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Vigil Planned for Missing Middletown Woman


The family of a 57-year-old Middletown woman who disappeared more than two weeks ago will hold a candlelight vigil Wednesday night in her honor.

Nina Coe last spoke with her sisters Wednesday, July 15. She attended a dentist appointment the following afternoon and has not been seen or heard from since, according to family members, who choked back tears at a press conference Friday.

"It's unusual for her to do that because she calls me every single day," said Coe's sister, Dale Ocelik.

According to a Silver Alert issued in July, Coe suffers from bipolar disorder and is dependent on alcohol and pain medication. Police said she may need immediate medical attention.

Coe's other sister, Barbara Plourde, said Friday the siblings have called and texted Coe but received no response. They stopped by her apartment to find broken glass and the lights off.

"We just want Nina home, and I don't understand why she's not calling us," Plourde said. "We just want Nina home. There's something wrong and we need to find her."

Family and friends will gather on Middletown's South Green at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Coe stands 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. Police said she wears glasses and has a tattoo on one leg and a scar on the right side of her neck.

Police are asking anyone with information on Coe's whereabouts to give them a call at 860-638-4000.

"She could be in trouble. She does have some medical issues, some dependency issue. We would like to get her home safely or get her some help if she needs it. We’d just really like the public’s assistance with this one," Middletown police Capt. Gary Wallace explained Friday.

Stratford Residents Pistol Whipped, Held at Gunpoint


Police have arrested two people accused of breaking into a Stratford home, pistol whipping four residents and holding them at gunpoint before stealing jewelry, money and electronics.

According to police, Jonathan J. Ortega, 30, and Victor Larrea, 35, both of Bridgeport, entered the backyard of a home on Birdseye Street in Stratford around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and pistol whipped two people outside on the deck.

Ortega and Larrea forced them inside the home, then pistol whipped two other people and held them at gunpoint, according to police. One of the suspects then rifled through the home and stole jewelry, money and electronic equipment.

Police tracked the suspects to a hotel at 360 Honeyspot Road and arrested them.

They have each been charged with second-degree assault, second-degree threatening, second-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree unlawful restraint, home invasion, first-degree burglary, third-degree larceny, first-degree robbery, two counts of risk of injury to a minor, carrying a dangerous weapon, criminal possession of a firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Larrea was also charged with tampering with evidence.

Bond for both men was set at $500,000. It's not clear if they have attorneys.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police Department

New Britain Mayoral Candidate Accused of Assaulting Incumbant


New Britain mayoral candidate Alfred Mayo has been charged with assault after allegedly grabbing the arm of the current mayor and pushing her away at an event in the city last week.

Mayo was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace, according to online court records. He is running to unseat the incumbent Erin Stewart in New Britain's race for mayor.

The altercation happened July 30 during an event at a park with children. Mayo showed up with a campaign sign and allegedly started yelling profanities at one of Stewart's staff members.

Stewart went over to intervene when Mayo grabbed her arm, according to the police report.

Mayo, who is working to petition his way onto the ballot, said all he was trying to do was hold up a campaign sign and spread the word about his candidacy.

“It’s freedom of expression to let people know I’m running," Mayo said during an interview at his home Tuesday. "That’s all I was doing. No words were said. I’m just displaying a sign."

Stewart declined to comment on the encounter with Mayo but tweeted Monday, "I'm okay, thank you all for your support. Hopefully it's the last time this happens."

Mayo would not disclose details of the interaction, saying he doesn't want to interfere with the court case. However, he did not deny using profanity in the presence of children.

Stewart is the youngest mayor in the country running a city of New Britain's size. She's well known in Republican circles as an up-and-comer and potential future star of the party, which serves in the minority across state government.

Mayo was released from custody after posting $500 bond and is due back in court Sept. 14.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

I-91 North Reopens in Wallingford After Car Fire


Interstate 91 northbound has reopened in Wallingford after a car fire prompted first responders to shut down the highway Tuesday night, according to the Department of Transportation.

State police said the fire happened near exit 13.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske

Hartford Mayor's Slate to Submit Petitions Wednesday


A slate of candidates running for office in Hartford, including incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra and City Councilman Ken Kennedy, will file their petitions at city hall tomorrow to secure spots on the primary election ballot.

The slate – which comprises Segarra, Kennedy, and city council candidates Kyle Anderson, Giselle Feliciano, James Woulfe, Luwannia Johnson Martin and Edward Casares Jr. – has collected more than 2,000 petition signatures, surpassing the requirement of 1,700, according to Kennedy and Segarra's campaign manager.

The candidates plan to submit their petitions at noon Wednesday. The registrar's office will then need to certify their signatures.

Segarra is mounting a campaign against challenger Luke Bronin, who won the Democratic Town Committee endorsement last week.

WATCH: Lexus' Magnet-Powered Hoverboard Debuts


Where this hoverboard is going, you won't need roads ... just a lot of intense magnets.

Lexus has revealed the inner workings of a hoverboard it teased in June, and while it may not be the "Back to the Future"-style transportation many were hoping for, it is a cool piece of technology, NBC News reports.

The "Slide," as the company calls it, works using an extreme version of the way two magnets repulse one another if they're aligned correctly. Lexus put together a special skate park in Barcelona, Spain, to show off the Slide — but hidden underneath the concrete are a number of pre-laid tracks that the hoverboard will travel along.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Lexus
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Sheriff: Pensacola Triple Murder May Be Tied to Blue Moon


A triple homicide in Florida is suspected to be a "Wiccan ritual killing" related to last week's "blue" moon, police said Tuesday, NBC News reported.

Voncile Smith, 77, and her two sons, Richard, 49, and John, 47, were discovered Friday, July 31 during a welfare check, Escambia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Andrew Hobbes said.

According to authorities, all three victims had their throats slit and Richard Smith, a Department of Homeland Security employee, was also shot in the head.

The positioning of the victims’ bodies and their injuries led investigators to believe the murders were part of a ritual. A person of interest in the case is also known to practice witchcraft.

A "blue" moon is what it's called when there are two full moons in the same calendar.

Photo Credit: AP

Durham Woman May Be Among Those Hurt in R.I. Storm


Connecticut residents were caught in the fray when a fierce storm ripped through a Rhode Island campground early Tuesday, injuring nearly a dozen people.

Officials said straight-line winds tore through the Burlingame State Park campground. Falling trees crushed campers and tents, sending two people to the hospital with concussions.

David Sassi, of Springfield, Massachusetts, said one was a woman from Durham who was camping with her family at the site next to his.

"The tree branch fell on her head when she was in the tent. Came out of nowhere," he said.

Sassi said he watched as paramedics cut the tree with a chainsaw before rushing the woman to the hospital. The family quickly packed up and did not return.

Eight other people were treated for minor injuries at the campground, including two children.

Local officials called the storm unsual.

"Summer thunderstorms are quite prevalent; however, they’re usually not severe. We may have a severe storm once every three years. This was quite severe this morning," said Kevin Gallup, emergency manager of Charlestown, Rhode Island, where the campground is located.

Gallup called it a short-duration, high-impact storm. Fifty large trees fell throughout Charlestown, knocking out power to 3,500 people, according to Gallup.


Crews worked all day to pick up debris as families tried to dry out all their clothes on air mattresses and clean up the mess the storm left around their campsite.

"Our pop-up was flipped upside down and flew over the trees. Everything was everywhere, glass (was) breaking," said Ellington resident Stacey Page.

Page's father was sleeping in a tent outside her camper. Fifteen minutes after he sought shelter in his brother’s camper, a large tree came crashing down, hovering inches above his tent.

"I think my angels were looking out for me today," said James Kology, of Bristol.

Not everyone waited for the storm to pass. Several people ran to their cars and left the campground as the storm raged.

"Limbs started falling, smashing every other car in between us," said Steven Fitzgerald of Hinsdale, Massachusetts.

Rhode Island State Parks & Recreation Chief Bob Paquette said he did not expect power to be fully restored until midnight.

Sauza Tequila Calls on Bristol Residents to Fight Rooster Ban


Sauza Tequila will stop at nothing to defend the honor of its mascot, the rooster.

The tequila maker is calling on Bristol residents to fight a proposal that would ban roosters in residential areas of the city.

The ban, first proposed and quickly scrapped in 2013, is apparently back on the table. According to a spokesperson for Sauza, the rooster ordinance has secured a spot on the agenda at next Tuesday's Bristol City Council meeting.

Sauza has written a letter to city councilmembers urging them to reconsider.

"We, among the many who celebrate the rooster, must advocate for an alternative solution in favor of the animal's survival," Sauza wrote in an email to NBC Connecticut on Tuesday.

According to the email, the father of Sauza Tequila handpicked the rooster to serve as the brand's mascot. "El Gallo" has also been part of the company's crest since 1873.

"The rooster represents courage, passion and perseverance – three traits that helped make the brand what it is today," a Sauza spokesperson said.

Sauza is enlisting city residents to support its cause.

"On behalf of Sauza® Tequila, the residents of Bristol and roosters everywhere, we are asking you to help encourage the Bristol City Council to consider alternatives to banning this brilliant creature," the spokesperson wrote.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Nicole Yeary

Pregnant Woman Killed, Infant Critical After Crash on I-95


A 26-year-old Niantic woman who was nine months pregnant died after crashing on Interstate 95 in Stonington this morning, and her child is in critical condition, according to police.

Police said Alexandra Brown, of Niantic, was driving southbound on I-95 near exit 91 when her car veered to the left and struck a metal rope guardrail around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Brown, who was nine months pregnant, was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the car, according to the police report.

She was rushed to Westerly Hospital, where her baby was delivered through an emergency C-section. Police said the child was transferred to Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and is listed in critical but stable condition.

A LifeStar helicopter was called but canceled, and the highway was closed while authorities responded.

Police are investigating and ask anyone with information to call Trooper First Class Scavello at 860-848-6500.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

I-95 Reopens After New Haven Crash


Interstate 95 north was briefly closed in New Haven at the Q Bridge after a crash, but it has since reopened. 

There was a fender bender involving a tractor-trailer that hit barrels.

Follow NBC Connecticut traffic reporter Heidi Voight on Twitter at @HeidiVoight for the latest traffic updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

First Israeli Jailed Without Trial in Sweep After West Bank Arson Attack


Israel jailed a suspected Jewish militant without trial on Tuesday, the first application of the controversial measure against a citizen in a government-ordered crackdown following the lethal torching of a Palestinian home, NBC News reported.

The suspect, Mordechai Meyer, a resident of a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, is accused of "involvment in violent activity and recent terrorist attacks as part of a Jewish terror group," Israel's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Meyers was arrested and placed under so-called "administrative detention" for six months.

Photo Credit: AP

70 Yrs After Hiroshima: Nuke Bomb 'Should Never Be Used Again'


The Japanese city of Hiroshima will early Thursday (7 p.m. ET Wednesday) mark 70 years since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city, killing at least 60,000 people. Three days later, the second bomb killed around 40,000 others in Nagasaki.

The bombings are credited with ending World War II but they left two cities in ruins and generations suffering the effects of radiation poisoning. 

Dr. James Yamazaki, a medical researcher with U.S. Atomic Bomb Medical Team in Nagasaki, witnessed first-hand the devastation the bomb left and horrific effects of radiation sickness. Yamazaki, 99, never wants to see such horrors again. Though he will not say the decision to drop the bombs was wrong, Yamazaki continues to lecture and warn against nuclear warfare. 

"All humans should make every effort that this should never be used again," he said. 

Photo Credit: AP

Chance of Isolated Thunderstorms, Showers


There is a chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms afternoon into early evening.

The heat and humidity have been pushed out to sea for now, but we can expect a mix of sun and clouds today with a passing shower possible.

A quick thundershower is possible in a few towns between about 2 and 5 p.m., but nothing severe is expected and they are expected to be very scattered and isolated in nature.

Fair weather is in the forecast as we move toward the weekend.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Route 63 Closed in Goshen


Route 63 is closed just north of Route 4, at Holmes Road, in Goshen after a car hit a telephone pole, according to dispatchers from Litchfield County.

No information was immediately available on injuries.

To get around the closure, take Route 4 to or East Street northbound.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Zimbabwe Safari Operator: Cecil the Lion Was 'Murdered'


Head of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe has has joined in the chorus of condemnation over the killing of Cecil the lion, telling NBC News the animal's killing was far from sport.

"We believe that the people who are the culprits lured Cecil outside the national park by…dragging that bait to an area where he was then murdered," Emmanuel Fundira said Tuesday.

"And I say 'murdered' because that was not hunting," Fundira added.

Zimbabwe said it is seeking the extradition of Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed the lion.

Meanwhile, Theo Bronkhorst, the hunting guide charged over the lion's killing told NBC News Wednesday he had never heard of the animal before the incident, and that there would have been no outrage had it been "any other lion." Bronkhorst has pleaded not guilty. 

Photo Credit: File
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Daycare Worker to Be Sentenced for Abusing Girls, 1 and 3


A 26-year-old former Manchester daycare worker who pleaded guilty to physically abusing two girls, 1 and 3, in her care is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Devan Vanover, 26, of Willimantic, previously pleaded guilty to risk of injury to a minor. According to police, Vanover yelled in a 3-year-old girl's ear and grabbed her face at the ABC Daycare on Hartford Road in Manchester, leaving a red mark in an incident that a colleague captured on video Aug. 14. Police said Vanover's mother owns the facility.

Vanover's sentencing "will bring a close to an incident which took place on August 14, 2014 at the ABC Daycare Center in Manchester," according to Marc N. Needelman, attorney for two child victims and their families.

Vanover "assaulted two young children; one three years old, and the other, 1 year old," Needelman said. "One of the assaults was captured by a co-worker, and the video was provided to authorities."

Needelman will be at the sentencing at Manchester Superior Court on behalf of his clients.

"Society and its judicial system must send a strong signal that no child should ever be harmed; particularly those who we entrust to caregivers," Needelman said.

Police said Vanover had completed drug rehab before the incident and that she has a history of drug abuse, as well as a "lengthy history" with the Department of Children and Families.

Her coworker told police Vanover regularly smokes e-cigarettes in the daycare and has abused the child in the past. She also took a photo of a red mark on the child's jawline that resembled a fingerprint, according to police.

The video shows Vanover yelling in the child's face, ordering her to stop crying. The 3-year-old girl told police she was awake during nap time and started crying because someone had taken a blanket from her.

Vanover is seen grabbing the child's face. Police said the girl demonstrated to officers how Vanover held her chin and cheek.

"She really hurt me when she holded my face," the 3-year-old girl told police, adding that she couldn't breathe when Vanover grabbed her. "She was kinda choking me or something."

The 3-year-old told police Vanover brought her into the daycare's infant room after she started to cry and yelled "real, real loud" in her ear, making her ear "tickle." She said Vanover had promised to let her draw if she calmed down, but retracted the promise after the girl stopped crying.

Vanover initially denied having physical contact with the girl, but when police told her the incident was caught on camera, she admitted to "holding her" and said she put one hand to the girl's cheek and another on her shoulder, according to police.

"I got close to her and told her that she could have her blanket when she was done crying," Vanover told police, according to the arrest warrant. Vanover said she had to raise her voice because the child was crying loudly.

She told police she had had a rough day because a child had been calling her names. According to the warrant, Vanover said she realizes she mishandled the situation and that she was trying to be helpful but "it went the wrong way."

The 3-year-old told her mother that Vanover had injured her before. According to police, the girl's mom noticed a bruise on her arm a couple weeks prior. When asked, the child told her mother a daycare worker had hurt her wrist, but that it was a "secret" and she couldn't remember the details.

"My heart is broken," Needelman previously said, an attorney representing the 3-year-old's mother. "This coworker reported the matter to the police and my client and I were very thankful that she did the right thing."

Vanover is also accused of forcing a pacifier into the mouth of a 1-year-old girl who was crying and fussy that same day. Her coworker told police the incidents happened 20 minutes apart, according to the warrant.

Vanover's coworker told police Vanover tried to feed the baby yogurt in her high chair but the child refused to eat. Vanover then picked her up, cradled her and began to "aggressively rock" the baby, then jammed a pacifier into her mouth, the warrant says.

A few minutes later, she placed the baby on her stomach in a crib, then noticed blood around the child's mouth, police said.

The baby's mother later took her to a pediatrician, who found a vertical cut on the child's gums caused by "blunt force trauma," as well as a scratch on her right forearm and small cut behind her left year, according to the warrant.

Vanover told police the baby had been flailing in her arms and could have been cut when she moved her head around. The child's mother said Vanover initially told her the baby had fallen with a pacifier in her mouth, but told police a spoon had hit the child's gums, police said.

Sharon Vanover, Devan's mother, who owns the daycare, previously owned a child care center in Tolland where Devan Vanover worked.

According to police, authorities investigated Children's World Daycare in November 2009 after receiving a Department of Children and Families report that Devan Vanover was working there while enrolled in a drug rehab program.

Devan Vanover was terminated at the time of the investigation, her mother told police.

Sharon Vanover was told she needed to submit fingerprints and a DCF background check on her daughter before rehiring her, but that was never done before Devan Vanover began working at the Manchester facility in early August, the arrest warrant says.

Devan Vanover was charged with third-degree assault, two counts of risk of injury to a minor and two counts of disorderly conduct

ABC Daycare previously declined to comment on the case.

Photo Credit: Cellphone Video

Man Critically Injured in Hartford Shooting


A 27-year-old man is in critical condition after he was shot in the abdomen and leg Tuesday night in Hartford's North End.

The shooting of Jermaine McClean, 27, happened at 74 Baltimore Street, blocks away from one of six National Night Out celebrations that took place around the city earlier Tuesday evening. The event was meant to discourage violence and build relationships between the community and police after what has been a violent summer.

"I think it represents a togetherness," Desiree Briggs, of Hartford, said of the event. "A coming together a community just all of us coming together because we’re in this community so we need to be working together to try and function for all of us."

That was before police responded to Baltimore Street at about 10:06 p.m. on Tuesday after receiving numerous 911 calls reporting shots fired and a person shot near Albany Avenue and Baltimore Street. Police located the scene, but didn't find any victims there.

Shortly after that, McClean arrived at Saint Francis Hospital to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds to his legs and abdominal area. He was rushed into surgery. McClean was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle.

"That’s the information that we’re getting right now that he was shot at this location transported by private vehicle," Hartford police Sgt. Paul Cicero said. "We received no calls prior to this that there was any kind of altercation. We just got a call that the party was shot and transported by private vehicle. We have that vehicle and the party that did in fact transport him."

Investigators taped off the intersection of Albany Avenue and Baltimore Street Tuesday night. Major crimes detectives responded and are overseeing the investigation. Police have interviewed several people, but haven't identified any suspects at this time.

Beyond community events, Hartford also has resources from the state, including four additional troopers, helping them fight crime.

Even though the latest victim of violence in the capital city is expected to survive, there have been 20 homicides so far this year, the highest in all of New England.

Newborn Attached to Umbilical Cord Left Outside for Day: Cops


A newborn still attached to his umbilical cord was left alone in a stroller near a church in South Los Angeles for more than a day before he was discovered by a homeless man, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

A homeless man walking near the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Dana Street thought the stroller was empty when he first noticed it Monday night at about 10:30 p.m. He walked by the stroller again at noon on Tuesday and decided to lift a blanket that was covering part of it. To his amazement, there was a newborn inside the stroller.

"Something in me told me to check in it. I moved the blanket and there he was, a newborn baby boy," Alex Diaz said. "He seemed weak, like he couldn't even move no more."

Father David Matz, of St. Agnes Church, said Diaz is a parent himself and plans to visit the newborn later in the hospital.

Authorities are asking for the public's help to identify the mother of the boy, who may be just days old. They are also actively searching within the community for anyone who might have seen something that could lead to the child's identification. 

Capt. Sean Parker said the LAPD is "looking at surveillance and we are knocking on doors to see if someone might have seen something."

Parker also said he wanted the mother to come forward so authorities can "see if she's OK."

The boy is expected to survive, according to authorities.

Additional information was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Courtesy: LAPD

White Cop Caught Discussing How to Kill Black Suspect


A white Alabama police officer was caught on a secret recording discussing ways to kill a black man and cover it up, it was revealed Tuesday.

The 2013 incident was quietly settled out of court and ended with the officer keeping his job, according to legal documents and interviews with lawyers and officials involved in the case.

The recording, first reported by the Guardian and obtained by NBC News, captures Alexander City Officer Troy Middlebrooks during a May 2013 visit to a home where the suspect, Vincent Bias, was visiting relatives.

At one point, the officer pulls Bias' brother-in-law — who is white — aside and tells him he doesn't trust Bias. Middlebrooks had arrested Bias on drug charges weeks earlier, and seemed to be frustrated that he had made bail.

Middlebrooks tells Bias' brother-in-law, that if he were the suspect's relative, he would "f---ing kill that motherf------" and then arrange the crime scene to "make it look like he was trying to f---ing kill me."

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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