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Police Investigate Baby's Death in Newington


Newington police are investigating the untimely death of a 6-month-old baby girl that was reported around 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

Investigators responded to 74 Timothy Street at about 8 a.m. on Tuesday to investigate a reported death and remained there throughout the day.

The 6-month-old girl was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Neighbors told NBC Connecticut that a grandmother, grandfather, mother, second-grade boy and a kindergarten girl also lived with the baby who died. They woke up to the sounds of the grandmother screaming.

"It’s a quiet neighborhood. It’s a peaceful neighborhood," Valerie Urso, of Newington, said. "....I opened my front door and I heard this woman screaming at the police visibly upset."

The family just moved to Newington a few weeks ago.

"It's just unbelievable," Joe Mazzoccoli, of Newington, said. "You don't think it's going to happen on your street. That's for sure."

No additional information has been released.

Newington police said they have asked for help from the State Police Major Crime Unit to process the scene.

Police said all people involved are cooperating with the investigation. Officers are working to figure out the cause of the baby's death.


Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Paul Dismisses Need for LGBT Employment Protection


Rand Paul on Wednesday dismissed the need for employment protections for members of the LGBT community, saying there "plenty of places" that will hire gay people and that their sexual identity is best kept out of the workplace.

"I think society is rapidly changing and that if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you," Paul said in response to a question about whether employers should be able to fire someone based on his or her sexual identity.

He added: "I think, really, the things you do in your house, just leave those in your house and they wouldn't have to be a part of the workplace, to tell you the truth."

Paul said that designating the LGBT community as a protected class, like race, gender and ethnicity, would create a new group "who can now sue."

Photo Credit: AP

Odor, Materials Investigated in Apartment Aren't Meth Lab: DEEP


Bristol police evacuated a Bristol apartment complex Wednesday afternoon after a family member reported suspicious materials and an unusual odor in one of the apartments in the building.

When police originally arrived at 460 Emmett Street at about 12:40 p.m., an officer who entered the unit suspected the smell and materials might be tied to a possible "small scale" meth lab being operated out of the apartment complex. There was a massive emergency presence throughout the afternoon and about half the residents were evacuated from the building. 

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded after receiving a call about a possible drug lab there after police reported to them that there was a strong chemical odor in the apartment.

DEEP took air samples to determine whether the building was safe and oversaw the process of handling and packaging any chemicals. They determined that the odor and materials in question weren't hazardous or drug-related, police said.

No one was injured.

Residents were then allowed to return to the building.

State police, Bristol firefighters and the D.E.A. also responded to the apartment complex, which is right down the street from ESPN.

No further action was taken, police said.

DEEP is working to determine what the materials found in the apartment are.

The scene has been cleared.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Elderly Man Arrested on More Child Sex Abuse Charges


A 77-year-old man who was previously convicted of sexually assaulting children over a period of several years has been arrested on additional child sex assault charges.

Kenneth Baker, of Old Simsbury Road in Granby, is accused of sexually assaulting a girl he knew and  has been charged with one count of fourth-degree sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to a minor.

Police said the warrant has been sealed and no further information is available about the case.

Baker is serving a five-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting other juveniles.

He was transported from a correctional facility to Superior Court in Enfield to be arraigned.

Photo Credit: Granby Police Department

Call Prompting Day School Soft Lockdown Originated From College


An automated phone call a West Hartford day school teacher received about a gunman on campus that prompted a "soft lockdown" turned out to be from Hamilton College about an incident on the Clinton, New York campus.

The Solomon Schechter Day School, a Jewish day school for students ages 2 to eighth grade in West Hartford, went into “soft lockdown” on Oct. 9 after a teacher at the school "received a suspicious automated phone call." A soft lockdown is when the doors remain open inside the school and people can move about, but no one is allowed in or out.

The message said, “This is not a drill. There is someone on campus with a weapon.” Then the message asked the recipient to reply “ok,” police said.

It turned out that Hamilton College had sent the message to students and their emergency contacts about an incident on campus and one of the Solomon Schechter faculty members has a child who goes to the college, police said. The automated system at Hamilton sent the messages to all listed emails, cell phones, home phones and work phones, so the teacher received it at the school, according to police.

Police responded as a precaution and did not find anyone with a weapon inside or outside of the school or on the roof.

Solomon students remained in class during the investigation and school resumed as normal after police deemed it safe, so no early dismissal was necessary.

To avoid the confusion in the future, Hamilton College will mention in any automated messages that they are coming from the college, police said.

The incident remains under investigation.

Coventry Patch reported that West Coventry Elementary School in Rhode Island also went into lockdown the same day because of receiving the same automated phone call from Hamilton College.

Teacher’s Aide Arrested After Teen Reports Baby Might Be His


Police have arrested a teacher in Connecticut who is accused of sexually assaulting a boy over a two-year-span, after he came forward about the alleged relationship and the fear he might be the father of her baby, according to police.

Stratford police booked Michelle Sulzicki, 28, on charges of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, illegal sexual contact with a minor and risk of injury to a minor.

The investigation began on Sept. 24 when the student, who is now in high school, sought out help and said he had sex with a teacher's aide at his house when she tutored him at home in sixth and seventh grade, according to court records.

The teen said he and Sulzicki had sexual intercourse, as well as oral sex and anal sex, between 15 and 20 times over two years starting when he was 12, and that Sulzicki sometimes brought condoms for him to wear, but not always, according to the affidavit.

Soon after the last sexual encounter, the teen said he learned Sulzicki was pregnant and he was not sure if he was the father, according to court documents.

When police questioned Sulzicki, she first denied having a sexual relationship with the victim, then admitted to having sex with him once in his bedroom when he was in sixth grade, the affidavit says.

She went on to tell police that she did not charge the boy's family for the tutoring sessions and admitted to buying gifts and clothing for the boy, according to police.

Sulzicki is being held in police custody because she could not post $100,000 bond and was taken to Superior Court in Bridgeport. It's not clear if she has an attorney.

"Outraged and appalled are the only words that can describe these very disturbing allegations being made regarding the inappropriate conduct of a teacher with a student," Supt. Dr. Janet Robinson said during a news conference. "As soon as there was an indication of a possible crime, our immediate response was to remove that teacher from any further contact with any of our students."

Sulzicki was placed on administrative leave when the allegations surfaced, and Robinson said she is moving toward terminating Sulzicki's employment.

Sulzicki has been with the school district since 2010. She was a teacher's aide, but has worked as a teacher for the last three years, Robinson said. Most recently, she worked at Chapel Street Elementary School. It wasn't immediately clear which school or schools the student attended during the relationship.

"We've been told by investigators that no impropriety occurred on school property and that this happened after school hours, Nonetheless, there is zero tolerance for this type of behavior," Robinson said.

Chapel Street Elementary School Principal Carla Armistead sent a letter to parents and guardians on Wednesday addressing the recent news.

"A recent story was reported in the news media describing an alleged case of impropriety by one of our teachers on staff," Armistead said. "When Stratford Public Schools first learned of the allegations, the teacher in question was immediately removed from the building and was placed on administrative leave. Our first priority will always be to protect children. There is an on-going investigation into the allegation and given that we do not know all the facts in the case, it is important to let the case be adjudicated in the court of law"

"The faculty and staff at Chapel Street Elementary School are shocked and saddened by these recent events," Armistead continued. "Our focus will continue to be on providing a safe, caring, learning environment for all Chapel students. If students should inquire about current events as reported by the news media, our response will be aligned with the law that has prevailed for many years in our country, which affords all U.S. citizens the fundamental protection of presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and this message will be followed up with ensuring students that they are safe"

According to Robinson, the student went to the school Sulzicki worked in, but he was not one of her students.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police

Train Hits, Kills Person in Branford: Officials


A Shorline East train struck and killed someone trespassing on the tracks in the area of Pleasant Point Road Wednesday evening.

The tracks have been shut down in the area and there could be train delays, as a result.

A train struck a trespasser who was on the train tracks illegally in the area in Branford, according to Kevin Nursick, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation. It happened at about 7:20 p.m. The person died, according to Branford Police Capt. Geoffrey Morgan.

The train was heading eastbound and there were most likely passengers on board, Morgan said.

Amtrak police are overseeing the investigation, but Branford police and firefighters also responded.

The DOT and Amtrak oversee the tracks in that area.

Officials are waiting for the medical examiner to arrive.

The identity of the person killed hasn't been released.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ebola Stays in Semen for Months: Studies


The Ebola virus can stay in a man's semen for nine months or longer and in one case, a survivor infected someone else after being cleared for the virus, researchers reported. 

"We believe it's rare," said Dr. Barbara Knust, who helped lead CDC's Ebola response team.

The studies reveal that the epidemic, which killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, could have long-term effects. 

One report in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms what experts had feared - a 44-year-old woman who died in Liberia last March was infected by her fiancé, who had survived Ebola.

Photo Credit: AP

DHS Terror-Checking Computer System Back Up: Officials


A Department of Homeland Security computer system that checks airline flight passenger lists against terror watch lists experienced a service disruption Wednesday night, NBC News reported, citing senior government officials.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement late Wednesday that the outage lasted around 90 minutes, and that it did not immediately appear to be the result of a hack.

"At this time, there is no indication the service disruption was malicious in nature," the statement read.

The temporary outage affected Customs and Border Protection "processing systems at airports of entry in the United States," according to the statement.

The outage sparked extensive delays and long lines at airports across the country. 

A passenger arriving at Los Angeles International Airport told City News Service that U.S. Customs agents had to manually input passport information, leading to long lines and thousands of people backed up at passport-control stations. Similar delays were being reported at other airports, including in Boston, New York and Dallas.

An LAX spokeswoman confirmed the computer problem, but referred inquiries to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Customs and Border Protection uses self-service kiosks to allow U.S. citizens, along with Canadians and some international travelers with visas, to submit entry forms. The agency touts the program's faster processing times.

The kiosks are located at airports across the country. 

Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images
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Mental Health Resources Cut by Governor


Eight hospitals in Connecticut have turned to Community Care Teams as they deal with "free-riders," people who use the system as a place to stay or get treatment without having a need or in many cases, a way of paying for it.

Terri DiPietro helped craft the Community Care Team at Middlesex Hospital, the first of its kind in Connecticut.

“We look for the reason why people aren’t getting connected to services outside of the hospital and then we make sure they do get connected to those services by working in collaboration with our community partners" Dipietro said.

Included in Gov. Dannel Malloy's rescissions announced last month were $65 million in cuts to hospitals. $1.5 million in particular was cut to Community Care Teams. The newest team was set to be assembled in Danbury with the Western Connecticut Health Network.

Dr. Charles Herrick, the Chief of Psychiatry said he was depending on the team coming to help ease the strain on emergency departments. He says he expects the network will still find a way to adequately fund the Community Care Team.

He said, "It’s unfortunate that they’re not investing in these community care teams because they have proven to be so incredibly successful to the state.”

DiPietro says many patients end up in emergency rooms for reasons they don't have much control over.

She said "Housing is a main reason why people keep coming to the emergency room over, over, and over again. We also direct them to primary care. Remember, this is the part of the population that dies 25 years before their cohorts.”

Many people suffer with substance abuse issues and the team works as a bridge to get the person to a community partner that helps people deal with their addiction.

According to recent estimates from the Connecticut Hospital Association, the Community Care

Teams save more than $25 million in Medicaid spending, and free up more than 8,000 emergency department beds for people that actual need them in cases of critical care and trauma.

Gov. Malloy defended the cut to hospitals Wednesday. He says he can't guarantee that the $65 million in cuts wouldn't have been used to support high CEO paychecks at some systems.

“Can you expect that a portion of that money is going to go to pay higher salaries for the top executives, just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense" he said.

The governor did provide more than $14 million in payments to smaller hospitals last week, easing the burden of some of the recently announced cuts.

Benghazi Committee to Interview Hillary Clinton Aide


The House Select Committee on Benghazi will interview top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Adebin behind closed doors on Friday, sources familiar with the committee told NBC News Wednesday evening.

The interview comes just days before Hillary Clinton is scheduled to testify before the committee herself during a public hearing on October 22.

The interview of Adebin is one of many sessions the committee has had with people who were close to Clinton during the September 11, 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

Ex-Chief-of-Staff Cheryl Mills participated in an interview before the committee on September 3, and former Deputy Chief-of-Staff Jake Sullivan was interviewed on September 4.

Photo Credit: AP

Driver Knocks Down Pole in Torrington Crash: PD


Police are looking for the driver of a car that hit a utility pole on Torringford East in Torrington late Wednesday night, knocking it down, police said.

The one-car crash happened at about 11:28 p.m. near the intersection with Dutton Hill Road. The pole fell down on the road.

It's unknown whether anyone was injured. The driver did not stay at the scene and police are looking for the individual.

It's unknown whether there will be any road closures.

There was a considerable amount of fire police on scene, police said.

Truck Catches Fire on I-84 in Hartford


A truck caught fire on Interstate 84 westbound in Hartford.

It happened near exit 58, causing the three right lanes to close, as of 10:43 p.m. The left lane remained open.

No one was injured.

Photo Credit: DOT

Teen Crashes Stolen Car, Admits to Burglary: PD


A teen who fled from police who were patrolling a burglarized property in New Haven and crashed into a bodega ended up admitting to police that he was the one who broke into that property, police said.

Police were patrolling near 24 River St. in New Haven, which had been burglarized earlier this week, when a driver sped through the parking lot and left upon seeing police, authorities said.

Officers tried to pull the driver over, but he led them on a pursuit and ultimately crashed into the G Mini-Mart bodega at 606 Ferry St., police said.

He and his passenger ran off, police said. The building had minor damages from the crash and the car knocked down utility wires, police said.

Police searched for the two occupants on foot and apprehended them a short time later, police said.

It turned out the car had been stolen in North Haven, police said, so the teen driver was charged with stealing the car, engaging officers in a pursuit, operating without a license, interfering and several other motor vehicle violations.

The passenger, who had left a group home in East Haven on Oct. 12, faces similar charges.

An officer who noticed the teen had cuts on his hands asked if they came from the crash and the teen admitted that he had cut himself when he broke into 24 River Street this past weekend, police said.

Police are still investigating his connection to the unrelated burglary.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Postal Service Intercepts Package Containing $40K-Worth of Cocaine


The U.S. postal service intercepted a package containing $40,000 in cocaine in Monroe and police arrested the person to whom the drugs were addressed, police said.

Josue Gonzalez, 37, of Bridgeport, is facing narcotics charges after his arrest on Oct. 6.

The U.S. Postal Investigations Service notified police on Oct. 2 that they suspected a package addressed to a Monroe location might contain narcotics, police said. 

Postal inspectors obtained a search and seizure warrant and went to the Monroe Police Department to open the package, finding over a kilogram. That is the equivalent of 2.2 pounds of cocaine, valued at about $40,000.

The package was addressed to Gonzalez at 451 Route 25.

Investigators, including postal inspectors, Monroe police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, resealed the package and brought it to the place where Gonzalez worked, police said.

After Gonzalez accepted the package, police stopped him as he was backing out of his parking spot and took him into custody.

Gonzalez was the only person at the location involved, according to police. The business owner and other employees didn't know about his alleged illegal activities, police said.

The location was within 1,500 feet of a day care facility at 477 Route 25.

Gonzalez's bond was set at $75,000 and he is due in court Oct. 15.

Photo Credit: Monroe Police Department

Your Stolen Data Doesn't Cost as Much as You Think: Report


The price for your stolen data may seem like a lot, but a new report from Intel Security Group’s McAfee Labs says that information doesn’t usually go for much, NBC News reported.

Researchers monitored websites, chat rooms and other places where stolen data are bought and sold. The prices ranged from 55 cents to $1, the report said.

Even though the data may lack a hefty price tag individually, those selling the information usually make up for shortfalls in volume.

"Selling millions of cards for cents still nets huge returns. The idea is to sell a lot of accounts," Raj Samani, CTO of Intel Security for Europe, the Middle East and Africa said.

Photo Credit: AP

Bernie Sanders Dances on 'Ellen'


Bernie Sanders proved on Tuesday he can debate, but can he dance? Sure, he can.

The Vermont senator was a guest on a taping of “Ellen” in his first televised appearance since Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

Show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted a short clip of the Democratic presidential candidate doing a little two-step as he waited to make his entrance.

Sanders danced in to “Disco Inferno” before taking his seat.

The two talked about some of the issues that were brought up during the debate, including Sanders’ comments on the Hillary Clinton private email server scandal.

“You said this may not be political,” DeGeneres said. “And I think that’s the exact thing people are sick of is people being political.”

Sanders told the audience he’s been in many political campaigns and said he’s never resorted to attack ads.

“I’ve never run a negative political ad in my entire life and I’ve been attacked a lot,” Sanders said.

Sanders also touched on the disappearing middle class, nutrition and climate change.

DeGeneres put Sanders in the Hot Seat, asking him personal questions. The host donated $1,000 to breast cancer research every time he answered a question correctly.

Sanders said he would prefer being stuck on a desert island with Republican candidate Marco Rubio.

His Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor would be called “Bern, Bernie, Bern”, a hot and spicy ice cream.

Sanders also admitted to having been in handcuffs.

“When I was young, I was involved in a civil rights demonstration and I was arrested,” he said.

When asked what song he would sing in a karaoke bar, Sanders said he would choose “Stayin’ Alive” from “Saturday Night Fever.”

And if you’re wondering, Sanders doesn’t wear boxers, he wears briefs.

The “Ellen DeGeneres Show” featuring the Democratic presidential candidate will air on Thursday Oct. 15.

Photo Credit: AP
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Signs of Plea Deal for Former House Speaker Grow Stronger


Lawyers for former House speaker Dennis Hastert are due in federal court in Chicago Thursday morning, amid growing signs that a plea deal with federal prosecutors is near, NBC News reported.

Hastert was indicted by a grand jury in May, accused of illegally evading federal bank transaction laws in making payments of nearly $2 million to a person identified in court documents only as "Person A."

Hastert was also charged with lying to federal agents about the payments. He pleaded not guilty and remains free on bond.

Photo Credit: AP

Freddie Gray Activists Occupy Baltimore City Hall


Activists occupied Baltimore's City Hall on Wednesday night, demanding concessions from top officials, the Associated Press reported.

They called for police to avoid using military tactics and chanted the name of a black man who died after suffering an injured in police custody.

Members of the Baltimore Bloc began shouting from an upper gallery as a city council subcommittee prepared to vote to make interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis a permanent appointment.

"All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray!" the activists chanted amid calls to postpone the vote. "No justice, no peace!" 

Photo Credit: AP

Fire Officials Release Cause of Fire That Killed Boy, 11


"Improperly discarded smoking materials" caused the fire that killed an 11-year-old boy, injured a firefighter and forced a resident to jump from a window in New Britain just over a week ago, according to fire officials.

Authorities have ruled the fire that happened on 1:21 a.m. Oct. 6 at 756 East Street in New Britain to be accidental.

Cade Townsend IV lived on the third floor of the home and tried to escape from the burning building, but was overcome by heavy smoke. New Britain firefighters tried to find and rescue him, but "were thwarted by the fast-moving blaze which had already engulfed all three floors of the structure by the time" firefighters arrived, fire officials said. They had to leave the building when conditions got worse.

Once the fire was under control, firefighters went back inside and found Cade, unresponsive, on the third floor. Despite frantic efforts to save him, medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Someone didn't throw smoking materials away properly, sparking the fire in the area of the first floor front porch, the New Britain fire marshal's office, New Britain police and the state police Fire and Explosion Investigations Unit determined.

“What makes this situation all the more tragic and heartbreaking is that something like an improperly discarded smoking material, had such an unbelievably major consequence, costing a child his life and devastating a family,” New Britain Fire Chief Thomas Ronalter said.

Cade was a fifth-grade student at Chamberlain Elementary School.

The house has working smoke detectors and police investigators said it looks like the first started on the first-floor porch and traveled up. There is no sign of criminal activity, police said this morning.

Eleven other residents were able to get out of the building without serious injuries. 

One of the victims said he jumped from a window of the burning home after hearing his cousin calling to him from below.

A firefighter was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries sustained while fighting the fire and was released a short time later.

Fire officials caution the public to discard smoking materials in "noncombustible containers" and advise residents not to keep furniture on porches.

"No storage of combustible materials should be allowed in-or-under stairs," fire officials said, noting that stairs should remain clear so people can use them to exit a building safely.

New Britain Fire Chief Thomas Ronalter urges residents to take the following precautions to prevent a fire:

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom.  Make sure to check them monthly to ensure they're working and use 10-year batteries to reduce the amount of times you have to change the battery.
  • Know two exits for each bedroom.
  • Have an escape plan and practice it.

In the event of a fire, he offers these safety tips:

  • Stay low and crawl to navigate under the smoke.
  • Evacuate your home and stay outside. If there's a fire, don't go back inside.
  • Go to a designated meeting place for your family outside the house.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and submitted
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