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'I Could Feel Him There': Mom Listens to Son's Donated Heart Beat


Three years after her 7-month-old son Lukas tragically died, Heather Clark was able to hear his donated heart beat once again inside a little girl. 

Holding a stethoscope to 4-year-old Jordan Drake's chest, the Rancho Cucamonga, California, mother cried during an emotional meeting on Jan. 29 at the Heart Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. 

"The sound was so strong," Clark, 25, told People magazine. "I could feel him there with me. He is continuing on through her, no doubt."

Lukas suffered fatal injuries allegedly at the hands of a babysitter’s boyfriend. He died three days later at a Loma Linda, California, hospital.

"The only thing I can think of is: I can't save my own son," Clark said of her decision to donate his organs, according to NBC affiliate KPNX. "Why not save someone else's."

Esther Gonzalez, Jordan's mother, said the donation was a gift, though she knew it came at a price for another mother.

“Instantly you feel relief, you know, she may make it. But on the flip, it took me a half a second for me to turn and say, 'a mother lost her child tonight,'" Gonzalez said, KPNX reported.

Jordan suffered from many health issues as a baby, her mother said, including seizures, stroke, brain and stomach bleeding. 

"She had brain surgery -- so many issues," said Gonzalez.

Jordan received the new heart at 18 months, but her meeting with Clark didn't happen for another two years. KPNX showed Jordan smiling and running in the hospital. 

Clark told People her donation was anonymous and both her and Gonzalez wrote letters and social media messages trying to find each other afterward. 

"Lukas has given Jordan this chance at life and I know he is looking down, wishing her the best and telling her to live her life to the fullest," Clark told People."I could feel him there with me. He is continuing on through her, no doubt."

Jordan wasn't the only child Lukas helped, as two other lives were saved through the donation of his liver and kidney.

“He did more in 7 months in life than I've done in 25 years of life,” Clark said, KPNX reported.

Photo Credit: KPNX

Teens Charged in Car Break-Ins in Branford


Branford police have arrested two teens who are accused of breaking into unlocked cars in the parking area of a condominium and taking money.

A resident of the Thimble Island Condominiums, at 45 Jefferson Road, called police around midnight after seeing the teens go into parked cars, so police responded and found a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old, who are both from New Haven, in the condominium complex.

Police urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it and they ask residents to lock vehicles when they are unattended.

Both teens were referred to New Haven Juvenile Court and have been charged with third-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree, sixth-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny in the sixth degree.

Both were later released to an immediate family member.

Suspect Stole $250 Worth of Energy Drinks, Beer: Police


Police said a man stole about $250 worth of energy drinks and beer from a grocery store in Watertown.

Gregory Moore, 44, was arrested in connection to the robbery at Stop and Shop on Straits Turnpike, Watertown police said. 

On Jan. 21, employees told police Moore brandished a knife during the robbery and threatened to stab them. Moore took off with the beer and energy drinks and som employees followed him to the parking lot in an effort to unsuccessfully stop him, police said. 

Moore, a convicted felon for larcenies, faces robbery, threatening and larceny charges. He was arraigned at Waterbury Superior Court on Tuesday. 

It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney. 

Photo Credit: Watertown Police

2 Killed in NJ Home With Kids Near


A New Jersey man is facing murder charges in three slayings over the weekend in Newark, including the shooting death of the mother of his two children, authorities say. 

Jeffrey Holland was arrested Monday night in connection with the slayings of 23-year-old Ashley Jones, 27-year-old Jarrell Marshall and 21-year-old Taniquah Rouse, Essex County prosecutor officials say. 

Authorities allege that he shot and killed killed Jones and Marshall Saturday night at her home on Clinton Place, gunning down the mother and man just steps away from her three children, ages 1, 3, and 4. Authorities say that Holland fathered the youngest and eldest children.

Afterward, authorities say that he abandoned the three children in the home. They were uninjured, but were taken to University Hospital and later placed in the care of family members and the state Department of Child Protection and Permanency. 

Authorities say that Jones or Marshall had a restraining order against Holland at the time of her death.

The man also allegedly killed Rouse, at her home on Stratford Place on Friday night. Authorities say that she was found dead in the bathtub by a family friend and died from compressions to her neck.

The woman's 5-month-old child was found in a closet in the home. 

Rouse and Holland's relationship was unclear. 

Holland has been charged with multiple crimes, including three counts of murder, four counts of child endangerment, weapons charges and multiple other crimes. 

Attorney information for Holland wasn't immediately available.

Iowa Shows Establishments Not Dead Yet: Analysis


The results in Iowa on Monday looked familiar: a bloc of deeply-conservative and religious GOP voters selected a candidate like them in Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Hillary Clinton won about half of the Democratic votes. These results show that establishment isn't dead yet, according to NBC News' analysis.

With Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump at times surging in the polls — the 2016 race has been defined by its strong outsider candidates, but in the first actual votes, it was a draw. Clinton, a deeply-familiar figure endorsed by a very long list of Democratic elected officials, effectively tied with Sanders — who few party elites have backed. Trump, another insurgent opposed by many elites in his party, was just ahead of Marco Rubio, a career politician like Clinton and a favorite of the GOP establishment.

Cruz, who won Monday, says he is running as an outsider — but he is a sitting senator with a long list of endorsements from key conservative activists. He has both establishment and outsider credentials.

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images

17-Year-Old Suffers Minor Injuries in Crash That Totaled SUV


A 17-year-old boy suffered minor injuries in the crash in West Hartford early Sunday morning that turned his SUV into a mangled mass of metal.

Police said they received several 911 calls about a crash in the area of 1208 Trout Brook Road in West Hartford just before 3 a.m. and police responded to file a utility pole snapped, power out and debris strewn all along Trout Brook Drive.

The car the teen was driving, a 2005 Toyota 4Runner, was totaled and appeared to have rolled over during the crash.

The 17-year-old sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene, then transported to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, according to police.

The 4Runner was towed and Frontier was notified and responded for repairs.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Sex-Transmitted Zika Case Reported


The first locally transmitted case of Zika virus has been confirmed Tuesday in Dallas County. The patient was infected through sexual contact, not through a mosquito bite, according to county health officials who cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dallas County Health and Human Services said the patient was infected after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from Venezuela. As per usual, the patient has not been identified and further information, such as the patient's condition or their general location, has not been shared.

DCHHS confirms that there are no reports of the virus being spread locally by mosquitoes, though local transmission of the virus by mosquitoes is a possibility with the virus now known to be in North Texas.

The case is the first to be transmitted locally in Texas, where seven others in Houston and Harris County had already been confirmed to be infected with the virus after traveling abroad.

Common symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week, Dallas County health officials said.

The virus can have far more harmful effects on women who are infected while pregnant, leading to cases of microcephaly or other poor outcomes, according to the CDC.

Those with symptoms, or those who have had sexual contact with someone who has symptoms, are urged to seek immediate medical care, to protect themselves from further mosquito bites and to avoid unprotected sexual contact.

The Zika virus is usually spread through mosquito bites. The CDC previously said they were aware of reports of the virus being spread through sexual contact, but had not confirmed the transmission method. While exploring the possibility the virus could be spread through sex, investigators found the virus in one man's semen in Tahiti, and there was report of a Colorado researcher who caught the virus overseas and apparently spread it to his wife back home in 2008, according to the Associated Press.

“Now that we know Zika virus can be transmitted through sex, this increases our awareness campaign in educating the public about protecting themselves and others,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections.”

The CDC has not yet issued an official statement on the Dallas case.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus:

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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Police Statewide Come Together to Combat Heroin Overdoses


Several police departments across the state are teaming up to combat the influx of heroin overdoses in the area.

“This problem is affecting all of our communities, and we are seeing people in all stages of life, across socio-economic lines suffering, and in some cases, dying from this addiction," Chief L.J. Fusaro with Groton Police said. 

The number of heroin, morphine or codeine overdose deaths in the state doubled to more than 400 in just the past three years.

Police chiefs and representatives from Groton Town, Groton City, Waterford, Stonington, Norwich, Ledyard and New London, East Lyme, Montville, Mashantucket Pequot, Adult Probation, Parole and the Connecticut State Police met to discuss strategies addressing opiate addiction in the state. 

A representative from each department will work with the Statewide Narcotics Task Force to explore different opportunities to combat opioid addiction.

Over the weekend, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in Waterford reported they had treated a serious uptick of patients for heroin overdoses

"We've never seen so many in a 24-hour period," Dr. Deirdre Cronin, emergency department physician at L + M Hospital.

On Tuesday, President Obama requested more than $1 billion in the new budget for drug abuse and overdoses. Obama's request aims providing money for states under joint state-federal agreements to expand treatments accessibility.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 47,000 people died from overdoses last year.

Torrington Police Seize 90 Bags of Heroin, 3 Arrested


Torrington Police seized 90 bags of heroin on Monday and arrested three suspects with possession and intent to sell.

Information about a man selling narcotics by the Mobil Gas Station on 322 East Main Street led the department's narcotic unit to the suspects, police said.

Police located Aaron Fleming, 24, of Waterbury, and he was found with 81 bags of heroin just the day before his birthday on Feb. 2. Officers also located Sabrina Berkowitz, 33, of Terryville, Natasha Pelletier, 23, of Bristol and a small child were also in the car. Officers found 90 bags in total.

Fleming was accused of possession of heroin, intent to sell and risk of injury to a minor and was released on a $10,000 bond. Berkowitz and Pelletier were both accused of possession of heroin, paraphernalia and risk of injury to a minor and both were released on a $1,000 bond.

Willington, East Windsor Residents Fight State Police Gun Range Proposal


Residents of Willington amd East Windsor who oppose proposals to build a $7 million state police firing range in either town headed to Hartford on Tuesday and filled the room during a public hearing on the plans.

State police have been looking at sites in both Willington and East Windsor and today was the first time they presented their ideas publically.

The room at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford where the hearing was held it was standing-room only.

Several residents of Willington formed the group unWillington and brought that read “Clean, Green, Serene" to Hartford with them. 

“This is a very quiet community, tucked up in the quiet corner and people like the way things are now,” Eric Nichols, of Willington, said.

State Police have been searching for a new training ground because their current one in Simsbury is prone to flooding and the cost of repairs is high.

"And they deserve the best training and facility to provide that training possible,” Mark Petruzzi, of State Police, said.

But Willington residents said they want to keep their small town charm and not hear guns near their homes or schools.

“I just can’t see kids going out there and having to hear it every day. It’s really sad,” John Prytko, of Willington, said.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney has proposed a site at the National Guard training facility in East Haven as an alternative to Willington and East Windsor and Willington residents are getting behind it.

“Wouldn’t it be wise for us to get two organizations who are going to have to work together in the case of an emergency – state police and the national guard – to do training (in) the same facility (and) have some familiarity with each other? Makes sense to me,” Sen. Tony Guglielmo, of Willington, said. 

“The state is broke. This idea of going to East Haven is hugely less expensive. It makes sense,” Stephanie Summers, president of UnWillington, said. “We’re a small state. We’re congested. Why do we need to ream out everything and build something that we’ve already got.”

Members of the public were not be allowed to testify today. The committee only heard from the National Guard and the Department of Emergency Services.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Seize 1,400 Bags of Heroin During Vernon Traffic Stop


Police stopped a car in Vernon on Tuesday evening because of a headlight violation and said they found more than 1,400 bags of heroin hidden inside the vehicle.

Police stopped the vehicle near East Main and Court streets, in the Rockville section of Vernon, at 6:26 p.m. and the K9 Thor found what police believed to be heroin, police said.

When police later took an inventory of the drugs, they had 1,437 bags of heroin stamped with images of Mickey Mouse or Game of Thrones. Their street value is estimated at around $7,000.

Pedro Cartagena, 35, of Manchester, was driving the car and his nephew, Luis Banks, 23, of Manchester, was the passenger, according to police, and both were brought to the police station and charged.

Banks told police that Cartagena was taking him to see a friend and he denied knowing about heroin in the car, according to the court filing.

He did admit to being an occasional heroin user and said he stole a bag of heroin from his uncle a few days earlier and that was the bag police found in his pants, the court documents say.  

When police spoke with Cartagena, he said he buys a few "stacks" of heroin each day, uses 45 bags a day himself and sells other bundles, according to police.  

He told police that the house he was heading to sell heroin to someone when police stopped him. 

Cartagena also admitted to selling heroin to Banks police said.

Cartagena was charged with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school or daycare and improper number of headlamps. He is being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond

Banks was charged with possession of narcotics and possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of school or daycare. He is being held in lieu of a $2,500 bond.

Cartagena is being held on $150,000 bond and he's due back in court on Feb. 26.

Banks did not appear in court on Wednesday. 

Photo Credit: Vernon Police

Broncos Player Sent Home After Questioned in Prostitution Sting


Ryan Murphy, a member of the Denver Broncos' practice squad, was questioned and released by Bay Area sheriff's deputies during a prostitution sting Tuesday.

Authorities determined Murphy was not involved in illegal activity at the Motel 6 off Brokaw Road in San Jose and he was released, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

The Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Task Force was conducting the sting, authorities said. 

Sources tell NBC Bay Area Murphy was seen with his brother and a female passenger in a vehicle at the Motel 6. The woman went into the motel and then returned to the car, sources said. At that point, members of the task force swooped in on the car and its passengers.

Murphy's brother and the female were cited for alleged prostitution activity but were not arrested. The brother and woman allegedly knew each other.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. James Jensen said there have been several stings conducted over the last few days in which 10 men were cited and released, and 20 women acting as prostitutes were offered help.

Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak in a statement late Tuesday said the team sent Murphy back to Denver.

"Although practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him," Kubiak said in a statement. "Ryan is returning to Denver but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time."

Murphy, a Bay Area native who attended Oakland Tech, was drafted 248th by the Seattle Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Broncos will face the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 in nearby Santa Clara on Sunday. Coincidentally, former NFL safety Eugene Robinson, who was arrested the night before the Super Bowl in 1999 for solicitation of a prostitute, spent part of the day Tuesday warning Panthers players "not to do what I did."

Photo Credit: Getty/file
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40,000 Pound Coil Leads to Major Traffic Delays on I-91 in New Haven


Traffic is backed up on Interstate 91 in New Haven after a tractor-trailer accidentally dropped a 40,000 pound coil spool of metal wire.

The incident happened at the Interstate 95 connector.

There are major delays back into North Haven and drivers can avoid the area by taking the Wilbur Cross Parkway, State Street or Whitney Avenue.

There was a new crash on I-91 south by exit 1 close to 9 a.m.

As of 9:06 a.m., more debris that landed on the highway between exits 3 and 2 was removed. 

Follow traffic reporter Heidi Voight's updates on Twitter (@HeidiVoight). 

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Fox Lake Widow Pleads Not Guilty


The widow of Fox Lake Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, whose death last September was ruled a "carefully staged suicide," pleaded not guilty Wednesday on charges that allege she was a co-conspirator with her late husband during years of theft and criminal activity.

Melodie Gliniewicz was indicted on multiple counts of disbursing charitable funds without authority and for personal benefit and money laundering. She' appeared before a judge Wednesday where her attorney entered a not guilty plea.

The charges stemmed from her late husband's years of alleged crimes. Joe Gliniewicz ran the Fox Lake Police Explorer Youth Program until his death, which was initially investigated as a homicide. In November, authorities ruled his death a suicide, saying he had staged it to look like a murder, fearing his thefts of the program’s funds would come to light.

Gliniewicz's felony charges carry a max sentence of three to 14 years in jail as well as a $25,000 fine in convicted. Her next court date is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Investigators said Joe Gliniewicz stole thousands of dollars from the youth group over seven years to spend on personal expenses, including family vacations, adult websites and payments to businesses such as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts Fox Lake Theatre and more than 400 restaurants.

Melodie Gliniewicz held a "fiduciary role as an adult advisor with the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post," according to investigators.

Authorities in Lake County have since obtained a seizure order for five bank accounts associated with her, along with two credit card accounts. The new seizure order covers financial accounts that are believed to still contain funds from the Fox Lake Explorers.

In a statement, her attorneys said Melodie Gliniewicz is an innocent victim of her late husband's secrecy.

"Considering Melodie’s cooperation with law enforcement, she is devastated by the decision to bring charges against her," a statement from Kelleher & Buckley, LLC read. "Melodie is a victim of her husband’s secret actions and looks forward to her day in Court to show the world her innocence."

Photo Credit: The Daily Herald

Manhunt Leads to Arrest of Suspect Involved in Fiery Meriden Crash


Meriden police have found the man they said fled the scene after a crash and prompted a manhunt on Tuesday, police tweeted.

“It was like a big ball of fire," Julie Podolsk of Meriden told NBC Connecticut.

Police said Mark Martin was with a female passenger when police pulled him over for having the wrong plate marker on his red Hyundai Elantra. When the officer approached the car, Martin drove away and struck a police cruiser in the downtown area of Meriden, according to police.

The officer was not hurt but was unable to restart his car so he called radioed others units to pursue the Elantra, Meriden police said. 

Responding officers found that Martin was involved in a fiery crash with a silver BMW on Grove and Foster Street, police said.

Martin fled from the crash on foot, police said.

"He needs to pay the price," Podolski said.

Meriden undercover detectives found Martin at his home at 4 Geer Ave. and he surrendered without incident. 

Police charged Martin with  two counts of evading responsibility, misuse of plates, operating under suspension, not having insurance, stop sign violation and disobeying the signal of an officer, Sgt. Darrin McKay told NBC Connecticut. 

Martin also had two outstanding second-degree failure to appear warrants out of Bristol, police said. 

His total bond for all of the warrants and Meriden's charges was set at $42,500. 

He is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden Wednesday morning. 

Photo Credit: Kevin Alperen/Meriden Police Department
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Jailed But Innocent: Record Number of People Exonerated in 2015


In 2015, a record-breaking number of people were exonerated for crimes they were found to be innocent of after a guilty sentencing and serving time, NBC News reported. 

There were a total of 149 people who spent an average of 15 years in prison before being cleared last year, according to a new report out Wednesday from the National Registry of Exonerations, a project at the University of Michigan Law School.

The convictions ranged from low level offenses to major felonies, including 54 murder convictions that were overturned. Five of the convicts were awaiting execution and were saved last year when courts ruled they didn't belong in the prison in the first place.

Of the people wrongly convicted for homicides, the report notes, "more than two-thirds were minorities, including half who were African American."

Photo Credit: AP

More Women, Kids Now Fleeing to Europe Than Men: UNICEF


More women and children are trying to reach Europe than adult men for the first time since the refugee crisis began, according to UNICEF, NBC News reported.

There has been a "major spike" in the numbers of children and women on the move since June 2015, when men made up 73 percent of the migration flow, UNICEF.

It said children and women now make up nearly 60 percent of refugees and migrants crossing the border from Greece to Gevgelijia in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The United Nation's children's agency warned that children account for 36 percent of the migrants risking the treacherous sea crossing between Greece and Turkey — and that the real figure could be higher.

Photo Credit: AP

Last 3 Xpect Discount Stores Closing


The last three Xpect Discount stores in Connecticut will be closing as of April 1, according to the state Department of Labor’s website.

Marc Glassman Inc, an Ohio-based business, owns the three stores in Milford, Cromwell and East Haven, as well as dozens of Marc's grocery stores in the state of Ohio.

It appears that the Connecticut locations are the last three Xpect Discount stores.

The closure of the East Haven store will affect 65 people, the closure of the Cromwell store will affect 61 people and the closure of the Milford store will affect 52 people, according to the WARN report on the state Department of Labor Web site.

NBC Connecticut has left messages with Xpect Discounts’ corporate office as well as Marc Glassman Inc. in Ohio.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

3 Palestinians Killed After Killing Israeli Police Woman


A 19-year-old female Israeli police officer was killed when three Palestinians carrying automatic weapons, knives and explosives attacked a checkpoint in Jerusalem, authorities said, NBC News reported.

Hadar Cohen, an officer with Israel's border police, died in hospital after she was shot during the attack at the city's Damascus Gate, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Another female police officer was stabbed. 

The attackers, from the Jenin area of the West Bank, were shot and killed. 

A busy plaza that serves as the entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, the Damascus Gate has been the scene of past attacks and has an armed security checkpoint.

Photo Credit: MDA

Crash Closes Route 83 in Ellington


Route 83 in Ellington is closed by Cider Mill Road after a utility truck and car collided on Wednesday morning.

Minor injuries are reported and police said just before 11 a.m. that they do not expect the road to be closed for long. It should be reopen by 11:30 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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