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Police ID Stamford Mom Found Dead After 5-Year-Old Daughter Was Found in NYC


The investigation into a 5-year-old girl who was abandoned at a bus terminal in New York City led police to find her mother's body in Stamford on Monday, according to police, and they are looking for her father in connection with the homicide.

Police said they are looking for the girl’s father, Elmer Gomez Ruono, 32, for questioning. They believe he killed the mother, then dropped the little girl off at the police station around 8:30 a.m., based on what they saw on surveillance video.

The girl was found at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Times Square at 10:12 a.m. Monday and New York authorities instructed police in Stamford to do a welfare check on the girl's mother in Stamford, where they found 24-year-old Dionicia Bautista-Cano dead on the third floor of 388 Courtland Ave.

Police have not said how she was killed. 

Police said Bautista-Cano and her child, who speaks Spanish, moved from New Jersey and in with Ruono sometime over the weekend. The woman is a Guatemalan national, police said.

The couple, who married in Guatamala in 2008, had been separated, and Gomez Ruono moved to the country first. 

Bautista-Cano moved later and there was a get together in the apartment on Sunday night and detectives believe an argument led to a struggle and Bautista-Cano was killed.

Stamford Police are investigating the homicide and police hope to speak with the girl to determine if she witnessed the homicide, but investigators said they are being very delicate with her because she mother was killed and her father is a suspect.

She is in custody of the Connecticut Department of Children and Family Services.

Bautista-Cano's husband has not been located yet.

Southern Wildfires: Over 80K Acres Burn


Authorities scrambling to stamp out dozens of wildfires that have scorched more than 80,000 acres across the Southeast have a stern warning for apparent arsonists, NBC News reports.

"We're coming for you," David Purkey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said at a news conference in fire-ravaged Cocke County.

"If one of these first responders is injured or killed as a result of your actions, then the full weight of state government will come down upon you," Purkey pledged.

At least seven people have been arrested in hard-hit Tennessee on suspicion of starting forest fires in the past 20 days, officials said. At least two other incidents in Alabama are being investigated for arson, while one person described as an aspiring weatherman was charged with second-degree arson for a fire in eastern Kentucky.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Police Identify Man Found Dead in Meriden Apartment


Meriden police have identified a man found dead and decomposing in an apartment on East Main Street earlier this month.

Police said 73-year old Thomas Wilderman was found dead in an apartment at 657 East Main Street on Nov. 2. His body was discovered when neighbors began to smell a foul odor seeping through the apartment door and reported it to police.

Wilderman lived in the building, police confirmed. His car was found on Clark Street in Hartford later the same week.

Police are investigating the death as a homicide.

Meriden police said no other new information was available Wednesday, but that detectives were pleased with the progress of the investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Body Found in NJ Might Be Missing Stamford Man: Sources


Authorities believe a body found in New Jersey Wednesday might be a missing 26-year-old Stamford man and Hofstra graduate who was last seen walking into a luxury apartment building in Manhattan over the weekend, NBC New York reports, citing law enforcement sources familiar with the case.

Two law enforcement sources tell NBC New York the partially burned body found  in Monmouth County's Oceanport is believed to be Joey Comunale, of Stamford, Connecticut.

Chopper 4 showed an extensive law enforcement presence at the scene where the body was found, in a wooded area behind an old police department that had to relocate due to Sandy devastation. NYPD vehicles were spotted in addition to local law enforcement. No further details were available.

Police had said there were signs of foul play in the disappearance of Comunale, who was last seen on surveillance video entering the Grand Sutton building near the corner of East 59th Street and First Avenue Sunday morning.

His father reported him missing Sunday, according to Stamford Police.

"It was uncharacteristic of his son to not come home, check in. ... This kind of behavior was definitely uncommon for him and that caused the father concern," Lt. Tom Barcello, of the Stamford Police bureau of criminal investigations, said. 

Crime scene investigators were later seen carrying out bags of evidence from the apartment building. Law enforcement sources said they found bloody clothing and bloody sheets, along with a luggage cart that had evidence of blood on it.

Video captured exclusively by NBC 4 New York shows a man being apprehended at the scene and placed into the back of a police vehicle. He was taken in for questioning in Comunale's disappearance. Sources say another man is also being questioned in New York in connection with the case.

One of the two men gave police information that helped authorities locate the body in Monmouth County, the sources said. 

Comunale's family has been asked to travel to New Jersey to make an identification.

The family declined to comment, but friends told NBC 4 he graduated from Hofstra University, was an athlete and wasn't the type to get into trouble.

Stamford police said they gathered the initial information and started the investigation, but contacted authorities in New York City because that was Comunale's last known location and they picked up the investigation.

Comunale went to New York City with his friends and separated from them at some point and stayed in the city, Stamford police said. 

"After that, we don't know what happened," Barcello said.

"It's shocking. It's disturbing. From every indication that we get, this was a great young man. There's officers here that knew him," Barcello said. "He was an upstanding person, as far as any indication gives us."

One friend told NBC New York, "Joey is an amazing hockey player and teammate from an incredibly close and loving family. We are hopeful that he will be returned home to those that love him the most."

Officer Caught on Camera Punching Woman in the Face


An Arizona police officer is under investigation after video surfaced of him punching a woman in the face. The officer and another man who appeared to be a police officer were attempting to arrest the woman in Flagstaff, Arizona, when the camera started rolling. She told them multiple times that they did not have a warrant for her arrest and she struggled with them as they tried to handcuff her. Then the officer punched her. The Flagstaff Police Department says it's beginning an internal investigation into the incident.

Police Raid East Granby Spa for Alleged Prostitution


State police have arrested a Chinese national after an investigation into prostitution at an East Granby massage parlor.

Police said troopers, as well as Department of Homeland Security Investigations personnel, raided the Joy Healing Spa on Wednesday while investigating allegations of prostitution at the spa located at 56 Rainbow Road.

According to state police, spa employees were engaged in prostitution and 49-year-old Li Chenghua, a Chinese national who lives in Flushing, New York, was arrested and charged with prostitution.

She was released on $10,000 bond and is due in court in Enfield on Nov. 30.

Photo Credit: State Police

Trump Adviser Kris Kobach Advocates Muslim Registry


The man who pushed and contributed to create a federal Muslim registry in the name of national security now has Donald Trump's ear as a top member of his transition team, NBC News reported.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a policy wonk with a reputation for handcrafting the legal means to political ends, says he has a plan to help Trump pull off some of his most contentious campaign promises.

Trump has explored a variety of methods to vet potential terror threats, targeting specifically Muslims by proposing outright travel bans or creating a federal database of all people in the U.S. who practice Islam.

Kobach told Reuters this week that Trump's immigrant transition team proposed drafting executive actions to reinstate a post-9/11 era program that registered immigrants and visitors from countries designated as havens for extremist activity.

Photo Credit: AP

Clinton Reflects on Defeat: 'Never, Ever Give Up'


Hillary Clinton is reflecting on her devastating defeat, acknowledging the difficulty of her loss for her supporters and urging them to persevere through the Donald Trump era. She is encouraging her backers to "never, ever give up."
Making her first public appearance Wednesday evening since her emotional concession speech a week earlier, Clinton said: "It's up to each and every one of us to keep working to make America better and stronger and fairer."

How Trump Could Put Kushner at the Heart of His White House


Can Donald Trump bring his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, into the White House? And could Kushner get a security clearance?

The answers, according to several legal experts, are yes and yes.

A source close to Kushner told NBC News late Wednesday that he was considering whether to serve in the White House in a role along the lines of a special adviser or special counsel after being approached by Trump's Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

Once Trump is in the White House, there are options for getting Kushner a clearance in order to be an adviser.

The president has wide latitude in designating people for clearances.

For example, Trump could appoint Kushner to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board, which is made up of civilians from outside the government.

Another option would be for Trump to put Kushner into a paid position on the White House staff, according to several legal experts, who say the federal anti-nepotism law would probably not prevent it.

While that law does cover a son-in-law, it prohibits a public official, which the president is, from appointing a relative to a federal agency.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Old Farms Road in Avon Reopens


Half a mile of Old Farms Road in Avon was closed after a truck leaked diesel fuel, but it has reopened, according to police.

Drivers were urged to stay away from Old Farms Road, between Route 10 and Tillotson Road, until crews could sand the road.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Ilana Gold

Google Unveils New Weapon in Fight Against Terrorism


Developers at Jigsaw, Google's think-tank, are two months into a pilot project called Redirect, which aims to push web users searching for jihadist information toward content designed to counter the slick tools of terrorist recruitment, NBC News reported.

"There are people interested in ISIS' message on one side and there are videos that undermine ISIS' message on the other hand," said Yasmin Green, head of research and development at Jigsaw. "We are using targeted advertising to marry the two."

In traditional targeted advertising, a new mother searching for information on Google about getting a baby to sleep might start seeing ads for blankets and white-noise machines in their feeds.

Through Redirect, someone searching for details about life as an ISIS fighter might be offered links to independently produced videos that detail hardships and dangers instead of the stirring Madison Avenue-style propaganda the terror group puts online.

Photo Credit: AP

Dramatic Video Shows Cement Truck Overturn


A Phoenix, Arizona cement truck was reportedly trying to make it through an intersection before the light changed. Witnesses say the truck took the turn too fast for the load it was carrying and quickly overturned. No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: KPNX-TV

Intel Director Clapper Submitted Resignation Letter


Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday he submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday night.

Clapper was testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. He has served in the role since August 2010.

He said submitting the letter "felt pretty good" and that he has 54 days left to serve.

A representative for Clapper's office told NBC News that he "signed his letter as required by all appointed Administration officials but is finishing out his term."

Clapper has said in interviews with NBC News over the last year that he was counting down the days to stepping down at the end of President Obama's final term in office. He started as a young intelligence office reporting to his father in Vietnam, NBC News reported.

NBC has reached out to the White House for comment.

Photo Credit: AP/File Photo

Parents Speak Out About Plans to Close Nathan Hale Elementary School in Enfield


For many Enfield parents, a proposal to shut down Nathan Hale Elementary School for the 2017-2018 school year is a nonstarter.

On Wednesday night the board of education heard an earful from several people in attendance who said there must be another way to save money.

In June, the Board of Education asked the superintendent to look for ways to cut costs and the superintendent proposed closing Hale Elementary during a board of education meeting in October.

All 232 students in the kindergarten through second-grade school would move to three other schools.

Officials from the board of education said it would save them about $250,000 in duplicate staff, like principals and front office staff. The town could save money too. It costs Enfield $350,000 to $400,000 to operate the facility.

"It's not on the table because we want to do this," Board of Education member Timothy Neville said. "People say we should find it somewhere else. We would love to. Someplace else doesn't exist."

Board members place the blame for their current financial predicament straight on the shoulders of the state and say the state's continuous cuts to education led them here and it's not expected to get any better.

One issue Enfield will have to deal with is that there is currently an $810,000 bond on Nathan Hale Elementary School. They have eight years to pay it off, but if the building is not used for educational purposes, they're supposed to pay it off in one lump sum.

"I think as soon as a decision is made and something is concrete, we would write a letter to the state and petition the state to allow us to continue to pay the $100,000 a year instead of the $800,000 up front," Supt. Dr. Jeffrey Schumann said.

If the school is to close, the superintendent recommended the board of education make a decision by Tuesday, Nov. 22 because planning for consolidation takes time.

Many at Wednesday night's meeting, including some board of education members, think the entire process is moving too fast.  

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

'Back Into a Corner': Malloy Talks $1.3 Billion Budget Deficit


The two most recent estimates on Connecticut's deepening fiscal hole pegged the damage at somewhere between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion.

With such bleak figures, that means the governor and lawmakers will be tasked with one of two choices for getting the state back in the black: tax increases or cuts in spending.

“Years ago the state of Connecticut backed itself into a corner," said Gov. Dannel Malloy of the budget news. "It’s my job to get it out of a corner.”

Pension obligations have climbed in recent years, and the governor says he still wants to renegotiate with the unions whose members benefit from them.

Knowing that Republicans' have based their budget savings on those savings, Malloy quipped about their likelihood of convincing the unions to open their contracts, "I'm going to borrow their magic wand."

The governor also wouldn't rule out future layoffs, in addition to the nearly 3,000 staff reductions he's overseen during his six years in office.

Sen. Rob Kane, the current ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, said he would be surprised if there was anything other than tax increases presented by the governor to balance the budget.

“I’ve never heard of this governor talking about tax decreases. The only thing I’ve ever heard is tax increases so I would be really surprised if that’s the route he’s going but I welcome it because that’s what we need to do," Kane said.

Democrats in the General Assembly did cut spending by nearly a billion dollars last year but it ended up not being enough.

Malloy said lawmakers can expect him to offer up a package that includes an effort to restructure some taxes aimed at businesses. He was vague on whether that meant cuts or increases.

“Adjustments need to be made in respect to where we get our revenue. Particularly with respect to multi-state and multi-national companies and where they want to be and where they want to remain and what exposures we open people to.”

Rollover Caused Heavy Delays on Route 9 North in Newington


There were heavy delays on Route 9 North in Newington, where a car that rolled over is off the road near exit 29.

Police, as well as firefighters, were at the scene and no injuries are reported.

The left lane was blocked, causing delays.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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I-95 Project in New Haven Is Substantially Complete


State officials are celebrating a major milestone for the Interstate 95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program and said they've reached the end of significant work on the largest project the Department of Transportation has taken on in the modern era.

"This bridge is more than simply a roadway to transport people to and from work," Gov. Dannel Malloy said. "It is a new gateway to New England."

Malloy and the commissioner of the state Department of Transportation held a news conference on Thursday morning to make the announcement.

"This has been literally decades in the making. Thousands of people working and becoming a real family that was committed to making this project a success," Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said.

The project, which started in 2000 is anchored by the Q Bridge, a structure that won the state the grand prize in the 2016 America's Transportation Awards competition.

“The newly constructed bridge is a landmark in Connecticut. Completed ahead of schedule and under budget, it is a truly remarkable accomplishment in our ongoing efforts to ensure that the residents of Connecticut have a best-in-class transportation system that boosts our efforts to grow jobs, attract new businesses, and improve the quality-of-life in our state,” Malloy said in a statement. 

Malloy and Redeker said the I-95 South off-ramps to I-91 North and Route 34 West, as well as the onramps from Route 34 East to I-95 and I-91 North are complete and opened to drivers this morning.

The original Q Bridge was designed to hold 40,000 cars per day and the new bridge can carry 100,000 more vehicles.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Sunny, Dry and Mild Through Saturday


High pressure is in control of Connecticut's weather through Saturday, meaning dry, sunny weather will stick around.

High temperatures will be up near 60 through Friday, then perhaps middle 60s on Saturday!

A cold front blows through Saturday night, leading to showers on Sunday. It will be much cooler with a gusty wind. Temperatures won't get out of the 40s.

By Monday, highs will again be stuck in the 40s and some wet snowflakes may mix in with the rain showers.

Tuesday should be dry, but it won't last.

Scattered showers are in the forecast for both Wednesday and Thursday, which is Thanksgiving Day.

Temperatures will be far more seasonable by then, only peaking around 50.

Man Injured in Rollover Near Church in Vernon


A man was transported to the hospital after emergency crews pulled him from a sport utility vehicle that flipped over in the parking lot of a church on Route 30 in Vernon on Thurday morning, according to police.

The man was alert when he was pulled from the vehicle in the parking lot of the First Congregational Church of Vernon and he was taken to Saint Francis Hospital, according to police and the NBC Connecticut crew at the scene.

Police closed Route 30 between Bolton and Tunnel roads as they extricated the man, which took around 30 minutes.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Should You Shop On Thanksgiving?


Should you shop on Thanksgiving Day? NBC News takes a look at which retailers are getting a jump on holiday sales and which will stay closed for 2016.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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