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Suspect in SF Body Parts Case Dead


Mark Andrus, the 59-year-old man arrested and later released on suspicion of murder in the grisly case of a dismembered body found in a suitcase in San Francisco, died Saturday, the San Francisco Public Defender's Office confirmed Sunday.

The San Francisco Police Department would not comment on the death, stating that "Mr. Andrus is a free man," and is "not in police custody."

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office said last week there was insufficient evidence to charge Andrus on suspicion of murder in the case.

Andrus was arrested on Jan. 30 and booked at the San Francisco County Jail. After his release from jail Tuesday, he was escorted by Jeff Adachi, his public defender. Adachi said that since Andrus did not have a place to live, his office would be helping him find a place to stay. "We will help place him in a hotel," Adachi said. "We will assist him with re-entry — he's been in jail three to four days."

Officers detained Andrus last month at the Sala Burton Manor apartment building, located at 430 Turk Street, less than a mile from where the suitcase with a headless human torso was found Police said they received a tip from an anonymous caller reporting that the person of interest in a photo SFPD released Friday was staying at the apartment building.

The suitcase was found on 11th Street near Market, just one block from Twitter's headquarters. Police then made another gruesome discovery shortly after when they uncovered more body parts within a three-block radius.

The San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner's office confirmed the human body parts were those of an unidentified light-skinned male. The medical examiner is still working to identify the victim.

Police and the District Attorney's Office said last week they would continue to investigate the case and work to find information that proves a link between Andrus and the body in the suitcase.

NBC Bay Area's Dave Elkinson, Jean Elle, Mark Matthews and Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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Newborn Girl Found Behind Wall


A homeless man is being credited with saving the life of an hours-old infant who was found crying in a patch of grass at dawn Sunday in Lakewood.

Mark Blevins said he heard a baby crying while he was scavenging for cans and food in a shopping center at Lakewood Boulevard and Hardwick Street.

When he found the girl, wrapped in a blanket, he didn't know what to do as the streets were empty at that the time of the morning.

"I was scared," Blevins said.

He went to his friends at their homeless encampment for advice. He hopped on his bike, cradling the newborn in his arm as he rode to a nearby fire station. Firefighters took the girl to Long Beach Memorial Hospital to be checked, deputies said.

Detectives went to the area where Blevins found the baby and that's where they met the infant's mom, who told detectives she helped deliver the baby.

"She appeared to be coming back to check on the baby," said Victoria Virosteck, who is also homeless in the area and has seen the woman who deputies believe is the mother.

The 35-year-old mother is now receiving medical and psychiatric care.

"Maybe she didn't even realize she was pregnant and then she started to give birth," Virosteck said.

Anyone with information pertaining to the investigation is asked to call 562-623-3500 or 800-222-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Jane Yamamoto

Business Buries Woman's Car in Snow


As if nature hadn't dropped enough snow on New England so far this year, one Boston resident says that a local business is making a difficult winter much worse for her.

Amanda Duquette says that multiple times this season, the owner of South Boston Auto Car & Truck Repair has moved the snow from its lot onto her car, completely burying it.

Living in South Boston, Duquette is used to battling the snow and parking problems. But after leaving her car parked on East 2nd Street before the first storm, she says she returned a few days later to find her car gone.

"You couldn't even see it," she said. "I thought I'd been towed."

Duquette says the car was buried under a snow bank about eight feet high, left there, she says, by the business owner.

She says she has since cleared her car out multiple times, each time returning to find it reburied.

"He shouldn't be able to just do this and have people suffer through it," said Duquette.

Other neighbors say they have also witnessed the business owner repeatedly dumping snow from his property onto city streets, sidewalks and cars.

"Every storm, he does this," said Heather Ward. "It's not anything different."

A video taken by a neighbor purportedly shows someone snowblowing the snow onto the cars and sidewalks. Another video even apparently shows a shoveler moving snow neighbors say the company threw into the street. That shoveler appears to be moving the snow into a shoveled-out parking space.

Initial attempts to reach the business owner were unsuccessful. NECN eventually got in touch with him, and he denies the allegations.

Boston Public Works Commissioner Mike Dennehy says the city is aware of the situation.

"I'm familiar with the address," he said. "It's blatantly being pushed."

Dennehy says code enforcement has visited the business at least twice this winter, each time issuing a $200 fine. But he says, right now, that is the only action they can take.

"Barring parking an officer there and waiting for them to try tomorrow when it happens again, I don't know if there's any recourse that we can do."

Mayor Walsh tells NECN that it is the first station to be made aware that he is looking to address the situation. He says he met with his policy committee this week and is trying to figure out ways to increase those fines.

Photo Credit: NECN

Hernandez Trial Delayed Due to Snow


Court proceedings in the murder trial against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez have been canceled Monday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court confirmed Sunday afternoon.

With approximately two feet of snow expected to fall on much of New England, the trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

Hernandez is charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd back in 2013.

Photo Credit: AP

Hartford Preps for Another Storm


In what is becoming an almost weekly ritual, people in Hartford had to move their cars off city streets Sunday.

With more snow on the way, the city issued another parking ban. It will last from 12:01am Monday until 6:00am Tuesday.

Cars left parked on the street can be towed and owners face a fee and fine of nearly $200.

“We really need compliance. We really need people to get their cars off the streets so our plows can do what they got to do throughout the duration of this storm,” says Deputy Chief Brian Foley, Hartford Police.

Police are hoping to avoid a repeat of the past couple storms.

Between the Blizzard of 2015 and the storm after the Super Bowl, a total of more than 700 cars were towed in Hartford for not following the bans.

Police say it’s even more important now to follow the rules.

“Our roads are tough. We have a lot of snow out there. A lot of snow piled up on the side of the road. The snow banks are starting to be ominous out there and it’s starting to affect how our plows can get down the street,” says Foley.

People who do not have an off-street place to park are encouraged to head to the following locations:

  •  Morgan Street Garage
  •  2 Holcomb Street Lot
  •  Keney Park Entrance Lot—Ridgefield Street
  •  KDA Center Lot—Naugatuck Street
  •  Pope Park Center Lot—Park Terrace
  •  Metzner Center Lot—Franklin Avenue
  •  Colt Park Lot—Wawarme Avenue
  •  Elizabeth Park Lots
  •  All Hartford Schools Parking Lots

People who have their cars towed can find where it was towed to by clicking here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Middletown Business Hurt by Snowy Weather


The waves of wintry weather during these past few weeks are taking a toll on business owners in Middletown.

“We’re very tired of these storms. We’ve had what feels like more than our share,” says Neal Marianiello, owner of New England Emporium.

The eatery is usually filled with people ordering homemade crepes, panini, and burgers.

But Marianiello says all the snow piling up outside has cut down on the number of customers inside his restaurant. He estimates sales have been down up to thirty-percent.

“We rely on foot traffic and any time there is actual snow people stay away and even the forecast of snow keeps people away,” says Marianiello.

There is on-street parking outside the eatery but these spots cannot be used during parking bans.

Marianiello says he's had to cut back on staffing, but he’s not waiting until spring for customers to return.

“We’re thinking about running some discounts in these winter months to try and bring people, entice them to come in,” says Marianiello.

Tina’s Fine Lingerie & Swimwear, another business in the area closed early due to the parking ban that started at 6p.m.

One of the owners says between the bans and all the snow they’ve had to close their doors up to five days.

“That’s a lot. That’s a lot. You average over 7 days you lost one day every week,” says Tina Fine, co-owner of Tina’s Fine Lingerie & Swimwear.

Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew says these parking bans are a balance between trying not to inconvenience people too much but also trying to get the roads cleared as quickly as possible.

As of now, they are not sure how long the parking ban which started Sunday night will last.

Car Slams Into Apartment Building


A car crashed into an apartment building in West Haven Monday morning.

An SUV slammed into the Washington Garden Apartments on Washington Avenue.

No one was seriously injured in the crash.

Residents were outside surveying the damage and covering a front window that was smashed in the accident.

Police responded after receiving a report about a vehicle that hit the building.

A crime unit is investigating the crash. It's unclear if it was weather-related or there was another cause, but the roads were slick in the area Monday morning.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Madison Car Fire Closes Lanes on I-95 South


A car fire on Interstate 95 south in Madison has closed lanes in the exit 61 area.

State police have opened the shoulder so traffic can get by. The highway was closed earlier.

There was also a crash near exit 2 and 3 on I-95 in Greenwich earlier in the morning that has since been cleared and all lanes are open in that area.

There is no word on injuries for either crash.

Photo Credit: DOT

New Britain Fire Displaces Families


Residents are displaced after a fire broke out at a six-family home in New Britain early Monday morning.

The fire was on the second floor of 99 Gold St.

Everyone made it out safely, but a cat belonging to one of the families may be missing, according to a woman who lived in the home. The building is unlivable.

The narrow street and snowy weather created difficulties for crews.

There was a fire on the third floor in the building a few weeks ago and firefighters suspected arson for that incident, but it's still under investigation, the woman said.

Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the most recent fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Families Displaced After Condo Fire


Families have been displaced after a fire broke out at a condo complex in Torrington early Monday morning.

Crews responded to the blaze at 601 Essex Court after receiving a call about it at about 2:20 a.m.

"When we arrived on scene we saw fire showing from the street side of this exterior, fire was inside the walls of this dwelling," Christopher Pepler, Torrington deputy fire chief, said.

Smoke was pouring out of the corner unit.

Authorities say it couldn't have come at a worse time, as the weather hampered efforts to get the stubborn fire under control.

”It was pretty difficult, the weather gave us some challenges. We waited a little longer than usual to get our resources on scene," Pepler said. "As you can see here there’s a lot of snow on the ground and roads were treacherous for our companies to get to this location.”

No one was injured, but Garrit Cerruto, one of the residents displaced, said there's a lot of damage inside.

"Unfortunately they took me through," Cerruto said. "We have no walls, ceilings, or floors on the 2nd and 3rd levels."

Cerruto said he lost a lot of family photos and other irreplaceable items, but is happy he escaped the fire with his wife and 20-month-old son, who were sleeping on the top floor when the flames broke out.

The neighbors who lived in the unit where the fire started credit smoke detectors for saving their lives.

It's unclear how many people were displaced.

Torrington, Harwinton, Drakeville, Burville and Litchfield fire departments responded.

The fire marshal said that it will be difficult to determine the cause of the fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Flight Cancellations at Bradley International Airport


Bradley International Airport has multiple flight cancellations Monday during the snowstorm.

There were 36 arrival cancellations and 52 departures were canceled just before 5 a.m.

Check with your airline for the latest information on your flight status.

Snow Causes Problems on Roads


Snow that coated the roads overnight is causing problems on the roads for the morning commute.

AAA crews have responded to 48 emergency calls for road service in the Greater Hartford area and eastern Connecticut.

"The most common call so far today has been for vehicle extrications—when a vehicle goes off the road or gets stuck in the snow and we have to get it unstuck," AAA officials said in a news release.

AAA advises drivers to clear cars off before hitting the roads per state laws and to clear driveways so emergency vehicles can reach you, abide by road closures, stick to major roads if possible because they will likely be clearer and treated with salt, avoid passing by plows, leave at least 8 to 10 seconds of following distance between you and the car in front of you, accellerate and brake more slowly and to avoid using cruise control.

If you do run into trouble driving, pull of the road as far away from traffic as possible onto level ground, stay in your car and call AAA for help at 1-800-AAA-HELP or visit AAA.com/ERS, according to AAA. You can also request roadside assistance through the mobile app.

I-95 south was closed for a couple hours around 3 a.m. in Milford due to a multi-vehicle crash at exit 39A. There was another crash in Greenwich on I-95 north at exits 2-3 that closed some lanes. Both of those crashes have been cleared. A car and tractor-trailer were blocking the right shoulder in Greenwich near exit 6 just after 4 a.m. There was also a car fire in I-95 south in Madison that has the lanes closed near exit 61, but state police have opened up the shoulder so traffic can get by.

There was a rollover crash on I-91 south at exit 23 in Rocky Hill and a tractor trailer was disabled in that area just after 4:30 a.m. There was also a disabled vehicle on route 2W near exit 10 in Glastonbury just after 7:30 a.m.

There were also multiple spinouts, including several on the curve near exit 25A on I-84 in Waterbury, as well as in Vernon on I-84 near exit 64, in Milford on I-95 south near exit 38 to the Wasson connector, in East Hartford near Main and Willow streets, Meriden on I-691 west near exit 8 for Route 5 and  Manchester at I-384 west near exit 3. 

For more information, visit our traffic page and follow NBC Connecticut traffic reporter Heidi Voight on Twitter (@HeidiVoight).

Photo Credit: DOT

Woman Bit Off Finger Other Woman’s Finger: Police


A woman bit off part of another woman’s finger in Middletown on Sunday evening, according to police.

The assailant is dating the father of the other woman’s daughter, according to police, and the attack happened while exchanging custody of the girl.

Police responded to Middlesex Hospital at 4:40 p.m. on Sunday to meet with an assault victim who identified Veronica Hernandez, 30, of Middletown, as the attacker, according to the arraignment report.
Police said the assault happened while they were exchanging custody of the girl and Hernandez scratched the woman’s face and bit through the victim’s bone.

The victim will need surgery, but will never again grow a nail on that finger, police said.

When police spoke with Hernandez, she admitted that there was an altercation, but denied biting the victim’s finger. She never tasted blood in her mouth, she told officers, and had no idea how the other victim sustained the injury.

Hernandez was charged with first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and breach of peace.

She was held on $25,000 bond and is due in court on Monday.

Woman Accused in Purse Snatching at Mondo in Middletown


Middletown police have arrested a woman accused of a purse snatching at Mondo Restaurant in Middletown on Sunday night.

Police responded to the restaurant at 10 Main Street at 7:13 p.m. and met with the victim, who said her purse had been strapped around a barstool and she noticed it was gone around 35 minutes later.

She suspected a woman who had been sitting near her stole the purse, a Prada bag worth $3,500 that contained $300 in cash, as well as two small wallets worth around $150 each, credit cards and a debit card.

Police later questioned Jennifer Ann Norelus, 33, of Manchester, who admitted to being at the restaurant, but denied stealing the purse, police said.

The restaurant manager gave police access to surveillance, which they said showed Norelus go into the restaurant at 6:55 p.m., take off her coat, place it over the back of the stool, then sit down, police said.

The victim came in around 10 minutes later and sat behind Norelus, who got up around 10 minutes later, stood behind the victim and appeared to take the purse off the back of the school and hide it under her coat, police said.

Surveillance from another angle showed what appeared to be the purse under the coat, police said.
Norelus has not been wearing a coat when she left the restaurant, even though it was 17 degrees and snowing, police said, so they asked her why and she said she was “in a rush to meet a friend.”

The whereabouts of the purse are not known.

Police said Norelus had been released from York Correctional the day before after posting bond and has been charged with third-degree larceny in this case. She is being held on $1,000 surety bond.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Snow Totals for Feb. 9


Here is a look at the current new snow totals since Saturday.

These totals are unofficial observations in the last 36 hours as reported to the National Weather Service and NBC Connecticut.

  • Andover: 5.5 inches
  • Avon: 5.3 inches
  • Brookfield: 2.2 inches
  • Burlington: 5.5 inches
  • Colebrook: 6.3 inches
  • Columbia: 3.6 inches
  • Coventry: 3.5 inches
  • East Hartford: 5.5 inches
  • East Killingly: 3.5 inches
  • Enfield: 4.8 inches
  • Hartford: 7 inches
  • Manchester: 3.2 inches
  • New Britain: 6.2 inches
  • New Hartford: 6.1 inches
  • Newington: 6 inches
  • North Granby: 5.4 inches
  • North Grosvenordale: 3.5 inches
  • Pomfret: 2.5 inches
  • Prospect: 4.3 inches
  • Shelton: 1 inch
  • Southington: 7.1 inches
  • Staffordville: 4.5 inches
  • Tolland: 4.5 inches
  • Vernon: 4.3 inches
  • West Hartford: 4.3 inches
  • Wethersfield: 3.2 inches
  • Windsor: 2.5 inches
  • Windsor Locks: 3.1 inches
  • Winsted: 3.5 inches

If your town is not on the list, comment below and tell us how much snow you have.

See snow totals for Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties.

Students Protest UConn Decision to Stay Open in Snow


The University of Connecticut was among the colleges and universities that stayed open despite the snow Monday, and students said snowy sidewalks and slippery roads made it difficult – if not impossible – to get to class.

UConn opened late, at 10 a.m., a decision that sent many students to social media in protest. A number of students and parents also reached out to NBC Connecticut with complaints.

"I think it's kind of ridiculous. I mean, I know a lot of other places around here are closed, and as you can see, the roads are horrible," explained UConn student Alex Pollio. "I just had a class and five people were in it."

University officials said more than 75 percent of students live on campus and walk rather than drive to class. But snow-covered sidewalks posed serious problems in places like Hilltop Apartments, where students were forced into the street while trekking down the hill.\

"It's looking like it was a bad decision," said UConn student Reuben Pierre-Louis. "It looks like it's just going to keep getting worse and it doesn't look like it's even safe."

Snow plows carved out narrow travel lanes that left no room for two-way traffic, forcing cars to back up and move over when confronted with oncoming traffic.

"My friends who live off campus, I know a lot of them made the choice to stay and not come in today because it was pretty poor driving on the roads," said student Taylor Dubreuil.

UConn officials said snowy school days are par for the course in New England.

"While these storms are frustrating for all of us, these situations unfortunately are part of the landscape for a university in the Northeast in winter. UConn is no different today than many other universities that are open today after a delay, including Quinnipiac. Wesleyan, Yale, Trinity and many others also are open," UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said in a statement Monday.

Reitz said the university is mindful of commuter students and faculty members who may not have felt comfortable driving in.

"[We] recognize that employees and many students still drive to the campuses. We regularly remind them – as recently as last night, in fact – that they can decide against traveling to campus if they aren't comfortable, and that faculty must accommodate those students and employees can take their banked time without the need to ask in advance," Reitz said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Central Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University are all closed on Monday, as are the University of Hartford, Goodwin College, and many of the state's community colleges.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Stratford Police Arrest 3 in Heroin, Methadone Bust


Police arrested three suspects and seized more than 242 grams of heroin and liquid methadone in a lengthy investigation into narcotics activity in Stratford that began in September.

Paul Lee, 40, Jennifer Kelly, 32, and Gregorio Perez, 59, are facing narcotics charges.

After documenting multiple narcotics sales involving the suspects in Stratford and Bridgeport, police obtained a search warrant for the suspects' home at 144 Wade Street in Bridgeport. Working with a statewide narcotics task force and Bridgeport Police Department, Stratford police located Lee and Kelly in the house and discovered 214.5 grams of heroin in the home upon serving the warrant Jan. 18.

Police charged Lee and Kelly with sale of narcotics, specifically heroin, and held them on $100,000 and $50,000 bonds, respectively.

Kelly admitted to police that she hid the third suspect, Perez, at her 241 Meadows End Road house in Monroe so that he wouldn't be arrested after police tracked him down there on Jan. 28, police said. Stratford and Monroe police and Kelly responded to the house and police found him hiding inside.

Kelly was additionally charged with possession of narcotics, specifically methadone, and hindering prosecution. Police held her on an additional $200,000 bond.

Perez was charged with sales of narcotics, heroin, sales of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school and conspiracy to sell narcotics and was held in custody on a $500,000 bond. Lee also faces identical charges, as well as driving with a suspended license. Police held him on an additional $50,000 bond.

Police seized more than 242 grams of heroin and liquid methadone in total in the operation.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police Department

Newington Police Investigate 2 Weekend Armed Robberies


Newington police are investigating two armed robberies reported at local businesses over the weekend.

At 9:14 p.m. on Saturday, police responded to Family Dollar at 733 New Britain Avenue to investigate a robbery that had just occurred.

The clerk said the robber had a gun and described him as having blonde hair and wearing a long gray or tan coat, a baseball cap, and a ski mask. He left the area in a dark sedan.

At 6:18 p.m. on Sunday, police responded to a report of an armed robbery at Target, at 3265 Berlin Turnpike.

The robber in this incident also had a gun, police said. He is possibly in his early 50s and has long white and light brown hair, a full mustache and a slight beard, police said.

He was wearing a sweatshirt and jeans and had a baseball cap under the hood of the sweatshirt. He was seen getting into a dark mid-size sedan.

Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call Detective Shannon Gonzalez at 860-594-6217.

Move Cars From Hartford School Lots by 8 p.m.


The city of Hartford has lifted its parking ban as of 6 p.m. and cars parked at school lots must be moved by 8 p.m. so crews can clear them in time for school Tuesday morning.

“I want to thank residents for moving their cars off the streets. Compliance with the parking ban was very strong and this allowed DPW to plow effectively," Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said in a statement Monday. "Once the parking ban ends, it is important for residents to move their vehicles promptly from school lots so classes can resume tomorrow morning”

Residents whose vehicles are towed during the parking ban should call the Hartford Police Department at 860-757-4000. You can also find your towed car online.

The cost for retrieving a towed vehicle is $93.59 and an additional $99 ticket will be issued, which owners are responsible for paying before the answer date.

For a list of snow emergency parking and information on towed vehicles, visit the city website.

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