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Developmentally Disabled Woman Missing From New Haven


Police are asking for help in finding the developmentally disabled woman who went missing from New Haven on Saturday.

A Silver Alert has been issued for 52-year-old Diane Craddock, who walked away from her caregiver's home in the area of Charles Street and Broadway in New Haven on Saturday. She has been missing since at least 2 p.m., according to a representative from the home where Craddock lives. Craddock has never left before.

She's described as a black woman with gray hair and brown eyes. Craddock stands 5-foot-2-inches tall and weighs 105 pounds. She was last seen wearing a blue sweatsuit with a black coat, black boots, a black-and-white hat and a black scarf, police said.

Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is asked to contact New Haven police at 203-946-6316.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Holiday Shoppers Head Out on "Super Saturday"


It's the last Saturday before Christmas, also known as Super Saturday, and last-minute shoppers were rushing in.

"I just started my shopping today, and I hope to finish tomorrow. I'm a procrastinator," said shopper John Corsetti.

Corsetti was in good company. Shoppers filled Westfarms Mall as they roamed from store to store with hands full, many finding deep discounts.

"The deals are amazing," said Emily Sanada. "I think that's why there are so many people here. Every store has 50% off."

Super Saturday is a big day for shoppers and a big one for retailers. It's considered one of the most important shopping days of the season and the second busiest of the year, according to the National Retail Association.

"It's that final push, those final sales, those final discounts and incentives to get them to come in their doors and shop for their Christmas presents," said Westfarms Mall spokesperson Amanda Sirica.

For those willing to brave the crowds, many stores have extended their hours. Macy's and Kmart will be open for more than 100 hours straight until Christmas Eve, and Toys R Us will stay open for 87 hours.

And while some will finish their shopping on Super Saturday, many others know they'll be back before the holiday begins.

House Fire in Enfield


The Enfield Fire department is battling a house fire that broke out early Sunday morning at a multi-family home on Church St.

The fire department arrived on scene around 5:30 a.m. When they arrived, they were greeted by large flames shooting out of the home and a heavy smoke presence.

According to a eye witness, the home has about five apartments. The witness believes that all of the occupants made it out safely.

Witnesses also say that the fire was started after a Christmas tree burst into flames.

The area of Church St. at North Main St. is closed while the fire department works.

Teacher Accused of Molesting Boys


A man who once taught at a Southern California elementary school is accused of molesting more than a dozen boys across the state, including students inside his classroom, police said.

Jeffrey Simonek, 28, of Torrance, was arrested in connection with a Los Angeles County grand jury indictment that alleges he molested boys in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and in northern California, according to the indictment obtained by The Daily Breeze.

Simonek taught fifth grade and once worked at Center Street School in El Segundo, El Segundo Police Sgt. Hugo Perez told NBC4.

SoCal Jewelry Thief Caught on Camera

The charges stem from alleged crimes that occurred between September 2011 and September 2012, with one additional crime that was alleged to have occurred in 2007, according to the indictment.

He was arrested Nov. 26, and pleaded not guilty at his Dec. 12 arraignment, the Daily Breeze reported.

Detectives began investigating Simonek in August 2012 after an anonymous report to the Department of Children and Family Services alleged he sexually assaulted two boys in his Center Street School classroom, the Daily Breeze reported. He was then placed on leave.

Family of Man Killed by Deputies Protest in LA

Simonek has volunteered and worked for several camps and organizations including The Painted Turtle in Lake Hughes, the South Bay Conservatory in Torrance, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Orange County, police said.

He is being held in lieu of $20 million bail and is facing 20 counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 years old, according to the indictment.

Photo Credit: El Segundo Police Department

Berlin Police Investigating Fatal Hit and Run


 The Berlin Police Department is looking for anyone who may have witnessed a fatal hit and run accident last night on High Road.

Police responded to the area of 487 High Road around 7:39 p.m. Saturday night for a report of a pedestrian struck.

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The pedestrian was suffering from severe injuries on the scene and was later pronounced dead.

The car that struck the pedestrian fled the scene.

Anyone who may have witnessed the accident or has any information is asked to call Officer Robert Canto at 860-828-7080

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Woman Charged in Fatal Domestic Dispute in Hartford


Less than 24 hours after a man was found dead on Adelaide Street in Hartford on Friday, police are investigating the city's 23rd homicide of the year, right around the corner from Friday's fatal shooting.

Police said a domestic incident turned fatal Saturday afternoon when Marcos DeJesus, 27,was found strangled to death inside a home at 372 Wethersfield Avenue down the street from Burr Elementary School.

DeJesus would have turned 28 on December 22.

Authorities responded to the house around 1 p.m. after Katherine Santiago, 24, called 911.

DeJesus was unconscious when police arrived. He was pronounced dead on the scene, authorities said.

Evidence suggest that DeJesus was strangled with an extension cord. The State's Medical Examiner will have to confirm this finding.

Santiago was taken into custody and charged with murder. She is being held on $1 million bond.  Santiago has seven previous arrests including arrests for assault.

The Hartford Police Major Crimes Division and Domestic Violence Units are investigating.

It's the second Hartford homicide in as many days, bringing this year's total to 23.


Parent Arrested After House Party


Two teenagers were hospitalized and a parent was arrested after San Diego County sheriff’s deputies broke up a house party in Poway on Friday night.

Deputies with the Poway Station responded to a call of a house party in the 1300 block of White Rock Station Road around 9:30 p.m., according to officials. The call was reportedly made by a resident of the area who was unable to get to their home because the road was blocked.
Officials said arriving deputies walked to the house where the party was being held to request that the vehicles be removed and as they did so they observed a drunk teenage male outside of the party.
Deputies then went inside the party and found around 100 individuals, several of whom were students from Poway High School, officials said. When the partygoers spotted the deputies, they reportedly began to flee over walls into neighboring yards.
An ice chest, empty beer cans, and bottles of vodka were found strewn across the yard, according to officials.
Officials called the teen's parents and requested they come to the home. The teens were then released into their parents' custody.
Two teens, a male and female, were transported to an area hospital for alcohol poisoning by the Poway Fire Department.
A vehicle with five juveniles inside that was leaving the party was stopped for running a red light. Four of the teens inside the vehicle reportedly had alcohol in their systems, and the car’s driver, a 16-year-old boy, had a provisional license. The teen was arrested and later released to his mother.
Deputies determined that the party was hosted by a 16-year-old who lived at the residence and both of the teen’s parents were home at the time.
Deputies arrested the teen’s 54-year-old father, who they identified as Anton Joseph Muawad. He was later booked into San Diego Central Jail for suspicion of violating the social host ordinance.


Arrests in Officer's Fatal Shooting


Charges were filed early Monday against two men in connection with the shooting death of an off-duty Cook County Sheriff's investigator outside of a holiday party Friday night in the west Chicago suburb of Bellwood.

Gage Thornton and Brandon Jackson, both 22 years old and both of the 200 block of 30th Avenue,  were charged with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery. A Monday morning appearance in bond court was scheduled.

Prosecutors said the pair had been in custody since 3 a.m. Saturday. Surveillance video from the nearby VFW hall, where Cook County Sheriff's Police officer Cuauhtemoc Estrada was slain late Friday, helped lead authorities to the men.

Thornton, authorities said, had a distinctive jacket that detectives recognized from seeing around town.

Both men have previous criminal records, but nothing that rises to the level of murder, said Andre Harvey, Bellwood's Director of Public Safety.

Estrada, 50, was fatally shot outside of a family Christmas party at the VFW Bellwood Memorial Post 5081, while trying to stop the armed robbery of his daughter's boyfriend. Family members said Estrada confronted two masked men with a large gun who were robbing his daughter's boyfriend outside of the party.

Police said Jackson shot Estrada in the chest when the off-duty officer reached for his weapon. It was not clear whether Estrada was carrying a service weapon or a personal one.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Estrada was a former U.S. Marine and a 20-year veteran of the department. He worked in the department's electronic monitoring unit, according to sheriff's spokesman Ben Breit.

"It's horribly sad for everybody," Dart said. "He was an amazing person."

"Wonder Girl" Patient Honored


We all remember “Batkid,” Miles Scott, the 5-year-old who saved San Francisco, aka “Gotham City.” Now, it's time for “Wonder Girl” to come to the rescue of another Bay Area town, Vallejo.

Her real name is Monika Romo. The 10-year-old said she watched Batkid’s San Francisco adventure and never thought she’d get a day of her own.

But Monika’s not battling villains. She’s trying to save the city of Vallejo by sharing her own story about her battle with leukemia.

“I think it's really nice that people would do something like this,” said Monika Romo, aka “Wonder Girl.”

PHOTOS: Wonder Girl to the Rescue

Thursday, Romo visited schools and other institutions throughout the morning as part of a special day organized by her family, Supporting Our Cancer Kids, a Solano County support organization for children with cancer, and the community group Vallejo Together.

Monika’s name was kept secret until Thursday so the special day would be a surprise to her.

Maria Guevara, an organizer with Vallejo Together, said Monika -- known Thursday as Wonder Girl -- wrote an essay last month about how to save Vallejo from "evil villains." She read the essay to the crowd that gathered Thursday morning in front of Vallejo City Hall.

She is sharing her ideas on how to protect the city and how she has transformed into a superhero throughout her battle with cancer.

“We've had so much support from Day 1 from everybody,” said Alejandra Romo, Monika’s mother. “The school has been part of our family…it's been awesome.”

Monika started the morning at Pennycook Elementary School, where her classmates did a flash mob in her honor, and then headed to Vallejo High School. She then made her way to Vallejo City Hall and the California Maritime Academy before returning to Pennycook Elementary for a noontime event with Hogan Middle School students.

She was given the key to the city, a laptop, and a watch, in addition to numerous awards.

Guevara said the day is about including all generations of Vallejo in the discussion of strengthening their community.

PHOTOS: San Francisco's Batkid Saves Gotham

Attendees of the various events were asked to wear superhero costumes and T-shirts, organizers said.

Monika says Wonder Woman has always been her favorite superhero. Her mom says Monika’s leukemia is in remission, but she is still undergoing treatment.


Bay City News contributed to this report.

Route 8 South Reopens After Crash in Shelton


Route 8 southbound has reopened between exits 12 and 11 in Shelton following a crash.

The accident was reported around 7:30 p.m. Saturday and the highway was shut down while emergency officials worked to clear the scene.

State police and Shelton fire personnel responded to the crash.

It's not clear if anyone was injured or how many cars were involved.

Check back for updates.

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Fire Damages Home in Stratford


A home on Emerald Place in Stratford is destroyed after it went up in flames Sunday evening.

Firefighters responded to 25 Emerald Place around 5:45 p.m. Sunday.

The Bridgeport Fire Department provided mutual aid and said the call initially came through for a location on Emerald Street, which is in Bridgeport.

Bridgeport fire officials said they arrived at the same time as the Stratford fire chief and provided an engine and a truck. The Stratford Fire Department sent three engines, a ladder and other equipment, according to the company's Facebook page.

The home is significantly damaged and the fire seemed to be concentrated in the attic, according to fire personnel.

A Red Cross spokesperson said the organization is helping two adults who were displaced.

It's not clear if anyone was injured.


Photo Credit: Stratford Fire Department

Thieves Steal Kids' Christmas


A group of burglars used a doggie door to break into a Southern California family’s home, steal children’s piggy banks and presents from under the Christmas tree and make off with an ornate urn holding the ashes of their grandparents.

The brazen theft happened the afternoon of Dec. 20 in the 900 block of North Madison Avenue, a quiet, tree-line street in Pasadena. Police in the city said they’ve seen thieves use doggie doors to break into homes before, but not recently.

Once inside, the thieves ransacked Griffin Gmelich’s home.

The thieves emptied stockings, ripped ornaments off the tree, and snatched jewelry and electronics. One was caught on camera hauling what appeared to be a flat-screen TV.

Caught on Camera: Top Surveillance Videos of 2013

“You could see the TV cords ripped out of the wall,” Gmelich said.

His young children’s piggy banks were stolen and their presents were plucked right out from under the Christmas tree. But most painful, Gmelich said, is that the thieves took the urn holding his parent’s ashes.

“They literally stole my mom and dad," he said.

The thieves left behind footprints and fingerprints. A neighbor’s security camera captured images of the thieves. For two hours, they carried stolen items out of the home and into a getaway car. Detectives are searching for four burglars, possibly teens.

The family said they wanted to share their story not for donations but to see justice served and warn others.

Gmelich said the doggie door the thieves used to break into his home belongs to his 100-pound Guffman, who, despite what his size may suggest, is more of a lover than a fighter.

“Once they got in, he probably befriended them because he's a friendly guy,” Gmelich said of his dog.

Days before Christmas, the family is dealing with unwanted changes. They’re now installing an alarm system and Guffman’s doggie door is being sealed.

Caught on Camera: Jewelry Thief Snatches $85K Bracelet

But most heartwrenching, Gmelich said, is how his family’s peace of mind was stolen and his children’s holiday spirit dampened.

“They don’t understand,” he said. “The spirit of Christmas? It’d odd to them now.”

Photo Credit: Julie Heather

Several Injured in Serious Waterbury Crash


Several people are injured following a serious two-car crash in Waterbury early Sunday morning.

It happened around 3:30 a.m. Sunday when two cars collided near the intersection of Cherry Street and North Elm Street in Waterbury.

As many as six people were inside the cars, many of which are listed in critical condition, according to police. Some were taken to Saint Mary's Hospital, others to Waterbury Hospital.

The victims have not been identified.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Doctor to Examine Brain Dead Teen


Faith leaders are rallying around the family of Jahi McMath, demanding not just answers, but an investigation into Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

Jahi is the 13-year-old girl who underwent tonsil surgery two weeks ago and was later declared brain dead. She is on a ventilator for now, and her family is hoping for a Christmas miracle.

A temporary restraining order that is keeping the girl on a ventilator expires Monday, the same day an independent doctor is set to evaluate Jahi’s condition.

MORE: Battle to Keep Oakland's Jahi McMath on Life Support Goes to Court

On Tuesday, that family-approved doctor is expected to present his conclusion to a judge. In the meantime, faith leaders accuse the hospital of gross insensitivity, based on claims that doctors made callous statements to the family.

"Whether he or she be a doctor or administrator, when he says, 'she’s dead, dead, dead and we want the court to say no, no no,' it represents a lack of sensitivity," said Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Sr. Pastor of First AME in Oakland.

A hospital spokesman denies that those words were ever spoken but said doctors did make it clear that in their opinion, Jahi is dead.

“As medical professionals, it is our responsibility to ensure that we don’t create hope where there is none. When one’s brain ceases to function, it never restarts," the chief of pediatrics said in a statement issued Sunday.

Pastor Cheryl Ward of Cheryl Ward Ministries said she disagrees.

"We believe God, that God has the final answer, plug pulled and all, that God will give the final answer to what happens in Jahi’s life," she said.

On Sunday night, a group of faith leaders sent a letter to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’ Malley requesting a formal investigation of the hospital and what happened to Jahi.

They are also accusing doctors and administrators here of being insensitive to Jahi’s family.

Church members gathered outside Children’s Hospital Sunday praying for a miracle that 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who doctors say is brain dead and has no chance of waking up, will do the impossible.

"It makes me feel better because they believe as I do that God has the final say in what happens to my daughter," Jahi's mother Nailah Winkfield said. "And the doctors don’t know everything because if they did, my daughter wouldn’t be brain dead right now."

In an open letter released this weekend, Jahi’s mother says her daughter responds to her touch and still feels warm.

She said, given time, she believes God will wake her daughter up.

“And when she does wake up, she’s going to shake up a whole lot of people that didn’t believe what I believe," Winkfield said. "I swear she will."

The hospital said it is committed to investigating what went wrong in Jahi’s case.

Jahi’s family has organized a march tomorrow, starting at 10 a.m. at the hospital.

They are asking everyone to wear purple, Jahi’s favorite color.

Robbery at I-95 Rest Stop in Madison


Two masked men armed with handguns robbed the McDonald's at the rest stop on the southbound side of I-95 in Madison on Monday morning.

The two men, wearing ski masks, came into the McDonald's restaurant around 3:30 a.m., according to police.  The rest stop is located between exits 62 and 61 on I-95 South.

There were four employees in the restaurant, but no customers at the time of the robbery.

Three employees sustained minor injuries during the robbery, police said.  They were taken to the Guilford Shoreline Clinic, where they were treated and released.

State police K-9 teams responded to the scene, but were unable to locate the men involved.

Anyone who may have witnessed anything in the area of the McDonald's is asked to call State Police Troop F in Westbrook at 860-399-2100.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

PR Exec Apologizes for AIDS Tweet


A former public relations executive issued an apology Sunday for what she called a "needless and insensitive tweet" about AIDS that took the Internet by storm over the weekend.

"There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis," Justine Sacco said in a statement to NBC News. "Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand."

Sacco, who revealed in her written apology that she was born in South Africa, added that she was "ashamed" for being insensitive to the AIDS crisis on her home continent.

The New York-based executive for InterActiveCorp was fired after she sent a controversial tweet that sparked a firestorm of responses online.

"Going to Africa," Sacco tweeted before she boarded the flight. "Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

While Sacco was up in the air, the public took to Twitter to express their outrage. One Miami woman reportedly started the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet, which started trending worldwide. Buzzfeed, among the first online blogs to break the story, reported on Saturday that her name was tweeted more than 30,000 times and the hashtag appeared nearly 100,000 times.

Aids for Africa, a NGO that promotes AIDS awareness, even bought the domain www.justinesacco.com and used it to redirect visitors to the organization's fundraising page.

When Sacco's plane landed at about 11:20 p.m. ET, the tweet had been deleted, along with her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, according to Buzzfeed.

Sacco's employers at IAC fired her for the tweet and issued a statement on Saturday that said, "there is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally."

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Man Arrested After Incident at South Windsor Target


A man is facing several charges after an incident inside the Target in South Windsor.

Andrey Desmond, 20, of New Britain, began yelling in the Target on Buckland Road on Saturday, police said.

Employees told officers Desmond also smashed a bottle of juice on the floor and slapped a cell phone out of a customer's hand, police said. Target staff members had no idea what set Desmond off.

He ran from the store, but police dogs tracked him down in a wooded area nearby a short time later.

Desmond was taken to the South Windsor Police department where he was combative and spit at officers during the booking process, police said.

He is charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer. He was held on a $4,000 bond and is scheduled to be in Manchester Superior Court on Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Fire Breaks Out at Guilford Waterfront Property


Fire officials are responding to a house fire on Great Harbor Road near Shell Beach in Guilford.

Guilford police and the Madison Fire Department is providing mutual aid. The Branford Fire Department fire boat is also on scene helping with water suppy issues.

The house is a total loss, according to a local firefighter. No one was home when the fire broke out. Neighbors saw the flames and called 911.

Check back for updates.


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Photo Credit: Viewer Photo

Driver Had Drugs in System at time of Farmington Crash: Cops


The man married to the cousin of Aaron Hernandez, who died it a high-speed crash in Farmington in June, had drugs and alcohol in his system, according to police.

Toxicity tests done on 33-year-old Thaddeus Singleton III found cocaine, Oxycodone and alcohol in system at the time of his death, police said.

Singleton was the driver of a car that slammed into the Farmington Country Club on June 30. He died in the crash.

Singleton was married to Hernandez's cousin and lived with Hernandez's uncle, Andres Valderamma, in Bristol, according to authorities.

A woman who was in the car with Singleton, Tabitha Perry, survived the crash, but died earlier this month. Police found Perry unresponsive after receiving a 911 medical call at 25 Darling Street around 3 a.m. on Dec. 16. She was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after. Police found no suspicious circumstances and detectives are waiting on a toxicology report to determine how she died.

Hernandez, a Bristol native and former New England Patriot, has been indicted in the murder of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old Massachusetts man who was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

New Haven Officers Take Community Policing to Heart


New Haven Police Officers Elizabeth White and Allyn Wright have been walking the beat ever since they joined the force nearly two years ago.

“We were one of the first classes that came out under the new whole community policing concept. Right off of FTO, we started walking up in Brookside, before people even moved into Brookside,” said Officer White.

As each person moved in, the officers introduced themselves and started building relationships.

“We started off in the summer. We bought ice cream off the ice cream truck. The parents started to feel more comfortable with us. It's all through the kids,” said Officer Wright.

The officers say that focus on the children is what really solidified their place at Brookside and in Westville Manor.

“The kids have helped us a lot. It's usually easier. The kids like the police more than the adults do. Once you get a relationship with the kids and then their parents see how much they like you, the relationship you have with their children, it opens the parents up to you,” said Officer White.

Because the challenge the officers face is trying to build trust between the community and the police.

“Not everyone wants to talk to you, not everyone wants their kids around you, so it's just gaining their trust,” said Officer Wright.

It’s also about being there when they need it most. In October, a 21-year-old man was shot in front of the children on the playground at Westville Manor.

“I was on extra duty, so I came out here. He was home. We both came up,” said Officer White.

The idea is to show the neighborhood they are the two officers who Brookside and Westville Manor can count on.

“We have a great relationship with the people up there. It's nice, you feel like it's home,” said Officer White.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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