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Arrest in Case of Missing Fla. Vet


The ex-husband of a missing Florida Air Force veteran has been arrested and charged with her murder, the Martin County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.

Air Force airman Steven Williams, 30, is facing second-degree murder and child neglect charges. Williams has been ordered held without bond and court records don't indicate whether he has hired an attorney.

At a news conference Wednesday morning, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said Williams confessed to killing 30-year-old Tricia Todd — a mother and hospice nurse — and disposing of her body in a wooded area near Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Todd's body hasn't been found. Snyder said Wednesday crews were searching a 15-mile wide area, redoubling their efforts to find her remains.

Todd was last seen at a Publix grocery store in Martin County on April 27 prompting a large-scale, multi-agency search, NBC affiliate WPTV reported.

Officials said Todd was killed the night of her disappearance and that her 3-year-old child was nearby when she was killed. He had no accomplices in the killing or in disposing of the body, officials said. 

Williams had been cooperating with authorities and even agreed to a polygraph test on May 3.

"Nothing in (William's) lengthy interview — and it was a long and detailed interview — nor his polygraph exam indicated that he was involved or had any additional information about Tricia Todd's disappearance," Snyder previously said.

He was also interviewed by a lieutenant, two detectives and an assistant state attorney in North Carolina, where he was stationed at an Air Force base.

Williams was seen on camera buying gas at around 1 a.m. on the day Todd went missing, later telling investigators that she asked him for it because the fuel in her car was running low, NBC News reported.

Officials said Williams was taken into custody Tuesday in North Carolina and was brought back to Martin County.

Williams had been assigned as a field training detachment instructor with the Air Force's 372nd Training Squadron. The Air Force said in a written statement Wednesday they are "cooperating fully with civil authorities in this case."

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

Photo Credit: Martin County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

Survivor Recalls Texas Flood


Memorial Day weekend marks the anniversary of historic flooding that swept across much of Texas, claiming lives and ravaging the region.

One year later, Jonathan McComb still remembers with incredible precision the night his family slipped away in the floods of Wimberley.

"It was sunshine, we were in the river playing, barbecuing, radio playing, girls are laying out in their swim suits," McComb recalled.

Nightfall brought epic rains.

"In an instant it was on us, and there was nothing you could do and no way out," McComb said.

The Blanco River swelled 28 feet in an hour and a half, pulling the family's vacation home, where they were staying with the Carey and Charba families, from its foundation. The house was floating down the river.

"When we hit the bridge, it took the whole second layer off. It was an awful, awful sound," McComb said.

In the chaos, the families got split up. McComb remembers being alone in the cold river and praying.

"I'd been under long enough and I said, 'I'm going home, I know what happened to everybody else and I just, you know, I'm too tired. I have nothing left in me,' so I just went limp underwater," he said.

McComb said he struck a hard object, possibly a rock, and began fighting again and made his way toward shore. A stranger helped him and called an ambulance.

McComb spent several days in the hospital while search crews began looking for the bodies of his family and friends.

"There was always hope, but I knew the second that I wasn't with them, they were gone," he said.

McComb has spent the last year recovering at the family's home in Corpus Christi. His children's drawings and play table are set up just as they were. Their book bags still hang from hooks in the mudroom. Framed memories are everywhere and he has added some, too.

"They were all incredibly unique and beautiful and I miss them," McComb said of his family.

He said his young daughter, Leighton, came to him in a dream one night and brought him a sliver of peace.

"I said, 'What happened?' She said, 'We're OK. We got picked up by a man on the river and it was Jesus.' That was huge for me, hearing that," McComb recalled, choking back tears.

Honoring them, he said, means moving forward. McComb is renovating the master bedroom and bathroom — something he and his wife Laura had planned to do.

"A new start. Unfortunately. It's not replacing anything. It's starting over and beginning again. We are here for a reason. You don't really know what that reason [is]; you just continue to have faith and it will be presented to you at some point," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

East Haven Deputy Police Chief to Become New Chief


The mayor of East Haven has named a new police chief. 

Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said he will appoint Ed Lennon as the next police chief. Lennon is the current deputy chief and James Naccarato, who currently serves as the department's professional standards officer, will become deputy chief effective July 1. 

These changes come about after police chief Brent Larrabee decided not to seek renewal of his contract. 

"Ed Lennon's ascension to the role of Police Chief in East Haven is an indicator of the department's growth, progress, and readiness to lead itself. As we approach the anticipated termination date of the police department's agreement with the Department of Justice, it is only fitting that an outstanding police professional like Ed Lennon assumes leadership of the department," Maturo said in a statement. 

The Department of Justice inquiry into the police department started after some East Haven police officers were arrested, accused of racism targeting Hispanics and Maturo previously said the inquiry brought needed change, including a more diverse, community oriented police force.  

According to the mayor’s office, the recent vetting process included soliciting input from community stakeholders, town counsel, the United States Attorney's Office, the Department of Justice, and the Police Commission. 

Maturo said Lennon “has established himself as one of the most talented, progressive, and knowledgeable police professionals in the country." 

The formal swearing-in ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 23. 

"As our Police Department continues to move forward, we must ensure that we appoint leaders who are capable of preserving the accountability, transparency, and tolerance that we have worked so hard to restore within our Police Department. I have the utmost of confidence that Ed Lennon and James Naccarato are capable of doing so and that they will lead our Police Department with dignity and pride for years to come," Maturo said in a statement.

Photo Credit: East Haven Police

Middletown Police Officer Involved in Crash in Middletown


A Middletown police officer was involved in a crash on Warwick Street in Middletown, according to police. 

Police said neither vehicle was going fast and there are no life-threatening injuries. 

The crash is under investigation.

No additional information was immediately available.

Police ID Bridgeport Motorcyclist Killed in Stratford Crash


A Bridgeport man was killed a motorcycle crash in Stratford on Monday night. 

Police said William Bailey III, 33, of Bridgeport, was driving a motorcycle on Surf Avenue around 6:30 p.m. when he hit a tree and a parked car, according to police. 

Bailey was pronounced dead at Bridgeport Hospital. 

Police said the initial investigation showed he was going fast and there is no indication that any other vehicles were involved in the crash. 

Police are investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

No 'Decision' or 'Timeline' Yet on Trump Endorsement: Ryan


House Speaker Paul Ryan has not yet decided whether to endorse presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, NBC News reported.

"I haven't made a decision," Ryan told reporters in an off-camera briefing Wednesday. "I don't have a timeline in my mind." 

A spokesperson for Ryan shot down accounts that an endorsement was imminent.

Ryan announced earlier this month he was “not ready” to endorse the party’s presumptive nominee. But he says his team is working closely with Trump’s campaign, saying the two staffs meet “virtually every day.”

Photo Credit: AP

Beehive Bridge Main Street Transformation in New Britain


One of New Britain's overpasses going into downtown is about to get more pedestrian friendly.

Preliminary renderings for the city's new Beehive Bridge show a honeycomb design drivers would be able to see from Route 72 and on either side of the bridge.

Plans include having bees decorate the bridge entryways, along with larger sidewalks and bike ways.

The honeycomb design comes from New Britain being known as the beehive city: the beehive is on the city's seal and the city is also the former home of Beehive Field.

“People are going to want to come to New Britain just to check this bridge out which means they are going to want to see what else we have to offer whether it’s terms of restaurants, bars, nightlife,” said New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart.

The bridge currently has six lanes and a small sidewalk path. The bridge would be converted into four lanes and a large pedestrian walkway, which allows bikes to easily pass through.

The cost of the project is $5.8 million. About $2 million comes from state grants, and the city is paying $1.2 million. The project becoming a reality depends on whether the State Bond Commission approves the rest of the money needed to pay for the project: $2.1 million dollars.

State Representative Rick Lopes, who represents New Britain, said that money will not come from the state’s General Fund Budget.

“Money is very tight right now in our general funding but when we do a large construction project, we bond it which is borrowed money and that’s because we’re expecting that bridge to last many, many years and that’s why it’s an acceptable use of borrowed money,” said Rep. Lopes.

If approved, construction is scheduled for spring of 2017 and will take approximately one year to complete.

The project is part of a seven phase project as the city beautifies its streetscapes.

The State Bond Commission is expected to approve the funds Friday.

Photo Credit: New Britain

13 State Department of Education Employees Laid Off


Another 13 state employees have received layoff notices and all of them are in the state Department of Education.

The state is grappling with a $922 million budget deficit 639 state employees have been laid off in recent weeks.

Those employees who receive notices will be laid off from their positions and be relieved of their duties at the close of business, according to a statement from the Office of Policy and Management .

All of the state Department of Education layoffs are in vocational-technical school system and include three staff members at Prince Technical High School in Hartford, three staff members of Whitney Technical High School in Hamden, two staff members of Platt Technical High School in Milford, three staff members of Vinal Technical High School in Middletown and two staff members of Windham Technical High School in Willimantic.

The news release said the notices are a result of federal changes in which adult students in secondary schools will no longer have access to student financial aid and will no longer be able to pay tuition next academic year.

Once the current complete their coursework, the following programs will be terminated as of June 13: Medical Assistant at Platt Technical High School, Dental Assistant at Prince and Windham Technical High Schools, Certified Nursing Assistant at Whitney Technical High School and Surgical Technologist at Prince and Whitney Technical High Schools.

On April 6, the Nursing Board of Examiners voted to close the Licensed Practical Nurse Program at Vinal Technical High School.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

$25,000 Painting Stolen from Suffield Home


Someone stole a $25,000 oil painting from a Suffield home and a reward is being offered for information that leads to the recovery of the painting. 

Police believe the burglary happened on Saturday and the painting, which is signed by the artist, was the only thing stolen from the home.

Completed by Henry Farny in 1910, the painting "Evening" depicts a teepee by the water, and it holds a lot of value.

It’s estimated at $25,000 but hat gives it true value for the current owner is that his wife, who recently passed away, adored it.

"The painting was always special in my wife's mind, so the specialness of the painting comes in my wife's memory," said the owner of the painting.

The owner did not want his name revealed and spoke to NBC Connecticut on the phone.

He said the oil painting has been in his wife's family for generations. They knew the artist before he became well-known.

Born in France in 1847, Henry Farny moved to the states at a young age and became captivated by Native Americans, capturing their lives with paint.

The piece stolen in Suffield was supposed to go to the owner's daughter.

"I walked up to my bedroom and looked at the wall and said, 'It's missing,'" said the owner.

He contacted police and detectives believe the 8x10 painting may have been taken sometime Saturday from the Main Street home. With the frame, the painting is 11x14.

"The big concern is to get it back before it starts swapping hands," said Suffield Police Detective Justin Fuller.

The owner registered the piece with The Art Loss to prevent it from being sold.

Authorities said the homeowner is in the process of moving, and it appears the home was left unlocked at the time.

"I didn't protect myself. I didn't think about the consequences. The house is open. People walk in and out. You know, I was way too trusting," said the owner.

The owner says he has no interest in pressing charges, he just wants to get the painting back. He's offering a reward for its return.

Anyone with information about the theft should call Detective Justin Fuller at (860)668-3870. Anyone providing information will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: Suffield Police

Shoplifters Steal $2,000 Worth of Dooney & Bourke Bags


Shoplifters stole almost $2,000 worth of Dooney & Bourke purses from Clinton Crossing outlets on Tuesday and police are trying to identify the people who committed the thefts.

Police said the shoplifters stole the bags around 4 p.m. and they are worth a combined $1,864.

Anyone with information should call Officer Brian Corbin or Sgt. Joe Flynn at 860-669-0451 or email bcorbin@clintonct.org or jflynn@clintonct.org.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police

5 SEAL Trainees Blacked Out in Training Exercises in 2016


A Navy SEAL student who died two weeks ago was the fifth trainee in four months to lose consciousness during a pool exercise in California, according to Navy injury data obtained by NBC News and The Virginian-Pilot. 

More accurate data related to pool injuries was mandated after two blackout deaths last year. According to recent data, there have as many pool blackouts this year as were reported over the past 10 years at the training course in Coronado. 

Seaman James Derek Lovelace, 21, died on May 6 during a pool drill in California. His death has raised questions about whether instructors are following safety protocols and whether the training has become dangerous in recent years. Two other students passed out in back-to-back drills six weeks before his death, and two other students lost consciousness in March and January during training exercises. 

The Navy says there hasn’t been an increase in blackouts and that safety standards haven’t been wavered. The course is designed to produce people who can operate in remote and dangerous situations, and that the training has to be difficult, according to the Navy.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

New Haven Man Stabs Girlfriend's Chest: Police


A New Haven man is accused of stabbing his girlfriend in her chest, police said. 

On Monday, police arrested Michael Graham for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend in her left breast and puncturing her lung. 

Police said they were dispatched to Yale-New Haven Hospital on Saturday evening after 49-year-old Cassandra Harrison was being treated for a stab wound. 

Harrison told police she had been stabbed the night before while trying to break up a fight between two men, according to New Haven Police. 

However, when police searched the Harrison's apartment, with her consent, they found the handle of the knife that had stabbed her.

A second interview with Harrison revealed that she had been stabbed by her 52-year-old boyfriend, Graham, during an argument, police said. 

When Graham was arrested, he told police he and Harrison were drinking and doing crack-cocaine when they began to argue and he stabbed her. He told police he meant to strike the area next to her but missed. 

Graham is accused of first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and unlawful restraint. 

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Dunkin' Donuts in Downtown Norwich Closes


There is no longer a Dunkin' Donuts in downtown Norwich after the shop at 227 Main Street closed on Sunday.

“This is usually where everyone went, this is the hot spot,” said Jeremy Cruz, who works downtown. “Always came here to get coffee, you know, eat lunch, now we have nothing over here.”

A sign on the door lets customers know there are four other locations nearby, including three within a mile.

“If I go on break, I don’t want to take my time to go cross-town to get Dunkin' Donuts,” Cruz said.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this closure may cause," a spokesperson for the company told NBC Connecticut in an email. "We are committed to the community and look forward to keeping the people of Norwich running on Dunkin’."

It may be a corporate chain that moved out, but Darrick Shelby said it is a sign of how businesses in downtown Norwich are struggling.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s like a ghost town.”

Shelby owns Fashion 101, a combo barber shop and clothing store next to the newly vacant storefront.

“I just spoke to the owner," he said. “Foot traffic wasn’t enough.”

In the 14 years Shelby has run his shop, he said he has seen many businesses come and go.

“You had like the ice cream shop, you had the grocery store there across the street, you had the YMCA, you had the boxing gym,” Shelby said, “Everything’s gone.”

Shelby said he remembers a different mood downtown growing up. Now, he is just hopeful for some redevelopment.

“I would like to see them invest in this community,” he said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

I-95 in East Lyme Shut Down Following 3-Car Accident

Miss. Man Turns Himself In After Fatally Shooting Toddler Son


A Missouri man accused of fatally shooting his 8-month-old son turned himself in Wednesday, according to police, NBC News reported.

Diata Crockett was taken into police custody Wednesday, according to a statement from the St. Louis Police Department. 

Crockett was arguing with his wife and shot at her as she got out of the car with their son. The bullet struck the boy, police said.

The man fled with the couple’s two other children, who were later found safe at a relative’s house in a St. Louis suburb. 

Police would not provide any other details and it was unclear whether Crockett was charged on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

State Colleges Roll Out Certification Meant to Boost Employment


Connecticut's State Colleges and University System has partnered with some of the biggest employers in the state in an effort to create an employment pipeline post graduation.

The program consists of a 10-month certification program that could be completed at any one of the state's community college campuses.

The programs would provide a manufacturing designation for the student and they can be placed with a company like Pratt and Whitney, Sikorsky or Electric Boat, among many companies that are participating.

“We believe it’s time for Connecticut’s community colleges to maximize its contribution to Connecticut’s economic future and to the future of our students," said CSCU President Mark Ojakian.

Electric Boat is slated to see a historic boost in hiring with thousands of more jobs set to be available as the company recently secured a $100 billion contract from the Department of Defense to build 12 new submarines.

Combined with commercial contracts with Pratt and Whitney, Gov. Dannel Malloy said he's comfortable linking the state's economic fate to those two sectors.

"Those contracts are in place," the governor told reporters following the event at Pratt and Whitney's Hangar Museum in East Hartford. "When you talk about the Pratt and Whitney engine which has literally never lost a competitive bid and has a 7,000 engine backlog, we’re going to be producing those engines for many many years to come.”

One student, Sabrina Bouvier, will graduate from Quinebaug Valley Community College tomorrow. She completed the certificate program and says she feels for the first time in her life that she has a career path.

“It hit me like an epiphany one day several months ago, you know going in and doing my usual thing. Something silly like cutting stock, and I kind of realized, wait a minute, I would love to do homework for work. This is great. This must be what it feels like to have a career, have a passion, and know where you’re headed in life.”

Maura Dunn, the Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for Electric Boat, says her company is committed to hiring Connecticut graduates.

“These skills matter to people. They get you a foot in the door.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Tough Response to Accidental Child Shootings in Detroit


Detroit’s prosecutor wants firearm owners to secure their weapons, citing a wave of accidental shootings by children, NBC News reports.

Eight children have killed or been seriously injured with unsecured guns Wayne County, according to Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Most of the guns were legally owned by people who didn’t secure them, even though Michigan requires gun dealers to include a lock or safe-storage container with all sales.

Worthy wants to hold a meeting with hospital executives to plan a campaign to teach gun-owning parents how to keep their kids safe.

Laws requiring safe-storage have led to a decline in accidental shooting deaths nationally. But researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found a higher rate of these deaths in seven states that didn’t have safe-storage laws.

Since 2001, 868 children aged 14 and under have been killed nationally in accidental shootings and an estimated 10,543 children were injured during the same period, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Feeding Livestock Antibiotics May Worsen Climate Change


A link may have been discovered between antibiotics fed to livestock and global warming, according to a study published this week, NBC News reported. 

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder helped conduct the study, and fed antibiotics to 10 cows in Finland.

According to the study, the manure from cattle fed a common antibiotic produced even more methane than normal. The antibiotics kill off bacteria that compete with methane-producing microbes, the researchers reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 

"We know that there are negative consequences of antibiotics, particularly this effect of antibiotic resistance," said researcher Tobin Hammer. "But this was a pretty unexpected link between antibiotics and this other important environmental issue that we care about — greenhouse gases."

Photo Credit: Press Herald via Getty Images

CT Republicans Want to Scale Back on 'Motor Voter' Program


Republicans in Connecticut said they want to scale back the state's involvement with the federal law mandating that motor vehicle departments help with voter registration.

“We’re talking about a dramatic technology increase that is being used to register voters with a link to the Department of Motor Vehicles," said Sen. Mike McLalchlan.

Republicans want DMV to stop the ramp up for automated registration and updating with the Secretary of the State and instead have DMV customers fill out paper forms that the DMV would then mail to the Secretary of the State, who would then process them, and send them to the town registrar where it belongs.

The argument from Republicans is that DMV has had enough problems dealing with its computer upgrade, which has led to long lines.

“We would argue that DMV cannot handle more in the area of motor-voiter programs because they can’t get their own house in order" said Sen. Toni Boucher.

But, Connecticut has a recent problem with the "Motor Voter" law, as it's known.

The Department of Justice sent a letter to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, earlier this year, saying the state wasn't in compliance and needed to change quickly.

After legislation to address the issue didn't go anywhere during the General Assmbly's Regular Session, Merrill determined she could make changes and upgrades without lawmakers' help.

“I really believe this is a much better, more efficient, more cost effective, more accurate system to help people register to vote at the DMV," she said, in response to the GOP complaints.

Her proposal would take effect by the middle of 2018 and would provide a cross-reference of computer databases between DMV drvier data and voter data. The information needed to register to vote is the same as that needed to get a license, and when that information changes as DMV, it could be changed with the Secretary of the State's database.

Merrill admits the system may not be perfect, but maintains it will work, and it won't be a large burden on DMV. Most importantly she said, it complies with the federal government and could fend off a lawsuit.

“In the short term we do need to comply with the federal law but in the longer term I think it behooves all of us to have a more technologically based system.”

Republicans said Merrill needs to scale it back and if they had it their way, the DMV would have no role in expanding voter registration.

Boucher said, "Their charge is not about registering voters. That is a core function of the Secretary of the State.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Boat Safety Precautions for Memorial Day Weekend


On Tuesday, the rules for every person, regardless of age, wearing a coast guard approved life vest manually propelled vessels will change.

The measures is required because of water temperatures that are still dangerously cold.

"You're going to lose motor skills, your fine motor skills go away quicker in these cold temperatures," explained Thomas Distefano, Petty Officer Second Class of the U.S. Coast Guard New Haven station. "So to have it with you but not on, putting it on can be very difficult and now you're without a floatation."

While a life vest is something you should always be wearing if you're on the water this weekend, there are a number of other safety precautions to take as well.

"File a float plan with a family member or someone you trust. Make sure they know the who what where when and why's of your trip."

All things Distefano said are critical to staying safe on the water.

"Make sure before your boat hits the water that you've inspected your boat, that you have enough fuel-that's the best way to be out on the water."

And no matter what kind of boat you are in-leave your mark.

"We ask the public to mark the kayaks somehow," said Kevin Tanski, Petty Officer Second Class. "Write their name on the inside, their phone number, the address something like that so we know whose they are so we can call their house, make sure they're there and end the search and rescue at that point."

And above all, be smart on the water this weekend.

"People get a little excited they want to get out, have a good time but they get a little careless so everybody has to pay attention, be aware of their surroundings and go out there and have a safe time," urges Jason Moloni, an avid kayaker.

A few other tips before you head out on any kind of boat this weekend are to make sure you not only have your life vest- but that it fits and it still in good shape. If it's been through a little wear and tear-pick up a new one.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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