EAST BROOKFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - A family member who authorities say initially interfered with an investigation into the deaths of a mother and three young children in West Brookfield has now been charged with murdering them.
Mathew Locke, 31, of Ware, pleaded not guilty Wednesday at his arraignment in East Brookfield District Court on four counts of murder in connection with the stabbing and burning deaths of Sara Bermudez, 38, and her three children, Madison, 8, James, 6, and Michael, 2, Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. announced Wednesday.
Officers responding to Bermudez’s Old Warren Road home on March 1 found all four bodies stabbed and burned in an upstairs bedroom, police said.
A DNA sample recovered from a disrobed part of one child’s body came back as a match for Locke, according to court documents. He was also seen driving away from his house before the murders and then going back after.
A heartbroken Moses Bermudez, who is Sarah’s husband and Locke’s cousin, spoke with reporters following the brief arraignment about the emotional break in the case.
“It just cuts so deep, to lose a wife and three kids,” he said. “So deep. It’s not natural causes. It’s not an accident.”
Locke was indicted in June on four counts of interfering with a murder investigation after telling police Bermudez’s husband, Moses, told him that members of the MS-13 gang were responsible for the murders.
Locke, who has been in custody since March, is currently serving a six-month prison sentence for larceny, vandalism and trespassing charges that stem from a four-year-old case out of Palmer.
He is also accused of misstating his relationship with Sarah Bermudez and the last time he had been in the Bermudez household, according to court documents.
The children’s grandfather, Carlos Bermudez, is relieved that there is finally some closure after six months of investigating.
“I’ve been walking around with a big rock on my shoulder,” he said. “Right now, I feel like it’s been cut in half. One half has been taken off because now I know who did it.”
Locke was ordered held without bail. He is due back in court on Oct. 18.
A motive for the murders remains unclear.
Anyone with information relative to the murders is asked to contact Massachusetts State Police at 508-832-9234 or West Brookfield at 508-867-1405.