked for the Transportation Security Administration as an explosive specialist in Maryland, but the agency dismissed him in October 2022, a spokesperson said. He purchased a home in Rio Ranch, N.M.,

Decertification Date: March 1, 2023

Joshua W. Heal

Josh Heal Graduated from Plymouth Police Academy. Before joining the Abington Police Department in 2019, Heal held the position of Animal Control Officer with the Stoughton Police Department.

  • 2015 – 2019 Heal was the Stoughton Police Department’s Animal Control Officer .
  • 2019 – Joshua W. Heal met Sandra Birchmore when she came to the shelter to adopt a cat. They became friends and later engaged in a consensual sex act once after working hours at the animal shelter.
  • 2020 – Became an Abington police officer
  • 2021, Joshua Heal became a school resource officer in Abington

He was interviewed twice by Stoughton investigators regarding the Birchmore case, first in December 2021 and again in February 2022.

December 2021

Stoughton investigators interviewed him as part of their inquiry into Sandra, Investigators for the Stoughton Police Department asked Heal during both interviews if he had “engaged” in certain behaviors with Birchmore but he walked off the interview. “He didn’t feel like a witness; rather, he felt like he was being “interrogated.”

February 2022

Josh Heal agreed to another interview after Del Papa told Heal police department policies and procedures require him to cooperate, Heal later agreed to sit for the second interview. During his second interview, Joshua Heal informed Stoughton investigators that Birchmore adopted a cat from the shelter around 2019 and would sometimes visit to see the dogs and cats. During these visits, according to interview transcripts, Birchmore would confide in Heal about her relationships with other Stoughton police officers, including sharing photos and videos. Heal testified that Birchmore appeared to need an outlet to “vent” during these interactions.

Sandra Birchmore told him Matthew Farwell used a phone to track her whereabouts and met her for sex at his residence and at a soccer field.

Investigation into Joshua Heal

According to a report by Allen Consulting Services, which conducted an internal investigation for Abington, it concluded that there was “sufficient credible evidence” indicating Heal violated department rules regarding proper officer conduct. This was primarily due to his alleged lack of truthfulness, full cooperation, and openness during the initial Stoughton investigation and subsequent interactions with Abington Police leadership.

These findings suggested that Heal could have potentially faced decertification as a police officer under Massachusetts’ new police reform law.

Based on the findings , prior to Heal’s resignation and scheduled APD Investigatory Interview, this investigator finds that there is sufficient credible evidence that Heal, while serving as an APD officer, violated APD rule and regulation, 4.01 – Conduct Unbecoming. There is sufficient credible evidence that Heal was not truthful, fully cooperative, and/or forthcoming during the SPD administrative investigation, including in his responses to questions from Holmes and L’Italien during interview #1 and interview #2. Heal did not fully disclose or advise Del Papa with complete and thorough information specific to his personal interactions with Sandra Birchmore, related to the SPD administrative investigation. Heal was not fully truth fill when he disclosed to Chief Del Papa and Sullivan that he was declining to be interviewed in a second, subsequent interview by Holmes because Heal was concerned about information being released. Heal was was not truthful with Chief Del Papa and Sullivan, as he had on at least one occasion ***redacted

In the statement provided by Chief Del Papa, December 2021, Del Papa was informed by the Stoughton Deputy Chief that the officer Heal, who is now with Abington, was considered a material witness in an ongoing investigation. Specific details were not disclosed. Del Papa suggested placing the officer Heal on administrative leave but was advised against it. The Stoughton Deputy Chief assured Del Papa that he would be notified if the officer’s status in the investigation changed.

September 22, 2022 Del Papa (who became Abington Police Chief in August 2021) received notification during the week the department completed its report that the officer was facing allegations. Since then, the Abington officer Joshua Heal has been put on paid administrative leave.

On September 20, 2022, Stoughton Deputy Chief Holmes met Del Papa in person in Holbrook. At that time, Stoughton Deputy Chief Holmes provided Chief Del Papa with information specific to Heal, arising from the completed SPD investigation. Specifically, Holmes provided Del Papa with a package containing two (2) transcripts of the recorded interviews that Heal participated in with SPD investigators and a cover letter from SPD Chief McNamara. Holmes then asked Del Papa if Heal was still working in the Abington Schools, as SRO. Del Papa also recalled that Holmes said he did not think that he would want Heal around children, which Del Papa found concerning. (Interview of Del Papa).

February 2023, Officer Heal, who served as both a school resource officer and a comfort dog handler in Abington, resigned. His leave stemmed from a report implicating several Stoughton police officers in inappropriate relationships with Sandra Birchmore, starting when she was a teenager. Sandra Birchmore tragically took her own life in 2021 in Canton, three months pregnant at the time, allegedly by one of the Stoughton officers.

The Abington investigation concluded that Officer Joshua Heal was not a reliable witness, and was less than forthcoming in his discussions with Stoughton and Abington officials.

Records

Apartment Complex Video Survailance

Surveillance footage of Sandra Birchmore’s apartment complex, showing the last time she was seen alive and the last person to see her alive, Matthew Farwell, entering and leaving the building on February 1st, 2021.

Matthew Farwell told troopers he visited Birchmore’s apartment on the evening of Feb. 1, 2021, telling her that he wasn’t the father of her baby, records show. Birchmore was upset, Farwell told the troopers, but didn’t make “any suicidal statements.”

“Matt said that he was straightforward in his conversation with her, and told her that it was all over and he was blocking her from all forms of communication,” Fanning wrote.

Surveillance footage from Birchmore’s apartment complex showed Matthew Farwell entering her apartment building and then exiting 28 minutes later, State Police records show.

First Autopsy

First Autopsy was performed by Maria Del Mar Capo Martinez, MD.

May 2021, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that Birchmore, 23, a former participant in a Stoughton police youth program who was pregnant when she died:

2021 report, State Police Trooper Matthew Dunne described finding Birchmore’s body in her bedroom on Feb. 4, 2021.

  • He said he found no indications of physical abuse or bruising, swelling, external trauma, or markings suggesting a struggle, the report said. Chris Adams and Caitlyn Bulger of the Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body.
  • Swabs from Birchmore’s body, hair and fingernail clippings, and clothing she was wearing were taken for a sexual assault kit, but Baden wrote that it “appears” the evidence was not tested.
  • A toxicology report found Sandra Birchmore was taking sertraline, a prescription psychotropic medication usually taken for depression

2022, Birchmore’s aunt sued the officers for wrongful death and Stoughton for negligence and civil rights violations. In the lawsuit, her attorneys described Birchmore’s death as “the culmination of a near decade long scheme of grooming and repeated assaults from a young age” by the officers.

Sandra Birchmore Death Certificate

Second Autopsy

February 4, 2021, 23-year-old Sandra Birchmore was found dead in her apartment by the Canton Police.

Birchmore fractured her right hyoid bone, a small, U-shaped bone in her neck. Such an injury “occurs rarely, if at all, in suicidal hanging and does occur in half of homicidal strangulation of women,” wrote Baden, citing a textbook by forensic pathologists Dr. Vincent DiMaio and Dr. Dominick J. DiMaio.

  • The fracture, along with Birchmore’s other injuries, “are commonly found in homicidal strangulation — manual and ligature — but not in suicidal hanging,” Baden wrote.
  • Autopsy photos showed a ligature was entangled in Birchmore’s hair, which “occurs when there is resistance during homicidal strangulation,” Baden wrote.
  • Baden said Birchmore would have lost consciousness “within seconds” after the ligature was fastened around the mouth.
  • Due to the discoloration in skin (blue) and lividity, and appeared that the female had been there for a long period of time
  • He also wrote that the ligature was found tied to a doorknob, adding that he believes that was done to “give the appearance of a suicidal hanging.”
  • Trauma to the hyoid bone and cartilages in the larynx in suicide cases has been widely researched, with a 2018 article in “Forensic Science International” calling such injuries “one of the most studied and paradoxically contradictory topics in forensic pathology.”
  • A toxicology report found Birchmore was taking sertraline, a prescription psychotropic medication usually taken for depression.

Dr. Michael Baden says it appears fetal tissue and samples collected for a sexual assault kit haven’t been examined

How Sandra’s Body was Found

Sandra Birchmore’s Apartment:

  • Two cats in the apartment
  • There was a kitchenette immediately upon entry, toward the left side. There was a living room area directly in front of the entrance way, a short hallway that led directly to the bathroom, and the single bedroom was to the left side of the hallway.
  • The countertops in the kitchenette were almost entirely covered with personal items to include postal correspondence, junk mail, medication. and trash and an ultrasound photograph Birchmore’s name and date of birth were printed on the ultrasound..
  • the conditions of the apartment were cluttered and unkept, the living room area. Officers noted trash and clumps of cat fur on the carpet indicating that it had not been cleaned or vacuumed in some time. There was debris. trash and personal effects on virtually every horizontal surface in the living room area. There were two glass end tables, a dining room table, a glass coffee table, a couch, and a television stand with a television. There was a nook area that contained two recliners side by side, which were both covered on top and in front with personal effects and boxes.
  • the bedroom door was closed once door was opened There was a desk lamp turned on and color Christmas lights around the window that were also on. The room was cluttered and untidy in the same manner as the kitchenette and living room, with items covering the desk and a plastic storage table with drawers. There was an unmade bed with a sheet over the mattress and an exposed box spring. Sandra’s eyeglasses were on top of the bed. Among the scattered items inside the bedroom, they found a US Army ACU-pattern duffel bag.

How the body was found:

  • Sandra was in a seated position on the floor, with a scarf around her neck and tightly affixed to the closet door handle.
  • Other officer: The strap was tied to the door handle of the bedroom closet.
  • There was no visible trauma to the head, or defensive abrasions on the hands
  • According to Ensley Cotard: He noticed a large pooling of dried blood around the mouth.
  • Due to the discoloration in skin (blue) and lividity, and appeared that the female had been there for a long period of time
  • Birchmore’s cell phone was on the floor, approximately 12 inches from her right hand and 6 inches from her right knee.
  • Chris Adams and Caitlyn Bulger of the Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body.

Investigation into the Death of Sandra Birchmore

MSP -Investigation into the Death of Sandra Birchmore Report

Sandra Birchmore is an employee of the Sharon school system and had not shown up for work for several days and attempts to reach her by phone were unsuccessful.

Officer Charles Yeaton and Officer. Ensley Cotard of the Canton Police arrived and were unable to get a response at the door to the apartment. At that time they made entry, having received a key from property management to check the wellbeing of Birch.more.

Upon entering the apartment, they located Birchmore apparently deceased, seated on the floor of the bedroom Canton Fire Dept. personnel were notified and responded. Birchmore was then determined to be deceased at approximately 11:46 AM by Firefighter/paramedic Daniel Whitley.

On Feb. 1, 2021, surveillance cameras captured Matthew Farwell arriving and then leaving Birchmore’s apartment building in Canton, and he was the last known person to see her alive, a Stoughton police internal affairs report said. Birchmore’s body was found there three days later.

During an interview on Feb. 6, 2021 with State Police, Farwell gave an account of his encounter with Birchmore at her apartment five days earlier. He said he told Birchmore that he wasn’t the father of her unborn child, “it was all over,” and he was “blocking her from all forms of communication,”

He said said that Sandra was upset, but she did not make any suicidal statements at all,” Fanning wrote. “Matt said that he left and Sandra was standing in the kitchen when he walked out.

Findings From Internal Affairs Investigation

IAB Report
Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamarra on Friday announced the “deeply troubling” results of an 18-month internal affairs investigation.

Evidence uncovered in the investigation found that William Farwell had engaged in “multiple inappropriate physical encounters” with Birchmore and had sent explicit messages and photos to the girl while he was on duty. 

“The investigation found that Matthew exploited Miss Birchmore when she was young,” McNamara said.


Findings From Internal Affairs Investigation

IAB Report

On October 20, 2014 flowers were delivered to Lisa Devine at her residence.
An investigation revealed that the order was placed by Overstreet. I1e order information came from the result of an Administrative Subpoena submitted to FTD.com by Officer Sandra Barrett. Robert advised tha1-is a fiiend of Overstreet. Robert reported the incident to the Stoughton Police, where Robert is the Deputy Chief. Officer Sandra Barrett took the report and Chief Shastany was made aware of the situation.

On Saturday, November 15, 2014, I spoke with Robe1t. He reported that the Harassment order was sought because of ongoing harassment from Overstreet (affidavit attached). He stated since the nrrle1· was granted, he has been receiving phone calls on his personal cell phone and emails from unknown numbers at all times of the day and night. Some of the calls and messages were reported to be threatening in nature. Robe1t advised that he searched the phone numbers and email addresses on the internet and found that most come back to a website called Bandwith.com. Robe1i provided me with a copy of the response he received from Bandwith.com ‘s legal division. Bandwith.com advised the numbers he requested were provided to a wholesale customer (Enflick, Inc.) and therefor legal service will need to be sent to that company. Enflick, Inc provides a free application called Textnow, that allows a person to disguise their true number or email address.

Robert also stated that the password for his Comcast account had been changed today 1/15/14, but he had not requested a change. He stated that his Inbox Folder, Sent Folder, and Contacts were all deleted. He said he found two deleted emails in the trash bin of his account. At this point, he then changed the username on his account. He further stated that there have been previous attempts to gain access to their accounts: Robert’s Comcast account1 & Robert’s Yahoo account , and Lisa.’s Pmtrest account. Robert stated that no one has his passwords. l asked Robert that if Overstreet attempted to access his accounts, would she ]mow the answers to his security passwords and he stated, “yes … probably.”

Read More about Devine and Overstreet Investigation

Findings From Internal Affairs Investigation

Chief McNamara and I engaged in crisis communications with all members of the department ahead of  anticipated press releases pertaining to a long investigation into members of the Stoughton Police Department. We were aware of impending completion and release of 21-1-IA, the matter of Sandra Birchmore. Many department members had heard rumors and were ill at ease. We appeared at numerous roll calls and held individual and small group discussions with a consistent message.

On Friday September 23, 2022, Chief McNamara held a press conference with many media outlets in attendance. After extensive preparation, the Chief made a statement related to former members of the Stoughton Police Department who had been involved with the late Sandra Birchmore and the Chief discussed the findings of 21-1-IA to the furthest extent of allowable information that could be shared. The public response, although one of revulsion at the actions of the former employees, supported the Chief, the investigation and transparency of the process. The Massachusetts POST Commission waved off any of its options to conduct a subsequent and independent investigation and relied upon the comprehensiveness and findings of 21-1-IA

Chief McNamara and I have been constantly and actively monitoring the wellness of our employees in response to this situation and will likely arrange for peer support to mitigate concerns of employees and provide a cathartic environment to process this.

At several times throughout this reporting period, the department handled multiple calls for service and/or incidents that required the deployment of extra personnel [overtime] and on occasions, personnel leaving training classes were held over. Forced overtime has also been used more frequently. The occurrence of multiple calls/incidents is unfortunately impossible to predict. 

Incident reports, records, email or audio communication publicly available involving Robert Devine Report Here

Stoughton Police Department Corruption

1990

  • Stoughton chief David Young was fired after he used department resources for non-police business and illegally issued a firearms permit to a prominent businessman. A state later ruled that only about a third of the charges against Young were warranted and that he deserved only a suspension.

2000

  • Jan. 20, 2000, Sgt. David M. Cohen unlawfully arrested and manhandled a salesman, Jerard Viverito, at Stoughton Motor Mart . to help collect a $1,025 security deposit on a used car for the girlfriend.
  • May 2002 Sgt. Cohen unlawfully detained Timothy A. Hills, a used car salesman, because he refused to pay back a $10,000 debt owed to Cohen’s friend.

2002

  • April 2002 Sgt. Cohen attempted extortion while in the uniform of Stoughton businessman who admitted to spending a $10,000 investment from a friend of Cohen.
  • In April 2002, Stoughton Police Chief Manuel J. Cachopa used his authority as police chief to threaten a former Stoughton businessman to drop a complaint of criminal misconduct against David M. Cohen.

2005

  • Investigation into Hostile Environment. Read Here

2007

  • Robert E. Letendre, acquitted on two charges of corruption in July 2007, has returned to work as a Stoughton Police Department who had been involved with the late Sandra Birchmore and the Chief discussed the findings of 21-1-IA to the furthest extent of allowable information that could be shared. The public response, although one of revulsion at the actions of the former employees, supported the Chief, the investigation and transparency of the process. The Massachusetts POST Commission waved off any of its options to conduct a subsequent and independent investigation and relied upon the comprehensiveness and findings of 21-1-IA

    Chief McNamara and I have been constantly and actively monitoring the wellness of our employees in response to this situation and will likely arrange for peer support to mitigate concerns of employees and provide a cathartic environment to process this.

    At several times throughout this reporting period, the department handled multiple calls for service and/or incidents that required the deployment of extra personnel [overtime] and on occasions, personnel leaving training classes were held over. Forced overtime has also been used more frequently. The occurrence of multiple calls/incidents is unfortunately impossible to predict. 

    Incident reports, records, email or audio communication publicly available involving Robert Devine Report Here

Matthew Farwell Attorney Letter

Subject: Follow-up on Matthew Farewell Interview and Requests

I am writing to follow up on our recent conversations and prior interviews you have had with our client, Matthew Farewell. As you know, Mr. Farewell has been cooperative with your investigation, including participating in interviews with you and allowing you to download certain information from his mobile phone.

Throughout your conversations with my client, and later with myself, you have indicated that you view him as a witness in your investigation. This is consistent with reality as Mr. Farewell has committed no crime. Like many, he is saddened by Ms. Birchmore’s death.

During our recent conversations, you asked Mr. Farewell to submit a DNA sample and participate in a polygraph interview. Although I appreciate your diligence, I advised my client to decline these requests and the request for a further interview (not a polygraph) that accompanied them. I did so because they are outside the norm for mere witnesses in an investigation. I was a prosecutor for 14 years and participated in hundreds of interviews with State Police detectives like yourself. I cannot recall once seeking a polygraph interview, and I can only recall seeking DNA of persons that the investigators and I considered targets.

There are good reasons for anyone to refuse a request for DNA and a polygraph and for an attorney to advise his client to decline the request. Compiling Mr. Farewell’s DNA profile would be highly invasive. It would yield genetic markers and highly personal health and family information. Based on the information he has already provided to you that I will not restate here, I expect his DNA profile would reveal nothing of value to your case. Mr. Farewell has already provided highly personal information. In my opinion, providing DNA is a step too far.

Matthew Farwell Attorney Letter

Factual Allegations

  1. The Respondent was employed as a police officer for the Stoughton Police Department beginning in March 2012. He resigned from that position on April 1, 2022.
  2. On July 1, 2021, the Respondent was automatically certified as a police officer in Massachusetts pursuant to St. 2020, c. 253, § 102, an Act Relative to Justice, Equity and · Accountability in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth. On October I 0, 2022, the Commission denied the Stoughton Police Department’s application for recertification of the Respondent.
  3. It is alleged that the Respondent had a sexual relationship with a member of the Stoughton Police Explorers Program, S.B., beginning in 2013, when she was fifteen years old and when the Respondent was twenty-seven years old. The Respondent allegedly subsequently pursued additional sexual encounters with S.B. by various means, including by sending her text messages while on duty, as recently as 2020. It is further alleged that the sexual encounters between the Respondent and S.B. continued over an extended period, until just months before S.B. ‘s death, when S.B. was twenty-three years old.
  4. Additionally, it was alleged that the Respondent was untruthful during the Massachusetts State Police’s investigation into the death of S.B., as he purportedly misrepresented the extent of his sexual encounters with S.B. to investigators.
  5. August 2022 the Stoughton Police Department sustained allegations that Farwell engaged in conduct unbecoming of an officer, was incompetent, was untruthful, and failed to display the proper attention and devotion to his duty. On November 22, 2022, the Commission authorized the Division to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations of misconduct against Farwell.
  6. On June 30, 2023, the Division submitted its report of preliminary inquiry to the Commission.
  7. on July 12, 2023, the Commission voted to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Farwell. 
  8. On December 29th of 2022, Darlene Smith as the personal representative of the estate of Sandra Birchmore, filed a lawsuit against Matthew Farwell and former officers William Farwell and Robert Devine, the Town of Stoughton, and the Stoughton Police Department.
  9. The lawsuit states that the complaint claims a grooming scheme and misconduct led to Birchmore’s death.
  10.  Friends and family of Birchmore have found her death to be more suspicious despite reports listing her death as a suicide.r neck and died “within a few minutes.”
  11. He also wrote that the ligature was found tied to a doorknob, adding that he believes that was done to “give the appearance of a suicidal hanging.”
  12. Trauma to the hyoid bone and cartilages in the larynx in suicide cases has been widely researched, with a 2018 article in “Forensic Science International” calling such injuries “one of the most studied and paradoxically contradictory topics in forensic pathology.”

A toxicology report found Birchmore was taking sertraline, a prescription psychotropic medication usually taken for depression, Baden wrotew Farwell Voluntary Decert Agreement in PDF format

2022 Civil Lawsuit vs Stoughton PD, Farwell, Devine and Heal

    A. This is an action brought by the Plaintiff, Darlene Smith as the Personal Representative of the Estate of Sandra Birchmore, (hereinafter referred to as “Plaintiff”), for wrongful death, negligence, negligent supervision, negligent retention, pain and suffering, and emotional distress as against the Defendants, Matthew Farwell, William Farwell, Robert Devine, the Town of Stoughton, and the Stoughton Police Department (hereinafter referred to collectively as “Defendants”) for claims arising out of an ongoing scheme of grooming Sandra Birchmore (hereinafter referred to as “Decedent” or “Ms. Birchmore”) and misconduct that ultimately led to the loss of Ms. Birchmore’s life on February4, 2021, after the Defendants, Matthew and William Farwell, and Robert Devine (hereinafter collectively the “Officers”), undertook to engage in inappropriate relationships with the Decedent who was a minor when the sexual relationships were initiated, abusing her trust and adoration of law enforcement, which through their inappropriate and undue influence, ultimately led her to allegedly take her own life.

    B. Plaintiff brings this action against the Town of Stoughton (hereinafter referred to as “Stoughton”), and the Stoughton Police Department (hereinafter referred to as “PD”) for claims arising from the conduct of its Officers and its negligence in its supervision of said Officers over the duration of the Stoughton Police Explorers Program and thereafter. Red More

Civil Lawsuit: 07/12/2024 Motion to Compel Hearing

Sandra Birchmore’s hearing focused on a Motion to Compel document. The AG’s office has objected to Farwell’s attorney’s motion to produce documents related to the investigation. During a hearing Friday morning on a motion to compel the AG’s office to provide those documents, attorneys also confirmed that a separate federal investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office is underway, though they did not say what exactly the subject of that probe was. The attorney general’s office took over an investigation that was being led by Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office.

  • Farwell’s attorney said it was unclear who the Attorney General’s office represents. Stoughton & Canton PD have produced documents. However, they do not have the State Police records.
  • On July 11, 2023, Farwell’s attorney said they were informed that there were no State Police records, but there are many of them! He argued it was relevant for all parties to review those records.
  • He further argued that if Sandra Birchmore was murdered, then that makes the records exculpatory material. He has offered to enter a Protective Order to prevent info from getting out beyond the attorneys involved.
  • The judge asked when the Attorney General’s office took the last investigative steps. **The AG stated that the investigation is active, not in a stalemate, and conducted by multiple agencies.**
  • The Attorney General’s office must prove that the documents qualify for exemption.
  • The AGO intends to interview other parties regarding the inappropriate sexual relationships that the accused officers had with Sandra Birchmore.**
  • The unattended death investigation has not concluded.** There are concerns about disclosure. The Judge is struggling with how the investigation is still ongoing & concerned the Attorney General’s office has not met its burden.
  • The attorney representing Sandra Birchmore’s estate confirmed they want answers “We don’t care what the truth shows; we just want the truth.”
  • It is argued that disclosing documents could hinder the investigations and would not be in the public interest. The documents are then offered to be reviewed in-camera privately in the Judge’s chambers.
  • The attorneys agree to review the documents in-camera.
  • The judge wants the Attorney General’s office to state why each document meets the exemption rule by Monday, August 12, 2024. She requests to review the MSP investigation materials & 3rd party records obtained through search warrants.
Sandra Birchmore

How Sandra’s Body was Found

  • There Two cats in the apartment
  • the conditions of the apartment were cluttered and unkept
  • the bedroom door was closed
  • Sandra was in a seated position on the floor, with a scarf around her neck and tightly affixed to the closet door handle.
  • Other officer: The strap was tied to the door handle of the bedroom closet.
  • There was no visible trauma to the head, or defensive abrasions on the hands But According to Ensley Cotard: He noticed a large pooling of dried blood around the mouth.
  • Due to the discoloration in skin (blue) and lividity, and appeared that the female had been there for a long period of time

Chris Adams and Caitlyn Bulger of the Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the body.

Second Autopsy

Former NY City medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden in a June 18 letter to a lawyer for Birchmore’s estate wrote. 

“Ms. Birchmore did not die of suicidal hanging … The cause of Ms. Birchmore’s death is ‘Strangulation’ and the manner of death is ‘Homicide.’”

Baden said the extent of Birchmore’s injuries, as well as the placement of a ligature found on her body, were among the reasons for his determination.

He noted that Birchmore had suffered a fracture to a small U-shape bone in the neck, known as the hyoid bone, which fractures “rarely, if at all, in suicidal hanging” but does in “half of homicidal strangulation of women.”

The three Stoughton police officers — Matthew Farwell, his brother William Farwell, and Robert Devine — are accused of abusing and exploiting Birchmore for a decade after meeting her when she enrolled in the department’s Explorer youth program when she was 13 in 2010.

In the wake of Birchmore’s death, an internal Stoughton Police Department probe found that Matthew Farwell had allegedly started sexually abusing her when she was 15.


Sandra Birchmore