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Hamden Man Accused of Raping, Beating NY Woman


North Haven police have arrested a Hamden man wanted in New York on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman he had been involved with and beating her with a hammer.

Police arrested Joseph Fortier, 29, of Hamden, on Thursday.

Police said Fortier is accused of breaking into the Suffern, New York, home of a woman he was previously involved with, hitting her in the head with a hammer, choking her and sexually assaulting her while her 1-year old son was in the house. 

The woman tried to escape, but Fortier pulled her back inside, according to Suffern Police.

Fortier is also accused of forcing the woman to open a safe and taking the title to her car before fleeing. 

The Suffern Village Police Department contacted the North Haven Police Department, which eventually located Fortier.  He was arrested in North Haven and is being held as a fugitive from justice pending an extradition to New York.           

Chief Clarke Osborn, of Suffern Police, called this “a heinous, pre-meditated attack.”

Police said the Suffern Village Police Department has an active arrest warrant for Fortier, charging him with 10 criminal charges, including rape, assault and robbery, unlawful imprisonment and additional charges.


Photo Credit: Suffern New York Police

2nd Tween Runaway Reunited With Family


Two boys who walked from their San Diego-area middle school to the U.S.-Mexico border and hid out in Tijuana for three days have both been reunited with their families, officials confirmed.

Jermayn Navarro and Sammy Saunders were reported missing Friday, Sept. 6.

Chula Vista police said the boys had gotten into some trouble at school, left Rancho del Rey Middle School around 11 a.m. and did not go home that night.

Saunders was reunited with his family early Tuesday after spending the long weekend on the run with his friend and spending his 13th birthday away from home. Saunders said he and Navarro slept in an RV and outside for a few days before he decided to head back home.

Saunders and his friend Jermayn Navarro planned to run away after school on Friday, Saunders told NBC 7 News in an exclusive interview. His family said grades and other challenges were starting to come to a breaking point and Sammy wasn't prepared to face the consequences.

Seated between his parents on his family room couch, Saunders told how the boys walked more than 11 miles to the San Ysidro Port of Entry and then, along with two adults, made it through the pedestrian crossing into Tijuana.

“We stood next to an adult and walked through,” he explained.

“My plan was like to follow him,” Sammy said of his friend. “But once I got to Mexico, I knew that was the wrong decision.”

They ended up sleeping in an RV lent to them by a friend of Navarro’s, the boy said.

Sammy, who had never been to Mexico, said he was fascinated by the experience at first.

But he didn't speak the language and after seeing what he described as scary things, he decided it was time to return home.

On Monday, he saw a Mexican police patrol car and turned himself in. The officer then contacted the U.S. Border Patrol and Chula Vista police.

After a series of phone calls, the Saunders family was reunited in the early morning hours Tuesday.

“Just happy to see him,” said father, Terry Saunders. “Happy that he was in one piece.”

Terry and Clara Saunders did everything they could to get the word out about their missing son. They used Facebook to alert friends and family, posted flyers, called friends and law enforcement agencies.

When they learned their son had been found by the authorities in Mexico, they were thrilled.

“We just couldn’t believe that he’s alive and he’s here and he’s well,” Clara said.

Sammy had this advice to other children considering the same kind of adventure, “Stay home and deal with it.”

As for Navarro, authorities say he ran away when he spotted police officers in Mexico Monday night. On Tuesday morning, detectives said they believed Navarro was with extended family in Mexico.

By 4:05 p.m., officials confirmed Navarro was safe, and had been reunited with his immediate family.

NBC 7 spoke with the boy on Tuesday who said he ran away because a teacher took his laptop away and allegedly called him stupid.

Navarros said he crossed the border and befriended homeless people, who gave him money for food.

On the streets of Mexico, Navarro said he saw gangs and was very scared.

NBC 7 spoke with Navarro's grandmother on Tuesday, who said the boy has never done anything like this before. The grandmother said that days before Navarro ran away, his mother took away his iPod because he was misbehaving in school.

Man Found Dead in Willimantic River Identified


The man found dead in the Willimantic River last week has been identified as Bobby Picard, 37, according to police.

His death appears to be an accident, according to police, but an investigation is underway.

Willimantic police and fire officials responded to Riverside Drive after a resident found the body of a man floating in the water nearby just after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4, according to officials.

The investigation is ongoing.Anyone with information is asked to call the Willimantic Police Detective Mercado at 860-234-2514.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 East Windsor Hotels Robbed in 10 Minutes


Police are investigating two robberies at East Windsor hotels this morning in a 10-minute span.

Around 5 a.m., a man robbed the Comfort Inn at 141 Prospect Hill Road. Ten minutes later, a man robbed the Clarion Hotel, less than half a mile away on Bridge Street.

The robber spoke with the clerk on-duty at the Comfort Inn for about 10 minutes and acted like he was going to get a room, then demanded cash, an employee said.

"I’m gonna be real with you. My mom's in the hospital and I'm fixing to rob you,” the robber told the clerk, according to an employee.

The robber didn't pull out a gun, but the clerk suspected he had one. Police said the robber fled with around $300.

The on-duty clerk at the Clarion Hotel said a man walked into the hotel around 5:10, told him he had a gun and demanded money.

“He basically told me, ‘Give me the cash.’ He had me walk away -- not to look back,” the employee said.

It’s unclear how much money the robber got away with in that case.

No one was hurt in either case, police said. They have not said whether the robberies are connected. 

While investigators search for the robber or robbers, the hotel worker from the Clarion said he’ll never take his safety for granted again.

“I just never thought it would happen,” he said.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

No Flushing Request Over in East Lyme


Residents of East Lyme were asked not to flush their toilets for awhile after a small explosion at the town sewage treatment plant this morning, but the flushing can now resume.

There was an explosion inside a small electrical panel at the town sewage treatment plant on Main Street in Niantic, near Dad’s Restaurant, around 11 a.m., police said.
Two town workers were hurt and have been taken to a local hospital. The injuries the sustained are not life-threatening, police said.

Town officials had asked residents to refrain from flushing as they worked to restore power to the building, but the plant was running on generator power as of 1:30 p.m. 

Electricians responded and were hoping to have power restored within an hour.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Power Restored for 2,300 in New Haven


Power was out for 2,371 customers in New Haven for a brief time but has since been restored.

The power outage started at 12:10 p.m., according to United Illuminating.

t was restored within an hour, according to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano's office.

The outage happened as voters are heading to the polls to cast votes in the Democratic primary, but voting was not affected, according to the mayor's office.


Photo Credit: Rob Elgas

1 Hospitalized After 2-Alarm Fire in Derby


One person is hospitalized after a two-alarm fire at a house in Derby.

Two adults and one child were home when fire broke out at 146 Park Avenue around 7 a.m., according to the fire department.

Officials said one resident jumped from a window on the second floor of the burning home to escape.

It was not immediately clear whether the person hospitalized is an adult or child or whether it is the same person who jumped from the house.

All three people were outside when emergency crews responded.

Fire officials believe the fire started on the second floor, but they do not know what caused it.

The extent of the damage is significant.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Most Areas of Pachaug State Forest Reopen After EEE


The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is reopening most areas of Pachaug State Forest that have been closed to the public because of the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in mosquitoes since August 27.

The Mt. Misery campground and Horse Camp, also known as the Frog Hollow Horse Camp, will remain closed until further notice. 

DEEP is reopening other areas of the forest because of fewer mosquitoes and less "virus activity." 

“After consulting with both the Department of Public Health and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, we feel confident opening this area of the forest back up to recreational use and previously scheduled commercial timber operations,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen said in a statement. “As a precaution, we have decided to keep the campgrounds closed for the time being. Connecticut has many other campgrounds available for those planning a camping trip in the days ahead and we encourage folks to continue to enjoy the outdoors this season – while taking proper precautions to minimize mosquito bites.”

DEEP officials had sprayed to reduce the number of mosquitoes that might carry the illness, which could be fatal for people.

On August 21, DEEP closed two of its campgrounds in Pachaug State Forest because of EEE andsaid it could have been months before the infected mosquitoes are gone.

Signs remain posted in the forest and visitors should continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

The mosquitoes that have tested positive for EEE were trapped in Voluntown on Aug. 21 and 22.  Mosquitoes with EEE were previously identified at the same site on July 10, July 17 and Aug. 13. 

While infected mosquitoes trapped on July 10 and July 17 were limited to a bird-feeding species, the mosquitoes trapped on Aug. 13, 21, and 22 include both bird-feeding mosquitoes and those that feed on birds and people.

Visit the DEEP website for more information or to find alternate camping and recreation areas.

Woman Hospitalized After Bristol Fire


A woman who was trapped in her bedroom when fire broke out in her Somerset Circle home in Bristol has been taken to the hospital.

Officials said she was unconscious when firefighters arrived at 36 Sherwood Court.

Neighbors saw smoke around 10:35 a.m., according to Doug Fiorillo, who lives nearby.

The cause of the fire is not clear, fire officials said.  The fire marshal is investigating. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Texting While Driving Crashes Into Lake


The driver of a car that crashed into a lake Tuesday afternoon reportedly was texting while driving, authorities said.

Deputies with the Charles County Sheriff's Office were called to Waldorf, Md., about 12:25 p.m. for a report of a car that drove into a lake.

The 25-year-old driver of the Hyundai was northbound on St. Charles Parkway near St. Thomas Drive when she drove off the roadway, struck a tree and drove about 60 feet into the lake, becoming submerged in about 5 feet of water.

The driver was out of the car when emergency crews arrived. She was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.

The car has been removed from the lake.

Crash Causing Delays on I-91 North, East Windsor


A crash is causing major traffic congestion on Interstate 91 north in the East Windsor area.

The crash happened between Exits 42 and 44 and has closed 2 lanes, according to state police. Traffic was backed up all the way to Exit 38 in Windsor.

Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT

Dad of Slain Girl: "I Have to Bury My Daughter"


Tyrell Ricks, 26, said Monday that he doesn't know why a man gunned down his 6-year-old daughter.

He brought the girl, Tiana, to a celebration at a relative's Moreno Valley, Calif. home on Saturday night. One of his cousins was going off to college.

Tiana told her dad she was thirsty, so Ricks fetched her something to drink and she followed him into the home's open garage, where people gathered.

About 9:30 p.m., two men stormed up the driveway from the street – one shouted, another opened fire. Bullets smashed holes in the windshield of a car parked in the driveway, struck Ricks' pelvis and fatally wounded Tiana.

A relative said the little girl didn't seem to understand she'd been shot. She just kept asking if her father was OK.

"That was the last time I saw my baby's face," Ricks said Monday, crying and trembling in a wheelchair.

Tiana died less than three hours later, just after midnight on Sunday.

"I have to bury my daughter."

Ricks met with investigators on Monday to give them whatever information he could about the attack.

Before that, he told NBC4 Southern California he had no idea why anyone would attack him and kill his little girl.

Ricks recently moved to California from the Midwest and said he had no gang ties. He didn't know anyone outside of his family in Moreno Valley.

Tiana's birthday would have been just a few weeks away. She asked her father for a cell phone and some moccasins.

"I could care less about my well-being," he said. "I loved her so much, and now she's gone."

Remains of New Fairfield Guardsman to Return Wednesday


The remains of Staff Sgt. Todd "TJ" Lobraico will be returned to his Air National Guard base in Newburgh, New York on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old from New Fairfield was killed Sept. 5 near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. He was deployed in June with the 105th Security Forces Squadron Airmen. It was Lobraico's second deployment.

The 105th Air Wing will hold a Fallen Comrade Ceremony begining at 2:30 p.m. The service will be held on the twelfth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Services for Lobraico will be held on the campus of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. Lobraico was a student of the school's Justice and Law Administration program, according to WCSU president James Schmotter.

Calling hours will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Feldman Arena of the O'Neill Center.

Lobraico's funeral will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday in the O'Neill Center, Schmotter said.

American Flags Disappear Ahead of New London Festival


Someone has stolen two dozen American Flags set up for a weekend festival in New London.

Nearly 150 flags had been placed along the shoreline for the Schooner Festival this weekend.

But police say someone has been coming to the City Pier and tearing the flags down.

“Someone stole 24 of the flags. We put up 146 flags and someone snuck down here and removed them," said Bruce MacDonald, organizer of the Connecticut Schooner Festival.

The flags started disappearing over the weekend, a few were even found in garbage cans around the city.

They were put up specifically for the Schooner Festival, to celebrate New London's history and maritime heritage.

Detectives are going through the surveillance footage hoping to catch the person or people responsible.

"I have every confidence that our investigative team will get to the bottom of this and bring those responsible to account," said Mayor Daryl Finizio.

Police Arrest Owner of Sick, Abandoned Pit Bull


A New London woman has been charged with cruelty to animals after a pit bull in need of a lot of medical attention was found tied up at an abandoned property on September 4. 

New London Animal Control found the dog, who they are calling Benedict, tied up at behind the house at 94 Blinman Street.

He was suffering from several open cuts, bacterial and yeast infections. It is also missing an eye and was brought to a local animal hospital to be treated.

Around 5 p.m. on Friday, Marissa Clarke, 30, of New London, reported that her dog had been missing since Sept. 3, when she tied him up in front of a convenience store on Banks Street.

When officials confirmed that the dog was the same one found on Blinman Street, police charged Clarke with cruelty to animals, failure to vaccinate and failure to license a dog.

She was issued a summons to appear in court on Sept. 23.

Clarke signed over custody of the 10-year-old dog, “Matisse,” to the New London Animal Control Division.

Animal Control said Benedict or Matisse cannot be adopted yet. He is considered evidence in the case and must be held until the case is resolved. They have a rescue set to take the dog once the courts give clearance. 

Photo Credit: New London Animal Control

De Blasio Leads Dems, Thompson Says It's Not Over


Bill de Blasio held a wide lead in the Democratic primary for mayor Tuesday, but was still hovering around the 40 percent mark needed to avoid a runoff with his closest rival, former Comptroller Bill Thompson. That margin leaves open the possibility that the two men will battle three more weeks for the party nomination and the right to take on the Republican choice, former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio, the city's public advocate, led the Democrats with 40 percent, Thompson had 26 percent and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had 16 percent.

Lhota had 53 percent and his rival, John Catsimatidis, had 41 percent, according to unofficial returns compiled by The Associated Press.

De Blasio called his finish a "victory" -- if not an outright one, then another step in his populist campaign against income inequality and aggressive police tactics. 

"What we have achieved here tonight and what we'll do in the next round of this campaign won’t just change the view of those inside City Hall, but will change the lives of those outside City Hall," de Blasio told supporters in Brooklyn shortly after midnight Tuesday.

Thompson, the party's nominee in 2009, vowed to keep fighting until every vote was counted -- a process that could take days, or more.

He took the stage at a campaign reception in Manhattan as supporters chanted "three more weeks."

Thompson congratulated de Blasio "for running a good campaign. That’s something he knows how to do."

"But every voice in New York City counts," he added, "and we’re going to wait for every voice to be heard. We're going to wait for every vote to be counted."

No matter whom the Democratic nominee ends up being, Lhota seemed to sense that it would be a fight.

"Our journey continues, just at a faster pace," he said.

In the campaign for city comptroller, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer defeated former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who had sought a comeback after his 2008 resignation amid a prostitution scandal. The AP's unofficial returns showed Stringer with 52 percent and Spitzer with 48 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting.

The public advocate race is looking like it will require a runoff  between City Councilwoman Letitia James and State Sen. Daniel Squadron, with James at 36 percent and Squadron at 33. 

The final word on the Democratic winner -- or whether there will be a runoff -- may still take a while, due in part to widespread reports of problems with the city’s 1960s-era lever-operated voting machines, rushed back into use after the Board of Elections warned they couldn’t certify results from the city’s new electronic machines in time for a runoff.

All over the city Tuesday, voters reported encountering jammed or broken machines, causing longer lines at the working machines, and forcing many people to have to fill out paper ballots. The reliance on paper ballots has heightened concerns that every vote gets counted, which could lead to a long wait for results.

Lhota was among those who had to vote by pen and paper, at his voting place, Congregation of Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights. 

Although a Republican has won every mayoral election since 1993, Lhota faces an uphill battle against the Democratic choice. Democrats outnumber Republicans 6-to-1 in New York, and Lhota does not have the extreme money advantage that the billionaire Bloomberg (who switched from the GOP to independent while in office) enjoyed.

Primary day arrived with de Blasio completing a steady, summer-long rise from the middle of the pack, portraying himself as the most progressive of the candidates and pounding at the city’s economic inequalities and offering the cleanest break from the policies – particularly stop and frisk -- of three-term Mayor Bloomberg. He also benefited from campaign advertisements that featured his black wife and mixed-race children, notably his teenage Afro-wearing son, Dante.  

De Blasio’s surge, and Thompson's resilience, left Quinn, the one-time front-runner who hoped to become the first openly gay mayor, in distant third -- and facing a questionable political future. 

She was arguably the race's most powerful politician, responsible for making council deals and negotiating with Bloomberg. But that record dogged her for much of the campaign. De Blasio accused her of making backroom deals with the mayor, and for backing his bid to change city law to allow him to run for a third term.

Quinn pointed out that de Blasio, as a council candidate, once spoke in favor of overturning term limits, but that argument did not seem to hold much traction. It was as if she was burdened with many of the negatives associated with the sitting mayor, and little of the positives.

Post-vote surveys provided some insight into that divide. Only 22 percent of Democrats told an Edison Research/Marist exit poll that they wanted a candidate who would continue Bloomberg’s policies, while 73 percent said they wanted the next mayor to move the city in a different direction. The survey included more than 1,700 voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Asked to choose what issue mattered most to them in deciding who should be mayor, 30 percent said jobs and unemployment, 20 percent said education, 16 percent said crime, 12 percent said the city’s finances and 11 percent said housing.

Those same exit polls showed that support for de Blasio's was strong in all segments of society that came out to vote Tuesday. He defeated Quinn among women Democratic voters and Thompson among black Democratic voters. 

The primary could turn out to be the end of former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s political career. Weiner has longed for the mayor’s office, and has been derailed twice before, in 2005 and 2009. In 2011, he resigned from Congress amid revelations that he’d sexted with women, but chose the 2013 mayoral primary to try for redemption. 

Weiner enjoyed an early spike in the polls, and sparked an avalanche of late-night talk-show jokes. Then things turned dark again, when he was forced to admit that he’d continued online relationships with women after his resignation. He sat near the cellar ever since.

He was the first candidate to concede Tuesday.

“I have to say ladies and gentlemen, there is no doubt about it -- we had the best ideas," Weiner told supporters. "Sadly I was an imperfect messenger.”

The only major Democratic candidate to consistently poll worse than Weiner is Comptroller John Liu, who has been dogged by a federal investigation into fundraising improprieties.

Harp Wins Democratic Primary in New Haven


Toni Harp has won the Democratic primary in the New Haven mayor race after voting on Tuesday night.

"We are taking no prisoners," she told a room full of supporters. "We are taking this city back for all of its people."

Harp defeated opponents Henry Fernandez , Alderman Justin Elicker and Hillhouse High School principal Kermit Carolina who all conceded the election after it was evident Harp was the winner.

In the preliminary results, Harp received 49-percent of the votes. Elicker followed with 23-percent then Fernandez (18) and Carolina (8).

Harp, a state senator, was the party endorsed candidate and was considered to be the favorite.

Elicker stated that he will run as an independent. Fernandez and Carolina both announced that they will not run in the general election as an independent.

Following her victory Harp told NBC Connecticut she will be ready for the general election in November.

"It puts me in a very strong position," Harp said. "Once all of the votes are tallied we're going to have well over 50 percent and I think we're going to take this home in November."

For the first time in two decades, the mayor’s seat in New Haven will be filled by someone other than John DeStefano, who decided not to run for re-election.


HIV in Porn Industry Is Like "Russian Roulette"


Performing in adult films is as risky as a game of "Russian roulette," the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said after another adult film actor came forward as HIV positive.

The announcement by the actor to the organization was the fourth reported case in the industry in the last two months.

Citing confidentiality concerns, that actor was identified by AHF President Michael Weinstein only as male, and it was unclear whether the performer had been infected while filming.

Weinstein said the recent HIV "outbreak" reinforces why a voter-approved law in Los Angeles County requiring adult-film actors to wear condoms during on-screen vaginal or anal intercourse should be mandated statewide.

"If you have unprotected sex, essentially you're going to get something, whether it's HIV or chlamydia or gonorrhea, simply by the law of odds," Weinstein said. "This current system is not going to protect you. I think that's become very obvious by what's been going on in the last number of weeks."

"We underestimate psychological consequences of this happening to a very young person," he added.

Canoga Park-based Free Speech Coalition, an adult film industry group, has twice called on a moratorium on porn production since the first HIV case was reported in August. An actress known as Cameron Bay tested positive, followed by a male actor who she was in an off-screen relationship with.

An unidentified third performer was announced later.

The requirement of condoms on set was challenged by the adult film industry, but was upheld last month by a federal judge who ruled the health risks of not using condoms trumped porn producers' argument that it violated First Amendment rights.

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Debris Falls From I-91 Overpass in Meriden


Cruising along I-91 South in Meriden, drivers experienced a frightening moment during rush hour on Monday when large chunks of concrete fell from above.

"All of a sudden I see this approximately grapefruit-sized dark rock come hurtling at my windshield," said Mindy Marrone.

That piece came from the Murdock Avenue overpass. The debris smashed into Marrone's windshield and then hit her roof.

"It hit another vehicle, bounced off their car, then hit mine, then hit another one behind me," said Marrone.

State Police say the debris, some brick-sized, covered all three southbound lanes and that 16 drivers reported damage to their vehicles from hitting or being hit by the debris.

For many, it'll be an expensive repair.

"The cost is what I thought, a little more $1,500. But we have insurance, thank goodness," said Marrone.

State DOT says the concrete debris came from haunches, which is leftover material from forming concrete molds. Haunches have no structural purpose and are removed from newer bridges, but the Murdock Avenue bridge was built back in the 60s.

DOT says it removed the remainder of the haunches from the bridge. Inspectors took a closer look and say driving on the bridge and under it is completely safe. But some drivers will keep looking up.

"I think it was a freak thing, thank goodness. But I have to say when I drove past that same area today I wasn't in the left lane, and I was looking in the road making sure nothing was left there," said Marrone.

The DOT says drivers whose cars were damaged can file a claim with them on their website.

Fernandez Will Not Run as Independent


When Henry Fernandez walked into Michael’s Downtown Restaurant Tuesday night, he was met by a sea of applause and surrounded by the people who have been supporting him during his run to be New Haven’s next mayor.

"You fought on behalf of my campaign and you stood with me and my family, and you made me so proud of this city," Fernandez told his supporters.

It was with a few tears that Fernandez announced that this race should be left to the top two candidates in the Democratic primary, and he isn’t one of them.

"I’ve given this thought, and I won’t be going forward in this election," said Fernandez, who had filed paperwork to run as an Independent.

That announcement was a huge disappointment to his supporters.

"He represented a lot of people that are in this room, many people in this City," said Julie Anastasio.

"I felt that Henry had the vision to lead us into the future for this City," said William Ocasio.

As for what he’ll do next, or if he’ll run again in the future, Fernandez says he’s concentrating on the here and now.

"I want to spend time with my family. I want to make sure my business is strong, and that’s really where I’m focused," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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