News >> Browse Articles >> Officer Down News


Body Found In River ID'd As MA Police Officer

Body Found In River ID'd As MA Police Officer

Boston Globe via YellowBrix

July 25, 2011

TYNGSBOROUGH, MA – Two men were killed — one of them a decorated Lowell police officer and former Marine — in separate incidents in two Massachusetts rivers during the weekend, authorities said.

While riding in a motor boat with his brother and another friend on the Merrimack River Saturday evening, Lowell patrol officer Charles Panek told his companions he was going to jump into the water and asked them to turn around and pick him up, according to Tyngsborough police.

He jumped off while the 18-foot vessel was traveling about 20 miles per hour, police said. When the boat circled back seconds later, he did not surface.

Tyngsborough police pulled the body of the 30-year-old officer from the river late Saturday night, about three hours after they were alerted.

Today in Attleboro, another man apparently drowned in the Ten Mile River, near a wooded walking trail, officials said. Detective Sergeant Arthur Brillon, an Attleboro Police Department spokesman, said the victim, who was discovered about 10:40 a.m. by a woman walking nearby, was a 49-year-old Attleboro man whose name was withheld until his family was notified.

“Right now there’s nothing suspicious,” Brillon said in a brief telephone interview. Tyngsborough police Lieutenant Richard Howe said police received a call about 8:43 p.m. that a man had jumped from a boat into the Merrimack River and failed to surface. Rescuers searched the river until he was found in about 14 feet of water, approximately 300 feet offshore, north of a boat ramp at 76 Frost Road, Howe said.

Panek of Dracut was pronounced dead at the scene, Howe said. The state medical examiner’s office is investigating his cause of death.

According to the Lowell police department and family members, Panek was a decorated police officer and former Marine, who had served in the Iraq War. He also served in the Rhode Island Army National Guard, and was scheduled to be deployed soon to Afghanistan, police said.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Lowell police officer, Charles S. Panek. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies go out to the family of Officer Panek,” said Lowell police superintendent Kenneth Lavallee. “[He] will be sadly missed by all members of the Lowell Police Department and the citizens within our community.”

Panek’s mother Sandra Panek, of Pelham, N.H. said her son was very social and athletic, and loved his work in the military and law enforcement.

“He just loved life,” Sandra said. “He was the type of person that did more in 30 years than most did in 90.”

Panek had earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and had been on the police force since 2006, his mother said. He was honored with the state’s second highest award for police officers after a 2008 incident when he took down an armed man, without injury to the gunman or himself, Sandra said.

“He was there to take care of people,” his mother said. “Whether it was on the police force or in Iraq or where he was going in Afghanistan, he believed what he was doing was helping people.”

The search for Panek involved crews from the Tyngsborough, Hudson, Lowell and Nashua, N.H., fire departments as well as police dive teams from Lowell, Nashua and the Massachusetts State Police, Howe said. A State Police helicopter also assisted with the search, according to David Procopio, a State Police spokesman.

Panek’s death is being investigated by Tyngsborough and State police. The man’s death in Attleboro is under investigation by the Bristol District Attorney’s office, according to a police statement.

  • Thumbnail_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    This is just a sad situation. My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends. Rest in Peace.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    almost 4 years ago


    Very sad, RIP officer Charles Paneck

  • 4076_1_sbl_max600_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    RIP and Semper Fi. Thank you for your service to our country both over seas and here in the homeland.

  • Batman_max600_1__max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Rest In Peace Brother Officer and brave Marine. We have the watch. God bless your family and friends in this difficult time.

  • Facebook_-2145634490_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Ok my brother go rest we will take the watch for you semper fi for those of us that knew you it is us that truly know how much your loss really means to your community and loved ones phil

  • Herosonpatrol_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Sad; Condolences & prayers to department, family & friends. Thank you for all you've done for everyone. R.I.P.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    You go through all the $^^&%$ of combat and get killed in a freak accident back home..........My prayers go out to his family..........R.I.P. Marine......Semper Fidelis

  • Car_004_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    R.I.P. Brother, God Bless your soul, your family, friiends, department and community.

  • Buster3_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    S.I.P it sucks each time when u loose one of the good guys

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    RIP Another good police officer taken from us. God be with him and his family.

  • 19jyucm2tzgez_max50


    almost 4 years ago



  • Flags_and_stars_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    RIP Officer Panek

  • 21_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Rest in peace Brother

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    RIP My Brother!

  • Img_20111016_163737_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    tragic, RIP

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

ParthK received the quiz result of "You did not receive a passing score", 25 minutes ago.
Recondo99 commented on: "Beverly Thoma Bullock", about 1 hour ago.
matwaumatwau commented on: "matwau matwau", about 2 hours ago.
PeggyNowak commented on: "Peggy Nowak", about 2 hours ago.
ghfhgfhkgbv uploaded the photo: "background", about 2 hours ago.