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    A 22-year-old Colchester man has died after a crash in Lebanon Thursday night.

    Police said Michael Richard Anselmo, 22, of Colchester, was going south on Clubhouse Road and went off the road at a curve, hit a rock wall and flipped the vehicle over.

    He was trapped and was taken to Windham Hospital after emergency crews freed him.

    State police said Anselmo was pronounced dead at 12:44 a.m. Friday.

    Police are investigating and ask anyone with information to call state police at 860-465-5400.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecituct

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    A school bus has been involved in a crash in East Hartford. Students are on the bus and no injuries are reported. 

    The crash is at Park Avenue and Henderson Drive. 

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A school principal in Middletown is celebrating students who good deeds by taking them out for breakfast and spending time with them. See the inspiring story.

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    Family members of a Miami woman whose body was found when she didn’t return from a vacation in Costa Rica now say they believe more people were involved in her death.

    On a Facebook page that was created during the search for 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak, who had failed to return from a trip for her birthday, family members say sources close to the investigation have told them forensic results have investigators believing more people were involved.

    “In fact, the doubt extends to that there may be up 3 or 4 possible people involved,” the family wrote in a message Thursday night. “We have been saying this since day 1. This was organized by more than one person as soon as Carla booked the place.”

    A security guard at the Airbnb where Stefaniak had been staying, Bismark Espinosa Martinez, has been arrested in connection with the case.

    Sister station Telemundo 51 reached out to officials in Costa Rica, who said information on the case is "confidential."

    Stefaniak was traveling with her sister-in-law when she was last heard from by her family on Nov. 27; she was scheduled to fly home the next day. While her sister-in-law flew home early, Stefaniak stayed but told friends it was “pretty sketchy” at the resort.

    A partially buried body was found in the woods near that resort close to a week later, which was identified by Stefaniak’s father. An autopsy revealed that Stefaniak suffered a blunt force wound to the head and cuts on the neck and arms.

    Family members brought Stefaniak’s ashes back to Tampa, where she lived after moving to America in 2000 from her native Venezuela for 12 years before moving to South Florida.

    Photo Credit: Mario Caicedo

    Carla Stefaniak, of South Florida, went missing while vacationing in Costa Rica. The 36-year-old was last heard from around 8 p.m. on Nov. 27. She didn't show up for her 1 p.m. flight home on Nov. 28.Carla Stefaniak, of South Florida, went missing while vacationing in Costa Rica. The 36-year-old was last heard from around 8 p.m. on Nov. 27. She didn't show up for her 1 p.m. flight home on Nov. 28.

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    Facebook revealed on Friday that a bug in its platform may have allowed third-party apps to have access to a broad range of user photos, including pictures that users uploaded to Facebook but did not share.

    Facebook said in a statement on its website that the bug may have affected 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps between Sept. 13 and Sept. 25. The company did not say when it discovered the issue.

    “When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline,” Facebook wrote. “In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories. The bug also impacted photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post. For example, if someone uploads a photo to Facebook but doesn't finish posting it - maybe because they've lost reception or walked into a meeting - we store a copy of that photo so the person has it when they come back to the app to complete their post." 

    The social media company said it will put out tools next week for the app developers to see which users were impacted by the bug, and it will help those developers delete the exposed photos.

    Facebook said it will also notify its users who were potentially affected with a Facebook alert. It also encouraged people to visit the Help Center to see if they or apps they use were affected.

    The problem comes in a year fraught with privacy scandals and other problems for the world's biggest social network. Revelations that the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed data from as many as 87 million users led to congressional hearings and changes in what sorts of data Facebook lets outside developers access. In June, a bug affecting privacy settings led some users to post publicly by default regardless of their previous settings. This bug affected as many as 14 million users over several days in May. 

    On Thursday, to counter the bad rap it's gotten around privacy as of late, Facebook hosted a one-day "pop-up" to talk to users about their settings and whatever else may be on their mind. Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan was on hand to answer questions. Asked by a reporter what grade she'd give Facebook for its privacy work in the past year, she said "B." By 2019, she said she hopes the improvements will result in an "A." 

    Privacy experts might call it grade inflation. In any case, the company has its work cut out before it makes the perfect grade.

    With two more weeks left of the year, it's possible there's still time for another privacy kerfuffle at Facebook.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP, File

    In this Aug. 21, 2018, photo a Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Fla.In this Aug. 21, 2018, photo a Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Fla.

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    Students were evacuated from part of Common Ground High School in New Haven Friday morning after a small chemical spill.

    The spill happened in a lab at the school on Springside Avenue, according to fire officials.

    Hazmat crews were called to the scene to deal with the spill.

    About 200 students were evacuated to a different section of the school as a precaution. One student reported watery eyes, but there were no injuries, according to a city official.

    It was not clear what chemical was spilled.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    A small chemical spill forced the evacuation of part of Common Ground High School in New Haven on Friday.A small chemical spill forced the evacuation of part of Common Ground High School in New Haven on Friday.

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    Inside the leaky, desolate confines of the building recently named New Jersey's saddest mall, only one tenant remains.

    And not just any tenant. Petal, a life-size elephant made completely out of fiberglass, served as a memorable fixture of the Burlington Center Mall for the past 30 years.

    Now, she’s facing eviction from the only place she has called home.

    The local sculptor who designed and created the fountain elephant decades ago, Zenos Frudakis, says he’s gone on to complete more than 100 large pieces around the world. (Close to home, and perhaps most controversially notable, he also designed the Frank Rizzo statue. "I didn't vote for him," Frudakis said.)

    But it’s clear that Petal holds a special place in his heart.

    "The elephant was my first big piece,” he said. "I did it when I was still a student. ... It’s like my firstborn."

    The elephant fountain was originally commissioned by Stockton Strawbridge, the scion of the Strawbridge and Clothier retail empire. Strawbridge had just returned from Africa and wanted children to be as thrilled by the elephants as he was.

    Petal measures 11 feet high and 8 feet wide, 12 feet from front to back, and carries a full-size child on her back. Her informal name, Petal, comes from her real-life model at the Philadelphia Zoo.

    Petal made her debut at the Burlington Center Mall in the summer of 1982. When the mall opened, it was anchored by Sears, Strawbridge’s (now Macy’s), and JCPenney’s among its 100 stores and restaurants. But 30 years later, it began to struggle.

    In 2007, an incident of gang violence leading to temporary mall closures left some residents uncertain about its safety, reported. In 2017, an Advance Media ranking of New Jersey’s malls called Burlington Center "rundown and deserted", placing it dead last. And finally, in January 2018, frozen pipes burst, damaging the fire alarm system and leading to officials’ decision to close the mall earlier than its previously scheduled shutdown in March, the South Jersey Courier Post reported.

    Google reviewers call Burlington Mall a “ghost town” and an “asphalt wasteland,” although it isn’t the only one struggling to compete with the convenience of online shopping and the lure of to-door delivery. The American mall itself is dying; according to a 2017 report published in Fortune, 1 out of every 4 malls is projected to close by 2022

    The plan is to demolish the shopping center. But even though the mall can’t be saved, Frudakis insists the elephant can be.

    “A public work of art like Petal should find a home where it can be enjoyed,” Frudakis Studio spokesman John Xuereb said. “A public work that brought so much joy to so many people deserves to have another life.”

    The mall's owners, Moonbeam Capital Investments, are willing to donate the sculpture to any organization for free, providing that they're willing to move it, according to the studio. 

    The artist hopes somewhere like a non-profit organization, a zoo or a hospital can continue to enjoy Petal. But while several parties have expressed interest in adopting the parentless pachyderm, none have committed to take her.

    That might be because of the cost of the fountain’s removal and installation, which Frudakis hopes to cover with a GoFundMe page. Petal has multiple fans, the studio said, who call her every week hoping to hear about the fate of their friend.

    “Some of them came as children to see the sculpture, and have children of their own now,” Frudakis added.

    For now, Petal’s still waiting in the now-defunct Burlington Center Mall. She’ll be there, Xuereb says, until she can be moved, either to a temporary or a permanent new home.

    Photo Credit: Dan Farrell/NBC10
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    Petal, a statue at the vacant Burlington County Mall in New Jersey, is desperately searching for a new home.Petal, a statue at the vacant Burlington County Mall in New Jersey, is desperately searching for a new home.

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    School officials in Wallingford said a high school student has been arrested after an investigation into an alarming message that was posted on Snapchat.

    The superintendent of schools said in an emailed statement that police were notified overnight about a message from someone who “expressed his annoyance with Lyman Hall High School,” law enforcement was contacted, the student was identified and he was arrested at his home.

    Police said the teen was charged with breach of peace in the second degree.

    The student was not on school property Friday and isn’t allowed on school property, according to the superintendent, who said administrators will work with the Board of Education to ensure the policy is followed and the matter is addressed.

    “I know there have been questions as to why communication was delayed. The reasons for this delay was due to the fact that there was an active investigation of a minor, the suspect’s location was known, and there was no immediate threat to students and staff at Lyman Hall High School,” Supt. Salvatore Menzo wrote in the statement that was emailed. “Therefore, we needed to wait until the arrest had been made at the child’s home and the police department was prepared for us to provide this statement.”

    Photo Credit:

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    A top secret U.S. military assessment found that North Korea is still evading U.N. sanctions by transferring oil at sea, and that a coalition of U.S.-led forces deployed to disrupt the movements has failed to dent the overall number of illegal transfers, three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence told NBC News

    The finding underscores the Trump administration's struggle to maintain economic pressure on North Korea amid a diplomatic bid to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile arsenal. The smuggled fuel provides a crucial lifeline for the regime's economy and armed forces. 

    The U.S. Pacific Command assessment, labeled "Top Secret," found that the presence of warships and surveillance aircraft deployed by an eight-nation coalition since September has forced North Korea to adjust its tactics at sea, including transferring oil farther away from the Korean Peninsula and often in other countries' territorial waters. 

    The White House and the State Department declined requests for comment. Click here for NBC News' full report.

    Photo Credit: AP

    In this Jan. 20, 2017, image released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, surveillance aircraft spots a Dominican-flagged Yuk Tung oil tanker after it transferred fuel to the North Korean-registered Rye Song tanker in the open South China Sea.In this Jan. 20, 2017, image released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, surveillance aircraft spots a Dominican-flagged Yuk Tung oil tanker after it transferred fuel to the North Korean-registered Rye Song tanker in the open South China Sea.

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    The U.S. Department of Education said Thursday it is cancelling $150 million in students loans connected to for-profit colleges, complying with a court order that essentially forced the Obama-era move to go through, NBC News reported.

    The discharge of loans affects about 15,000 students who went to colleges that shuttered between Nov. 1, 2013 and Dec. 4, 2018, including Corinthian Colleges, Inc.

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had canceled memos imposing tougher rules on for-profit colleges and student loan debt, but lost a challenge brought by states including California.

    The office of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee, said more than 100,000 students have outstanding claims. Murray said in a statement that, "it's disappointing that it took a court order to get Secretary DeVos to begin providing debt relief to students left in the lurch by predatory for-profit colleges."

    Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP, File

    In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor, Md.In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor, Md.

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    A man in a wheelchair was struck by a car in Westport Thursday night and has serious injuries, according to police.

    Police said it appears that the 57-year-old Westport man was trying to cross Post Road East in a motorized wheelchair and was not in the crosswalk when he was struck. He was taken to Norwalk Hospital to be treated for serious injuries.

    The driver was going slowly and said the person was cooperative with investigators and was not injured, according to police.

    Police are investigating.

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    Police have arrested a man who is accused of hitting a person with an ax handle during an argument at a Hamden gas station last month.

    Police have identified the suspect as 42-year-old Jesus Massa-Nunez, of Hamden.

    They said he “became very upset” when a 50-year-old Hamden resident backed up a vehicle near the gas pumps at the Gulf Gas Station at 1624 Dixwell Avenue on Friday, Nov. 9 and they got into an argument.

    During the argument, Massa-Nunez took an ax handle from his vehicle and hit the victim in the torso several times, then drove off, according to police.

    Authorities released a photo to the media and asked for help to identify the man.

    After seeing his photo on television, Massa-Nunez went to the Hamden Police Department on Nov. 15 and told police that he hit the victim in “self-defense,” police said.

    Police investigated and obtained an arrest warrant charging Massa-Nunez with assault in the second degree and breach of peace in the second degree.

    He is due to appear at Meriden Superior Court on Dec. 26.

    Photo Credit: Hamden Police

    Police released the photo at left in November. They released the photo at right after making an arrest.Police released the photo at left in November. They released the photo at right after making an arrest.

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    Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he does not want to be White House chief of staff, just hours after multiple reports said he was President Trump's leading choice for the job.

    "It's an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief-of-staff," Christie said in a statement to The New York Times. "However, I've told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked him to no longer keep me in any of his considerations for this post."

    Christie met with Trump Thursday night about the White House chief of staff job and was considered a "top contender" for the role, sources told NBC News earlier Friday.

    Christie's candidacy was being boosted both publicly and privately by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a source told NBC.

    Axios and Bloomberg also reported Friday that Christie was a top contender, and a Washington Post reporter tweeted that the paper was about to report the same thing when his statement landed. 

    Christie, one of the most unpopular governors in recent American history, was nonetheless an outspoken supporter of the president's, and for a time led his transition team.

    At one point he was also considered to be in the running for attorney general. 

    But analysts questioned whether Christie could actually fit in the administration given his history with the president's son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner.

    In 2005, as U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Christie put Kushner's father in prison on tax and other charges. 

    Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP, File

    This Oct. 26, 2017, file photo shows then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speak to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington after attending a speech by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on the opioid crisis.This Oct. 26, 2017, file photo shows then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speak to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington after attending a speech by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on the opioid crisis.

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    The suspect in the murder of a 25-year-old Bethel woman in Bridgeport last week has been taken into custody in Ohio as a fugitive from justice.

    Police said detectives traveled to Ohio on Thursday and arrested 26-year-old Brandon Roberts this morning in connection with the murder of 25-year-old Emily Todd, of Bethel.

    Todd was found dead near the launch ramp at Seaview and Newfield Avenues in Bridgeport on Sunday, Dec. 8. Police said she was shot in the back of the head and neck area and died at the scene.

    Detectives previously said they believed Todd was with a man whom she had recently met. They identified Roberts as a suspect and learned that he’d left the state and was staying at his father’s home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, according to police.

    On Wednesday, detectives obtained an arrest warrant charging Roberts with murder, felony murder, robbery in the first degree, using a firearm in the commission of a felony and carrying a pistol without a permit.

    Detectives traveled to Ohio on Thursday and worked with Shaker Heights Police to plan the arrest of Roberts, who was taken into custody early this morning and charged as a fugitive from justice in Ohio.

    Police said they expect that Roberts will be extradited back to Connecticut in the near future.

    Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police

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    Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted in October of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, will be sentenced on Jan. 18, a judge said Friday. 

    The sentencing date followed a ruling denying motions for a new trial and to set aside a jury's verdict in the case.

    Van Dyke appeared before Judge Vincent Gaughan for the second time since his conviction in a trial that captured the nation. He wore a prison-issued jumpsuit and a Department of Corrections windbreaker as he stood in open court.

    Lawyers for both sides argued their positions on a motion filed by Van Dyke's defense seeking to set aside the jury's verdict convicting him of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. 

    The judge denied that request. 

    Attorneys then argued motions for a new trial, which was also denied by Gaughan. 

    The ex-Chicago officer made his first post-trial appearance in October, but no sentencing date was set. Instead, Van Dyke's defense filed two new motions - one requesting a new trial and the other asking that the judge set aside the jury's verdict in his case. 

    Van Dyke was convicted on Oct. 5 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the fatal shooting of McDonald

    The long-awaited verdict came almost exactly four years after Van Dyke shot 17-year-old McDonald 16 times on the city's Southwest Side.

    Dashcam video showing the shooting shook the city and the nation, sparking massive protests and calls for justice.

    Van Dyke's attorneys have maintained the Chicago officer was wrongly charged, saying he was acting within the law when he shot the teen, who at the time was an armed felon fleeing a crime scene.

    They have vowed to continue fighting the decision.

    Not long after his conviction, Van Dyke was transferred to the Rock Island County Jail in far northwestern Illinois, one of 45 jail detainees who are being kept outside of Cook County.

    The move was for security reasons, not due to any health concerns, a spokesman for the Cook County sheriff's office said, adding that Van Dyke was a high-profile case for whom more security was deemed appropriate. 

    Second-degree murder carries a four- to 20-year prison sentence, but can also result in four years of probation instead of prison. Aggravated battery carries a six- to 30-year sentence, 85 percent of which must be served.

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    Two Hartford men are accused of stealing packages from homes in West Hartford.

    West Hartford Police arrested 50-year-old Jose Navedo and 22-year-old Jose Cosme-Matos Thursday.

    The investigation began when a witness reported a package theft on Beverly Road around 3 p.m. Thursday. The caller said the suspects were riding in a maroon Pontiac Grand Am with a broken brake light and tinted plate cover.

    Officers found a vehicle matching the description in Hartford. Several packages were in the car, police said. Investigators said the suspects stole from four victims from the Beverly Road and Lexington Road area of West Hartford.

    Navedo was charged with sixth-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, operating an unregistered vehicle, misuse of plates, no insurance, and driving with a suspended license. Cosme-Matos was charged with sixth-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, and simple trespass.

    Package thefts are common during the holiday season. Police encourage everyone to report suspicious behavior to local law enforcement.

    Photo Credit: West Hartford Police Department

    Jose Navedo and Jose Cosme-MatosJose Navedo and Jose Cosme-Matos

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    Professionals are warning parents that they should talk to their kids as a new viral challenge spreads across social media and puts children in potential danger.

    The "Momo Challenge" is an online cyberbullying game targeting young kids and teenagers through Facebook and WhatsApp. It threatens children with violence if they don't commit potentially dangerous activities.

    Children who participate in the challenge are first sent a message with a photo of a woman with bulging eyes, an elongated face and a large, contorted smile.

    Accompanying the photo is a message that directs children to commit various acts - some simple, some more violent - and show photographic proof of those acts or risk being harmed.

    NBC10 spoke to one young New Jersey boy who was sent the photo by a classmate.

    "Momo stabs you with a knife when you're sleeping at night," said the boy, who is not being identified by NBC10 because of his age.

    The game has reportedly been linked to suicides in other countries but authorities have not offered proof of that connection.

    In New Jersey, the Cape May Police Department posted a Facebook message to parents warning that, "This 'game' is believed to be a way for people to hack accounts and is psychologically manipulative towards kids and teens."

    Meghan Walls, a pediatric psychologist, says parents should take preemptive action and gently ask their younger children if they know about the challenge.

    "Say something like, 'There's some scary things that pop up on phones and tablets, and if you ever see something like that, come get me,'" Walls said.

    When it comes to older kids, Walls said it's not realistic for parents to threaten to take their phones away, but they should have an open dialogue with their children.

    Parents should let those older kids know that the challenge is cyberbullying, it's potentially dangerous and that they're trusting their kids to let them know what's going on.

    "Especially as kids get older and they're teenagers, they want some of that autonomy and they deserve some of that autonomy as long as they can show you they're responsible enough," Wells said.

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    Bloomfield football earned their ninth state championship this season. And while having your family in the stands for a title showdown may seem like a given, for one Warhawks team leader it wasn’t always a guarantee.

    Jamie Butler-Harris is the kind of mother you hear cheering in the stands.

    I can block everything out except her,” said Ky’juon Butler.

    “He don’t want his mom hovering over him like, ‘you OK baby? You Want an ice pack? You need a band-aid?’” his other joked.

    Ky’juon always knows when his mom is in the stands as his games.

    “I try to block her out all the time. It don’t work,” he said.

    But the silence when she hasn’t been there was even harder to ignore.

    “It happened when I was walking home…and it was happening. I asked the police officer what was going on and his didn’t tell me.”

    Jamie Butler-Harris went to jail when her son was a sophomore at Bloomfield High School.

    “All I knew is that as I was being carted off, I remember his friend’s dad saying ‘Don’t worry mom, I got him,’” Butler-Harris said.

    Ky’juon stayed with neighbors or teammates from the football team, turning down moving in with his father in Waterbury so he could keep his one constant: football.

    “Football, basketball, that’s what kept me sane because like, if I was mad I could always just go on the football field, take my anger out there,” he explained.

    Back on the football field, hard work led Ky’juon to a state championship with the Warhawks.

    “Everybody knew that I could do it and I hadn’t done it since my freshman year. This was the statement year that I could be the leader to bring my team to the championship,” Ky’juon said.

    Bloomfield beat Haddam-Killingworth 25 to 7.

    Ky’juon rushed for 151 yards and scored one touchdown.

    “It was good but I wish it would have been longer,” he said.

    Not longer than the time Ky’juon spent without his parents, not just his mom, but dad too.

    “I was gone five years, I missed out on a whole bunch of stuff,” BJ Jones, Ky’juon’s father, explained.

    The same man who hoped to take Ky-juon when his mother was in jail served his own time.

    “I was just in and out for basically probably like the first 14 years of his life, I was in and out all the time.”

    But Jones won’t forget exactly what he happened the first time he got out.

    “He was waiting at the door for me when I came home…he was about 5 or 6, it was the first time I seen him shoot and it went in, you know you can’t really shoot when you’re that young. It just went in and I knew he was special. I knew he’d be an athlete.”

    When Butler is on the field, he gives both his parents a reason to keep cheering for something.

    “I could have been having the worst Friday in the history of all worst days but once I get to the football field, all my stress goes away…he taught me that there was just way more love in the world than anybody ever had to give,” his mother said.

    Butler will graduate in the spring. He says he’s looking to keep playing football in prep school in the hopes of continuing his playing career in college.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Ky’juon Butler plays for the Bloomfield Warhawks and says his time on the football field helps him get through any issues that come his way.Ky’juon Butler plays for the Bloomfield Warhawks and says his time on the football field helps him get through any issues that come his way.

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    Loved ones of an East Lyme woman police say was killed by her boyfriend gathered at a silent candlelight vigil for her and all victims of domestic violence Friday.

    East Lyme police say 25-year-old Corina Zukowski was stabbed to death in a motel by her boyfriend, 28-year-old Avery Hallbrooks.

    Hallbrooks was charged with her murder.

    Family and friends of the victim gathered at Civic Triangle Park in Waterford to remember her.

    The victim’s family said the two had been dating a couple of years and that she was trying to get out of the relationship. Her stepfather said she was staying at the motel to save money for a place of her own.

    Hallbrooks told police that the victim stabbed herself several times.

    Zukowski’s family said they want to remember her as the beautiful person that she was and they hope anyone affected by domestic violence will not remain silent, but rather speak up and get help.

    I'm hoping if I could have this vigil and have a good turnout if someone's affected by domestic violence that they could speak up and say something to prevent them from happening to what happened to my daughter,” said Phil Rodriguez, Zukowski’s stepfather.

    The family encouraged the public to attend the vigil.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Loved ones gathered to remember 25-year-old Corina Zukowski at a candlelight vigil in her honor Friday. Police say Zukowski was stabbed to death by her boyfriend.Loved ones gathered to remember 25-year-old Corina Zukowski at a candlelight vigil in her honor Friday. Police say Zukowski was stabbed to death by her boyfriend.

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    Children at hundreds of schools and businesses across Connecticut traded their usual clothes for pajamas Friday to help raise money for children battling cancer at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

    It’s all part of the eighth annual PJ Day for the Kids.

    Everyone who participates donates at least $1 and the proceeds benefit the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

    Staff there said the money is used toward helping cancer families in need, the clinical research program and the clinical care program.

    The day was inspired by Charlotte Wesoloskie of Coventry. She was diagnosed with cancer at just 21 days old.

    When her brother Nick was in second grade, and Charlotte was cancer-free, he wanted to do something to help the other kids still receiving treatment at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

    “We threw around a couple of ideas and when we landed on pajamas he said ‘Yes, that. Because she had to wear her pajamas like forever.’ And he said, ‘We should wear our pajamas one day a year to support kids here who have no choice,’” said mom Tara Wesoloskie, who organizes PJ Day for the Kids.

    Wesoloskie is also a nurse at Connecticut Children’s. In year one, they raised about $500 at Coventry Grammar School, she said. Since then, it’s grown exponentially. Last year they raised close to $200,000. There are more than 300 schools taking part along with countless businesses including more than 130 Dunkin’ Donuts locations, Aetna and more.

    The day is even recognized by the State of Connecticut.

    “These are real children with real names who come here and we are able to see the impact for them,” Wesoloskie said.

    Students at East Lyme Public Schools are among the thousands of kids who took part.

    “It feels pretty great to know you’re a little part of it,” said eighth grader Chloe Vaglio. “Even though you’re just one person you can help more than one person who’s fighting.”

    Superintendent Jeffrey Newton said the district raised close to $4,000 in the schools, alone. That number does not include donations families could have made online.

    Students are happy being cozy for the day can make a difference.

    “It makes you feel good inside that you are just helping people in need,” said eighth grader Carter Bonura.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Thousands of students wore pajamas to school Friday to raise money for children battling cancer at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.Thousands of students wore pajamas to school Friday to raise money for children battling cancer at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

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