UPDATE: Investigators believe Rakes was murdered over a land deal gone bad.
A body found early Thursday on a trail in Lincoln, Mass., is believed to be Stephen Rakes, an alleged extortion victim who wanted to testify against Whitey Bulger, ABC News reports.
Rakes' cause of death is unknown at this time.
Rakes wanted to testify that Bulger and partner Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi threatened his daughter at gunpoint and forced him to turn over his liquor store to Bulger's Winter Hill gang.
Despite his desire to testify, there were multiple reports this week that Rakes was removed from the witness list this week by the prosecution. The decision devastated Rakes according to a friend.
In 2102, Rakes detailed in an interview how Bulger and his gang threatened his family and stole his business.
The news of Rakes' death comes on the same day that Flemmi takes the stand to testify against his former associate Bulger.
Rakes reportedly lived in constant fear of Bulger and Flemmi for 17 years, saying they were "willing to kill anybody." Rakes was so convinced the duo was stalking him that he once ran into a Boston subway tunnel, suffering electrical shocks as he fled.
Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mike Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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