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State Police Investigate High School Soccer Coach


A high school soccer coach in Storrs is under police investigation.

State police said they started investigating Jeff Sirois, who also owns a local market and deli, after officials from E.O. Smith High School contacted them about an issue concerning the coach.

No additional information has been released on the nature of the investigation, but police said they have not made an arrest.

"I know he's coached girls' soccer for a number of years and the kids always enjoyed him as a coach, from what I understand," said Mike Okonuk, Sirois' neighbor in Lebanon.
Neither the school nor Sirois have commented on the investigation and the status of Sirois' employment with the school is not clear. He is not listed on the staff and faculty directory on the school Web site.
NBC Connecticut spoke with Sirois' wife, who confirmed that her husband is under investigation, and said it's "inappropriate," but added that she could not talk specifically about it.

"He's also a referee," Marilu Sirois said. "So soccer really is his life. I'm the soccer widow. It's been my nickname in his pool forever."

She also would not comment on her husband's employment with the school and said she had not been contacted by authorities.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Sandy Hook Elementary Dismissed After Bomb Threat


Sandy Hook Elementary School in Monroe, Connecticut, was evacuated Wednesday morning after a bomb threat was called in and students were dismissed around noon.

Supt. Dr. Joseph Erardi said at a public meeting Wednesday evening that a secretary took the call shortly after 9:30 a.m.

Due to the "uniqueness of the call," Erardi said, the school was evacuated to the Jockey Hollow building on campus around 10:45 a.m. and parents were notified through reverse 911 calls.

Teachers told students they were practicing an evacuation drill. The children were sent home at noon and parents were urged to disclose only the necessary details to their kids.

Erardi said teachers will acknowledge the early dismissal in school Thursday morning and will "make sure kids feel safe" but will not go into detail about the incident.

Officials did not elaborate on the phone call or the timing of the evacuation and dismissal. Town officials said in a statement Wednesday that the incident was considered "no threat-low threat," but the superintendent acted out of an abundance of caution. 

"All students and staff are safe," First Selectman Patricia Llodra said in the statement.

Students were brought to the neighboring Jockey Hollow school to await dismissal. The building and grounds were checked, and authorities found no evidence of an actual threat.

"Although there was little to no danger at any time with the alleged threat the decision was made to make sure that every precautionary step had been taken for the safety of the Sandy Hook staff members and students," Erardi said in a statement Wednesday. "This same decision would have been made for all other Newtown school."

Students from the Sandy Hook School have been going to classes in the former Chalk Hill School in Monroe since January 2013, weeks after a gunman killed 20 first graders and six staff members during a rampage in their Newtown school.

Police said the building in Monroe has been cleared for students to return at the start of the school day Thursday. No students are in danger, Erardi said.

The Newtown Recovery & Resiliency Team will provide counselors to parents and students who "experience emotional reactions and concerns" starting tomorrow between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 28 Trades Lane. Call 203-270-4612 for information on after-hours appointments.

Architects have designed plans to build a new school on the Newtown site, but construction has not started. It is expected to begin in spring 2015.

The investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Obama Surprises Diners at Chicago Steakhouse


President Barack Obama surprised diners at River North's RPM Steak Wednesday night during his Chicago visit, ahead of a planned speech and a campaign event for Gov. Pat Quinn.

The president is in the city for a closed-door fundraiser for Quinn at a downtown hotel and a speech on the economy at Northwestern University Thursday.

Obama's Wednesday night schedule was not released in advance, so diners were surprised when the president stopped in at the restaurant, located at 66 W. Kinzie St., for dinner.

He was joined by White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and longtime friend Marty Nesbitt, who is leading the search for Obama's post-presidential library.

The restaurant is owned by reality stars Bill and Giuliana Rancic.

Air Force One landed at 7:07 p.m. at Gary’s airport, instead of O'Hare International Airport. Obama was greeted by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, and after a few words with the pair, the president boarded a helicopter to Chicago.

The president is expected to spend the night at his Kenwood home and attend the campaign event for Quinn the next day.

Obama's speech at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management begins at 1:15 p.m. on the Evanston campus, according to a statement from the school.

The school notes his visit marks the first by a sitting president in 60 years. Obama received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Northwestern in 2006. 

“I am extremely pleased to announce that President Barack Obama will come to Northwestern’s campus in Evanston to make a major address about the economy and his plans to keep expanding opportunity for Americans,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said.

Obama is expected to leave the Chicago area on Thursday.

Michelle Obama will be in Chicago on Oct. 7 to support Quinn, and Hillary Clinton is expected on Oct. 8.

Quinn's campaign released a new radio ad Wednesday featuring the first lady lauding the governor's work on behalf of veterans and support for raising the minimum wage.

The big-name appearances may provide a welcome distraction for the Quinn campaign next week, when a state legislative committee is scheduled to hold hearings looking into the governor's troubled Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

Early voting begins Oct. 20.

Photo Credit: Paige Anderson

Ebola Patient Flew to Dallas Via DC


The patient diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas has been identified as a Liberian man named Thomas Eric Duncan, NBC News has confirmed.

He is believed to have flown to the United States via two United Airlines flights, first flying from Brussels to Washington, D.C., and then taking a connecting flight to Dallas-Fort Worth.

United said Wednesday that it believes the patient, whom it did not identify, flew from Brussels to Washington Dulles on Flight 951 on Sept. 20, and then, three hours later, from Washington Dulles to Dallas-Fort Worth on Flight 822 that same day.

The airline, reiterating what health officials have said, said that there was "zero risk of transmission" on any flight Duncan flew, because he didn't begin to show symptons until several days later.

The New York Times reported that Duncan may have become infected in Liberia on Sept. 15, when he helped carry his landlord's gravely ill daughter to the hospital. She died the next day.

Earlier this month, Duncan was completing an employment contract with a shipping company in Liberia's capital city of Monrovia. When that contract expired, he used a visa to travel to Dallas to visit family, well within the virus' 21-day incubation period.

Duncan arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20 and began showing symptoms on Sept. 24, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said Wednesday that Duncan sought medical care after 10 p.m. Sept. 25 and had only a low-grade fever and abdominal pain.

"His condition did not warrant admission. He also was not exhibiting symptoms specific to Ebola," the hospital said in statement Wednesday. "The patient returned via ambulance on Sunday, Sept. 28, at which time EMS had already identified potential need for isolation. The hospital followed all suggested CDC protocols at that time."

A specimen sent to a state lab in Austin confirmed Tuesday that Duncan had contracted Ebola. Those test results were then confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

In the days since Duncan left Liberia, his landlord's son, who had helped them carry his sister to the hospital, also died after a short, severe illness, the Times reported. Two other people in Liberia who may have had contact with the woman have also reportedly died.

Meanwhile, health officials in Dallas are monitoring as many as 18 people, including five children and an ambulance crew of three, who have been in contact with Duncan.

The schoolchildren and firefighters are all being isolated at home and will be monitored for 21-days from their date of exposure.

The four schools attended by the five students — Dan D. Rogers Elementary School, L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary School, Sam Tasby Middle School and Emmett J. Conrad High School — all remain open but will be thoroughly cleaned, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles said Wednesday.

None of those being monitored are currently showing any signs of Ebola, and state and federal health officials say no other suspected cases of Ebola exist in the United States.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Getty Images
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Babysitter Staged Plainfield Home Invasion: Police


Twenty-four hours after a Plainfield home was ransacked and a bedroom window broken, police said it was all a hoax – and the toddler's babysitter is to blame.

The babysitter is accused of looting the home on Juniper Lane in the Moosup Village of Plainfield while the 2-year-old was home sleeping Tuesday night.

Homeowner Ellen Demaio said the sitter stole prescription drugs and money.

Police said the babysitter was home with the 2-year-old when authorities arrived and told them she had been the victim of a targeted attack.

It turns out she was the attacker, according to police. The sitter, whose name has not been disclosed, broke a bedroom window and pillaged the home while the toddler was asleep.

Demaio said she was at a fair in Maine when police called and told her someone had broken in. It wasn't until later that she learned the babysitter was allegedly at fault.

Demaio said she trusted the sitter to watch her granddaughter, but instead, the woman damaged her property, stole money and prescription drugs and terrified the toddler.

"Everything was torn apart. Everything was pulled out of drawers," Demaio said, explaining the scene she arrived home to find. "The baby was screaming bloody murder, scared to death because she was awoken out of a sound sleep."

Medicine cabinets had been emptied and the toddler's belongings were strewn across the floor, according to Demaio.

"She heard glass crunching and she heard scuffling in the back of the house and voices," Demaio said, of her granddaughter.

She said she has spent the past 24 hours afraid the intruder might return, not knowing she had been deceived.

"I am absolutely furious. One part of me is so mad I can't even speak about it," Demaio said.

Police said the babysitter will face charges.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 Enfield Elementary Students Diagnosed With Enterovirus


Just a day after Enfield parents learned of a confirmed case of Enterovirus-D68 in the school district, a second elementary school student has been diagnosed with the virus.

Enfield Supt. Dr. Jeffrey Shumann said a student at Nathan Hale Elementary School on Taylor Road, which serves children in Kindergarten through second grade, is receiving treatment for Enterovirus and has been out of school.

A second case was confirmed Wednesday night in a 5-year-old at Henry Barnard Elementary School on Sherwood Manor. According to the girl’s parents, medical providers at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center diagnosed their daughter, Kylah Clark, with Enterovirus-D68 after she was hospitalized for wheezing and breathing problems.

Kylah attended school Monday and “was having a hard time breathing, a little bit,” according to her father, Ronald Clark. He said his daughter attended gymnastics practice that evening, then went to bed and woke up Tuesday morning in intense pain.

“When I woke up, I was screaming, crying, and I told my mom to take me to the hospital,” Kylah explained. Clark said his wife brought Kylah to CCMC around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

“They were looking for pneumonia. They did some tests, and ultrasound,” Clark explained. “Basically, they couldn’t figure out what it was for a while.”

He said the symptoms matched the eventual diagnosis.

“Part of this Enterovirus, they said, was a lot of aches and pains in different areas and her stomach was one of them,” Clark explained. “Her oxygen levels were very low, so the combination of everything just was rough.”

Kylah has since been treated and released, and school officials were informed of her diagnosis Wednesday night.

“Right now I am feeling a lot better,” Kylah said after leaving the hospital. She arrived home to find a big pink poster on her front door welcoming her home.

Shumann sent a letter home to parents Tuesday informing them of the first confirmed case.

"Enfield Public Schools has been notified of our first confirmed case of Enterovirus D68 infection (EV-D68)," the letter begins. "A case has been reported in your child's school."

"Good hygiene is your best defense against getting infected with Enterovirus," the letter continues, citing hand washing, avoiding contact with sick individuals and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Custodial staff spent sanitized the wing of the Nathan Hale school where the infected child usually studies, and school officials said other schools in the district have been disinfected as a precaution.

"It sounds like the virus is present, and we are doing everything we can to protect our schools," Shumann said.

Photo Credit: Ronald and Lesley Clark
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2 Injured in Vernon Crash: Police


Two people were injured in a crash that closed Dart Hill Road at the Vernon-South Windsor line for awhile on Thursday, according to South Windsor and Vernon police.

Police from Vernon and South Windsor responded to the crash, which happened in Vernon.

The road has since reopened.

Two people were transported to the hospital, according to Vernon police.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police

Mayor's Killing Ends Years of Abuse


The day Lyvette Crespo allegedly shot and killed her husband, Bell Gardens, Southern California, Mayor Daniel Crespo, at their condo, it ended 28 years of physical abuse against her and her son, a source close to the mayor's wife told NBC4.

During a domestic dispute in front of their son Tuesday, she grabbed Daniel Crespo's gun – the one he used as a probation officer – and opened fire, killing her husband, the source said.

Lyvette Crespo was detained Tuesday, but was released after questioning.

Police and prosecutors were not talking about the case on Wednesday.

The source close to Lyvette Crespo said the mayor abused his wife for years.

The abuse started as far back as the couple was together, but Lyvette kept the abuse secret, the source said.

She didn't seek medical attention for those cases nor report them to police.

It's unclear when the physical abuse started with the son, but had been ongoing for at least the last four years, the source said.

Bell Gardens police officials have no reports of domestic violence calls to the Crespo's Bell Gardens condo.

Crespo has been described by family and friends as a nice, generous and giving man. Some neighbors said there was no indication of violence at the home.

"He worked at the County Probation Department where he was helping young adults to better themselves. So he was always trying to find alternative ways to…you know, violence was not an option," friend Albert Bernal said.

He sat on the Bell Gardens City Council for 13 years before becoming mayor. A biography on the city’s website said Crespo married his high school sweetheart.

The city's Mayor Pro Tem Priscilla Flores said she is in shock.

She described him as a good person, his wife as quiet and nice and his children as ideal.

"As a colleague and a friend, I knew his heart was always in the right place," Flores said in a statement.

Friends of Crespo plan to hold a vigil at City Hall Friday evening. 

NBC4's Tena Ezzeddine contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: William Crespo

Man Charged in Car Break-Ins at South Windsor Gym


South Windsor police have arrested a man accused of breaking into cars at a local gym and then using stolen credit cards in Hartford.

Michael McCoy, 49, of East Hartford, is accused of burglarizing cars at L.A. Fitness on Buckland Road in July, police said.

Police identified McCoy as their suspect after detectives from the South Windsor Police Department obtained surveillance footage showing the stolen credit cards being used in Hartford.

McCoy has been in prison at Hartford Correctional Center since July 25, when he was charged with third-degree larceny, according to Department of Correction records.

McCoy was charged with three counts of burglary in the third degree, two counts of identity theft in the third degree, two counts of illegal use of a credit card and three counts of larceny in the sixth degree. The three arrest warrants were served at court on Wednesday morning.

McCoy was held at Manchester Superior Court on $100,000.00 surety bond and arraigned later Wednesday morning. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.

Standoff Over in Ellington


A five-hour standoff in Ellington is over and one person has been taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation, officials said.

Police and the SWAT team responded to 78 Crane Road in Ellington for what state police called a “standoff situation” after receiving a call at 6:05 a.m.

A man who had a gun and was not cooperating with police, officials said. By noon, the standoff was over and no one was injured, police said.

It was not clear if the man lives in the home or if he was inside or outside. 

The road was closed and buses were re-routed as emergency crews responded.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Senator to College: Drop Convicted Cop Killer From Commencement


U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is calling for a Vermont college to rescind its offer to a convicted cop killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, to address their fall 2014 graduates during its Oct. 5 commencement ceremony.

"I cannot fathom how anyone could think it appropriate to honor a cold-blooded murderer," The Pennsylvania Republican wrote in a letter to Goddard College interim President Robert Kenny. "What possible enlightenment can your students obtain from this man?"

Abu-Jamal, 60, is currently serving a life sentence at the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution in Frackville, Pa. for the 1981 murder of 25-year-old Philadelphia Officer Daniel Faulkner. 

Students in the fall 2014 graduating class selected Abu-Jamal, who is a 1996 Goddard College graduate, as their commencement speaker, according to a college spokeswoman. Abu-Jamal also hosts a radio show that airs on WGDR-WGDH Goddard Community Radio every Sunday.

The Goddard College president did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It is unclear if they will adjust the ceremony in response to the senator's letter.

School officials announced Abu-Jamal as the speaker Monday, explaining his remarks were prerecorded and the short video will roll during the ceremony.

"Choosing Mumia as their commencement speaker, to me, shows how this newest group of Goddard graduates expresses their freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that," Kenney said in a Goddard College news release Monday.

But Toomey disagrees, saying the dialogue sparked by including Abu-Jamal in commencement is a "slap in the face to Danny Faulkner's family, and to all of the law enforcement officers who risk their lives for us every day."

"Is there any crime so heinous that Goddard would not reward the perpetrator with a spot as commencement speaker?" Toomey asked. "This is not a question of free speech. It is a question of judgment and your school's basic sense of right and wrong."

"[What] lesson is Goddard teaching its students about their moral responsibilities, as members of a civil society, to their fellow citizens?" he continued. "Abu-Jamal has never apologized or expressed any regret for his heinous crime."

Celebrities like Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg and others have publicly expressed their support for Abu-Jamal, who has gained followers from around the world claiming he was the victim of a racist legal system.

Yet the politician points out that the killer's claims the jury was racist "has been rejected by multiple state and federal courts and is belied by the facts."

Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death, but prosecutors later agreed to a life term after a federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing, citing flawed jury instructions.

The commencement ceremony — one of 20 Goddard holds each  year — will begin at 4 p.m. Oct.  5 at the school's Haybarn Theatre at 123 Pitkin Road in Plainfield, Vermont. 

Goddard College is a liberal arts college with three locations -- Plainfield, Vermont; and Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington.

Contact Alison Burdo at 610.668.5635, alison.burdo@nbcuni.com or follow @NewsBurd on Twitter.

Photo Credit: AP

DNA Leads to Arrest in Home Burglary


Police have used DNA evidence to identify a suspect after someone broke into a North Haven home three years ago and stole $7,000 worth of jewelry.

A Middletown Avenue resident went to police in 2011 when she returned home from visiting her elderly mother in the hospital and found her door had been forced open.

Jewelry worth around $7,000 has been taken, police said.

Police obtained DNA evidence, which led them to Henry Carisio, 30, of Cheshire.

Carisio was arrested by warrant on Sept. 30 and charged with burglary and larceny. 

He is due in Meriden Superior Court on Oct. 16.

2 Suspects in Florida Roofing Scam Arrested in Connecticut


Milford, Connecticut police have arrested two people in connection with a roofing scam in Florida. The men are accused of working with others to steal more than half-a-million dollars in insurance claims after storms hit, but never repairing the victims’ roofs.

Officials in Florida said they have filed charges against five employees of Tampa-based NBRC Roofing Company, who are accused of organizing a $525,000 insurance fraud scheme that victimized almost 100 Florida homeowners.

The Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud in Florida learned that the suspects visited homeowners after a storm, convinced them they needed roof repairs and helped them file insurance claims.

The claims they filed gave NBRC the sole right to make the repairs and the assignment of benefits for the insurance claim, officials said.

But the employees stole money meant for subcontractors, never fixed the roofs and left homeowners with liens on their homes, according to Florida officials.

Police took 45-year-old Carlton Duncan, 45, of Tampa, into custody at the office of CTST Construction in Milford on Wednesday, according to Milford police.

New Haven police helped apprehend 36-year-old Frank Pureber III, 36, of Apollo Beach, Florida.

Dunko and Pureber were both brought to the Milford Police Department on outstanding arrest warrants from the Florida Department of Financial Services charging them with first-degree organized fraud greater than $50,000, a felony offense.

They were also charged as fugitives from justice and were each held on a $500,000 bond before their court appearances Thursday. Dunko and Pureber could each face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Florida officials said Stacy Lynn Dunko, of Tampa, Joel Samuel Deserio, of Tampa, and Alexander Josue Gomez, of Riverview, Florida, and three other people were also arrested.

Photo Credit: Milford Police Department

Baby Hoodies Recalled for Drawstring Hazard


Chantique’s Corp. is recalling Pure Baby Organic boy’s hoodies because the drawstring around the neck poses a strangulation risk.

The sweaters have red drawstrings that can become entangled or get caught on playground slides, hand rails, school bus doors or other moving objects posing a substantial strangulation hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

There were no reported injuries, according to the CPSC.

People who bought the hoodie should remove the drawstring from the garment or return it for a full refund.

The affected hoodies are solid gray with zipper front closure and were sold in toddler boy's sizes 2t to boy's size 3 for $62.

The hoodies were sold at children’s boutiques nationwide and other stores such as Elephant Ears, Pumpkin heads, Sprouts and on-line at www.nordstromrack.com from January 2014 through August 2014.

Consumers can call Chantique’s Corp at (213) 629-3222 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday or email at info@chantiquesshowroom.com for more information.

Connecticut Hospitals Prep for Ebola


Connecticut state health officials have been working to prepare if there were to be a case of Ebola in Connecticut and they are working with hospitals so they could identify and treat patients, according to the governor’s office.

This comes amid reports that the first person to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States was sent home from a Texas hospital and did not received proper treatment until his nephew called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to NBC News.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office released a statement on Thursday saying the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is low, but state Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen briefed him on the Ebola situation and staff from the Department of Public Health have received guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. 

“CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden reassured the public that by upholding strong health care infection control measures and public health practices, the U.S. can ‘stop Ebola in its tracks,’” Malloy said in a statement.  “Our state health department has been working and communicating with federal and state partners to ensure those strong measures and practices are in place here in Connecticut.”

The man diagnosed with Ebola in Texas traveled from Brussels to Washington, DC last month, then took a connecting flight to Dallas, according to reports and local health officials said there is no evidence that Connecticut residents are at risk.

“Based on everything presented on yesterday’s CDC briefing, I do not believe that the patient diagnosed in Texas puts Connecticut residents at higher risk,” Mullen said.  “We have expected that given the size of the West African epidemic, there would eventually be someone diagnosed in our country.”

Officials from the state Department of Health have asked Connecticut hospitals to ensure they can detect a patient with Ebola, protect healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient and respond in a coordinated fashion. 

The hospitals will have to fill out a detailed checklist for Ebola preparedness and return it to DPH later this month.

“Any acute care hospital in the state, by following well-defined, standard infection control measures and with the use of proper personal protection equipment, is capable of caring for an Ebola patient,” Mullen said in a statement.  “We would not need to designate particular hospitals to care a patient who is infected.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Armed Robbery Reported in Newington


Newington police are responding to the Gulf Station, at 129 Willard Ave., because an armed robbery was reported.

No additional information was immediately available.

"Handful" to be Monitored After Contact With Ebola Patient


Only a handful of the 100 or so people identified as having had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the Unites States, or his family's home, will need to be monitored for exposure to Ebola, health officials said Thursday.

Members of Duncan's household and healthcare workers who had been in contact with him were among those being monitored, said Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a conference call.

Not all of the 100 or so identified have been interviewed yet, and the CDC does not have a specific number of people who will be monitored, he said.

Dallas health officials are currently only looking at 18 people who have had close contact with Duncan, though Zach Thompson, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, said he expects that number to increase and that it may include a second diagnosis for Ebola.

"I would not be shocked if we see that second case, but to date there has not been any indication that any of the contacts that we have been tracking show any signs or symptoms," Thompson said. "The only close contact that we're aware of [with] this patient was with his immediate children and his wife. So now we're looking at close friends."

Officials are investigating Duncan's background and trip from Liberia. Liberian officials now say they intend to prosecute the 42-year-old for allegedly lying on his airport screening questionnaire before flying to the U.S.

Dallas County health officials have ordered four of his family members to stay home and to accept no visitors to prevent potential spread of the disease, according to a news release.

Officials expect the list of 100 "potential or possible contacts" to narrow as they "focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection," a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we're starting with this very wide net, including people who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient's home," spokeswoman Carrie Williams said in a statement. "The number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection." ​

Hospital officials, meanwhile, said they’re optimistic that Duncan, a Liberian national, will recover. He is listed in serious condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Duncan tested positive for Ebola less than two weeks after he arrived in the U.S. from Liberia, health officials confirmed Tuesday. He initially sought care at a hospital Sept. 25, shortly after showing symptoms, but was released. He returned Sept. 28 and was flagged as a potential Ebola case.

The timing has raised questions about why Duncan wasn't treated as a possible Ebola patient sooner, given his recent travel.

Duncan's nephew Josephus Weeks told NBC News he had reached out to the CDC out of fear that he might infect other people. He urged doctors to give Duncan the same experimental drugs credited with saving the lives of American aid workers, including Dr. Kent Brantly of Fort Worth.

"He's doing all right. He's in our prayers. We are really rooting on him," Weeks told NBC News. "I'm hoping that he can get the same kind of treatment that was given to the four other patients that survived, and that's my concern."

Officials Focus on Those Facing Exposure Risk

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson initially said that up to 80 people came into contact with Duncan or Duncan's family. A spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services later said they are "working from a list of about 100 potential or possible contacts and will soon have an official contact tracing number that will be lower."

Officials did not say whether Duncan was symptomatic during the interactions. Not all had close, physical contact. Officials previously confirmed that several school-age children came into contact with him.

Ten CDC officials are looking at Duncan's trip from Liberia to Dallas, which spanned more than 9,000 miles and included stops in Brussels and a major airport servicing the Washington, D.C. area. Officials said they'll determine whether fellow passengers need to be contacted.

Family Under Legal Order

After previously being told to stay home and isolated, Duncan's relatives could now face legal action if they don't comply.

Texas and Dallas County health officials issued a legal order requiring the four family members to stay home and not have any visitors until Oct. 19, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a news release.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Thursday that the four "were noncompliant with the request to stay home, " though he did not specify where they went.

“We have tried and true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease,” Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner, said in the release. “This order gives us the ability to monitor the situation in the most meticulous way.”

The order also requires the family to provide blood samples, agree to any testing required and immediately report any symptoms. The family members do not have symptoms at this time.

Symptoms include fever above 100.5 degrees, headache, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Texas law allows the health officials to issue such control measures. If a person does not follow these orders, they can be enforced by the courts, and the person can face criminal charges.

Dallas ISD Children Being Monitored

Five Dallas Independent School District children had contact with Duncan and are being monitored at home, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday, though the school district says they are not showing any symptoms.

Two students at Sam Tasby Middle School possibly came into contact with Duncan, and one student each at Dan D. Rogers Elementary, L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary and Emmett J. Conrad High School, according to DISD Superintendent Mike Miles.

The students are being advised to stay home and are being closely observed by the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department, the school district said in a news release.

"Since the students are not presenting any symptoms, there is nothing to suggest that the disease was spread to others including students and staff," it said.

The district has launched a recorded hotline to provide updates to parents. The hotline number is 972-925-5810. Parents can also visit www.dallasisd.org/healthupdates for information.

Nephew: Patient Not Properly Treated

Duncan's nephew Joseph Weeks said his uncle was not properly treated during his initial visit to a Dallas hospital.

Health officials acknowledged that Duncan was initially sent home from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital after complaining of fever and abdominal pain. He returned days later in an ambulance.

"I called CDC to get some actions taken, because I was concerned for his life and he wasn't getting the appropriate care," Weeks said. "I feared other people might also get infected if he wasn't taken care of."

Weeks said the CDC referred him to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, which took appropriate action. He added that he hoped "nobody else got infected because of a mistake that was made."

"I called the CDC and they instructed me of the process, and that got the ball rolling," Weeks said.

A CDC spokesman told NBC News the agency could not comment on Weeks' claim. The hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hospital officials said they'll review why Duncan was allowed to leave during his initial visit.

Neighbor Witnessed Patient Vomiting

Two days after initially being sent home from the hospital, neighbor Mesud Osmanovic said he saw Duncan vomiting on the ground outside an apartment complex in the 7200 block of Fair Oaks Avenue as he was loaded into an ambulance.

"His whole family was screaming," Osmanovic said. "He got outside, and he was throwing up all over the place."

Three paramedics took Duncan to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital by ambulance. At the time, though, they had no idea they were dealing with a patient with the Ebola virus.

“What our paramedics saw was this could be a contagious person, not knowing what it would turn into,” said Lieutenant Joel Lavender with Dallas Fire-Rescue.

The three paramedics are currently at home being monitored for 21 days. Health officials are also keeping a close eye on anyone who they have confirmed has been in contact with Duncan after he showed symptoms of the disease about a week ago.

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Arsonist Starts Fires in Yale University Bookstore


Police are searching for the person who set fire to the Yale University Bookstore in New Haven on Monday.

Surveillance footage shows the suspect to be a young, thin black man with glasses and closely cropped hair. He was wearing a blue polo shirt with a white vest over it, white pants and sneakers. It’s not clear if the suspect is a student at Yale.

According to police, the arsonist used a lighter to set several small fires in the bookstore around 1 p.m. Monday. The suspect was caught on surveillance video walking into the bathroom, then walking out and leaving the building. Shortly thereafter, a fire was discovered in the bathroom.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has any information on the fires is urged to call New Haven police detectives at 203-946-6304 or the New Haven police Arson Unit at 203-946-6230.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Teens Caught Burglarizing Norwalk Elementary School


Two Norwalk teens are facing charges after trying to steal 22 laptops from Kendall Elementary School early Thursday morning.

According to police, the school’s burglary alarm went off around 4 a.m. Officers arrived on school grounds to find burglary tools and a shopping left under an open window.

Police caught 18-year-old Makenzie Pellini and 19-year-old Matthew White trying to leave the school with 22 laptops, cash and other stolen items. Prior to entering the school, the pair broke into and stole from a car on Fillow Street, according to police.

The teens were both charged with third-degree burglary, fourth-degree larceny, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia within 1500 feet of a school, second-degree criminal trespass and conspiracy in connection with the school burglary.

They were additionally charged with third-degree burglary, fourth-degree larceny and conspiracy in the car burglary.

They were held on $15,000 bond. White appeared in court today and Pellini is due before a judge Oct. 10.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Truck Fire Closes Lanes of I-91 South in Wallingford: Police


Two lanes of Interstate 91 South are closed between exits 13 and 14 in Wallingford because of a tractor-trailer fire.

The middle and right lanes are closed after the cab of truck carrying lumber caught fire, police said.

The highway was shut down, but has since reopened.

State Police and the Wallingford Fire Department are at the scene.

The driver was not injured, police said, and the lumber did not catch fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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