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Court Says Teen Must Continue Chemo at Hospital


A teenager taken into Connecticut state custody and forced to undergo chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma against her wishes hoped of leaving the hospital to finish her treatments, but that will not happen.

The motion her attorneys filed was denied on Wednesday and Cassandra C., a 17-year-old Windsor Locks teen, will have to remain in the hospital until she finishes treatments later this month.

The teen, who has been away from home and under the care of the state since the second week of December, never wanted chemotherapy. She pushed back, missing doctor's appointments, and ran away from home, but lost in court and was forced to continue treatment.

Cassandra, who has since gone into remission, says she was willing to go along with chemotherapy but wanted to be reunited with her mother and finish the treatment plan at home.

According to doctors at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, where Cassandra is staying, the teen has an 85 percent chance of survival with chemotherapy.

DCF officials said in a statement in January that they were exploring options for Cassandra to live in a specialized group home when she was released from the hospital.

The state's highest court reviewed the case under an emergency appeal filed by attorneys representing Cassandra and her mother, taking up an issue previously decided by several other states – whether some minors are mature enough to make decisions about their own bodies.

The judges ultimately decided that Cassandra is not mature and needed to continue to receive chemotherapy. She turns 18 in September, a year after her cancer diagnosis.

Earlier this month, Cassandra testified in court through video conference from the hospital in hopes that she would be able to leave the hospital to finish her treatments. On Wednesday, the court denied the motion.

Joette Katz, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families released a statement in response to the decision.

"The Department is looking forward to the day later this month when Cassandra can happily return home after her treatment is completed and the doctors are confident that she has beaten the cancer. We know how difficult this has been for Cassandra and her family, and while we are very pleased with her response to the treatment, we also know this has been a traumatic and scary thing through which she has suffered. We want her to complete her treatment so that she can return home knowing she has put this completely behind her," Katz said in the statement.

Photo Credit: Cassandra C.

Bunnies Abandoned in Wallingford


Someone is dumping domestic bunnies in Wallingford for the second time in a matter of months, and animal control is trying to determine who is responsible.

Animal control picked up five bunnies at the Linear Trail in Wallingford on Thursday and said they look exactly like bunnies that were abandoned at West Side Park several months ago.

"They are obviously reproducing, and whoever is responsible needs to understand that domestic bunnies can not survive outside on their own," Wallingford Animal Control posted on Facebook.

The post, which includes photos of the bunnies, has been shared hundreds of times and has generated dozens of comments, but no tips, according to animal control.

"At the end of the day, we are not looking to punish anyone, we are just trying to educate them, to say, 'This is how yo utake care if them. If you need help, we will be able to help you,'" explained Jessica DiNatale, of Wallingford Animal Control.

Anyone with information is asked to call Wallingford Animal Control at 203-294-2180. Callers can remain anonymous.

Photo Credit: Wallingford Animal Control
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"I'm Blessed": Resident Unharmed When Car Hits Bedroom


A driver was taken to the hospital Wednesday afternoon after reversing 200 feet across the lawn outside a Bloomfield apartment complex and smashing into a first-floor bedroom.

First responders said driver Kedar Cockings maneuvered his car across the grass and ended up inside someone's condo at 18 Wedgewood Drive near the intersection of Blue Hills Avenue. It happened around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

By a stroke of luck, no one was inside the condo when the car came crashing through. Neighbors said the resident of the damaged unit is usually home during the day – but today he was out, and that may very well have saved his life.

"I had my blessing because I wasn't here," said Marvin Anderson, who lives in the damaged unit. "That's the way I see it. It could have been worse."

The car became wedged inside Anderson's bedroom, and although the structure is still standing, the interior has been reduced to a pile of rubble.

"As I walked across the grass, I said, 'That's my bedroom and I don't see my window,' and I think, 'What's wrong here, did I have a fire?'" Anderson recalled, adding that he first wondered if someone had played an April Fools' joke on him.

Emergency crews cut the condo's gas and electricity and turned off power to the unit above so they could safely remove the vehicle and check the damage.

Anderson, a six-year resident of the complex, said he plans to stay with a friend tonight because he has no heat – and no bedroom.

"I'm blessed. I'm blessed, and that's all I can think about," he said. "This can be replaced."

Authorities are working to piece together what happened. Bloomfield Fire Chief Robert Farmer said the car had to swerve around another building before plowing into the damaged condo.

Cockings, the driver, was taken to the hospital for observation. Police said his injuries don't appear to be serious.

"There are a lot of kids that are here over at the complex and play throughout here, so thankfully, no one was injured," Farmer said.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

911 Call Sheds Light on Torrington Shooting and Fire


A Torrington woman's 911 call reveals the trauma she endured when her husband shot her, then turned the gun on himself and apparently set fire to the family home last week.

"911, what's the address of the emergency?" said the operator.

"497, please, my husband just shot me," Kelly Thompson told him the morning of March 25.

"I'm sorry, what's the address?"

"497 Highland Avenue."

Thompson made it onto the front porch, bleeding. The operator asked her where her husband was at that moment.

"Oh my God!" she blurted out. "I think he just shot himself."

First responders arrived at the home within four minutes of the 911 call. They found Thompson with bullets in her leg, hand and body. The house was on fire.

The 911 operator tried to get as much information from her as he could.

"Calm down," he said, "I'm going to help you…. And you think your husband shot himself also?"

"I don't know," she answered.

That uncertainty kept first responders from entering the building. Stationed outside the house, police used a public address system in an effort to contact Kevin Thompson, who was still inside, according to his wife. There was no answer.

After crews put out the flames, they searched the rubble and found the body of Kevin Thompson, with a gun nearby.

His wife, Kelly, was taken to the hospital and listed in stable condition.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit the family.

41 Rescued Puppies Up for Adoption


Forty-one pups were rescued from a life of the stray in the Lone Star State. One was so eager for necn's camera lens, and for your arms, that he climbed all over his buddy to get to us.

At Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Massachusetts, Jane Traubuneck held Godiva, a Chihuahua mix that lost an eye to infection. But she says that doesn't stop her from wanting to be held and being just as cuddly as can be.

All 41 dogs are available for adoption at the at the shelter. Traubeneck coordinates the shelter's puppy transports from around the nation and she says the problem of stray dogs in Texas is rampant.

Traubeneck worked through an agency called operation Pets Alive to bring the dogs by airplane from Texas. The shelter even video documented the puppies' airplane arrival – mixed breeds, all under five months, some purer than others.

According to Traubuneck, the puppies will probably be adopted within a week. They are $435 fixed and $395 unfixed.

In many cases, the shelter will help new pet parents with the expense of getting the dogs fixed, since not spaying or neutering the animals is at the heart of the multiplying problem of stray dogs around the country.

You can contact the shelter at (978) 475-9888.

Ind. Pizzeria Faces RFRA Backlash


The tables have turned on an Indiana pizzeria after the business owners said they will be exercising their rights of denying service to same-sex couples in light of the new “Religious Freedom” bill.

Crystal O'Connor of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, about 20 miles southwest of South Bend, told a local TV station Tuesday that their restaurant would say no if a gay couple asked them to cater their wedding – because they flat out don’t agree with same-sex marriage.

“We are a Christian establishment,” O’Connor told WBND-TV. “We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.”

She says her family “definitely” agrees with Indiana's new widely-protested "Religious Freedom" law which allows business owners the right to refuse service to those they believe to be a "burden" to his or her religious beliefs.

“That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?” Crystal’s father Kevin O'Connor told the outlet.

After their comments went public, hundreds of potential patrons flocked to the pizzeria’s Yelp page and poured it with negative reviews and poor ratings – ruining the reputation the family had worked for in the nine years since its opening.

Kevin O’Connor told NBC News the backlash has been a surprise to him “to say the least.”

"I really don't want to push it any further,” he said, mentioning he was considering closing the business.

But some of their customers stand behind them, and are refusing to let Memories go down without a fight.

Lawrence Billy Jones III, who works as a contributor for conservative radio station The Blaze, created an online fundraising campaign for the restaurant.

“It’s about supporting this family, it’s about supporting freedom,” Jones told NBC News.

"We had no idea that in two hours we were going to be able to raise $20,000 but, lo and behold, it's happening," he said. "It gives me hope when I see people outpouring their support."

As of Wednesday evening nearly 900 contributors had donated to support Memories Pizza, raising more than $33,000.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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New "Hope" for Badly Abused Pit Bull


Authorities have arrested a New Britain woman and expect to charge her boyfriend after their pit bull suffered serious injuries that will cost more than $2,500 to treat, according to police.

Police said a concerned neighbor tipped them off in February to the pit bull's constant crying. The caller told police the young pup, owned by Angela Caffrey of South Main Street, walked with a limp and appeared to have a broken leg.

New Britain police also said the neighbor heard what sounded like someone slamming the dog against a wall. Animal control showed up at Caffrey's apartment at 380 South Main Street and found the pooch in bad shape.

According to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the pup's surgery, the pit bull's mouth and nose were bleeding, her face was swollen and her breathing was heavy. A vet who checked her out said the dog also suffered lung contusions and broken bones in her face, leg and hip.

Caffrey said she thought the dog had fallen from a bed and told authorities she didn't have money for treatment, according to police.

Animal control worried the dog's rescue may have come too late.

"Miraculously, she not only pushed through the night but was able to stand and walk herself outside by morning," members the animal hospital wrote on GoFundMe. "Although she had some difficulty eating, her appetite was in full force. Her strength, determination and ability to trust earned her the name Hope, and our staff quickly fell in love."

"Hope" underwent her first round of surgery on March 30 and will have another procedure April 2. Authorities are raising money to defray the cost of her vet bills, which will total more than $2,500.

"Although her journey to recovery isn't over yet, Hope's healing and joyful spirit continue to amaze and inspire all those who care for her," the animal hospital wrote.

Caffrey, who surrendered ownership of Hope, told investigators her boyfriend, Quamane Cherry, 25, of Middletown, was responsible for taking care of the dog.

New Britain police have arrested Caffrey on animal cruelty charges and said Middletown police have also obtained a warrant for Cherry's arrest.

No information was available on attorneys for Caffrey and Cherry.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department

Hartford Teen "Catfished" at Least 20 People: Police


A Hartford teen and Glastonbury High School student is facing charges after posing as a young girl and “catfishing” nearly two dozen other people, many of them teenagers, convincing them to send naked pictures and iTunes gift cards, according to police.

Police said Eddie Matos, 16, of Hartford, created fake Internet accounts under the name of Casey Morales, a teenage girl claiming to be a junior at Francis High School in Meriden.

Matos told police he “lost count somewhere around 20 victims” who were as young as 14 years old. “Casey” convinced the boys to send nude pictures on the photo sharing app Snapchat, then took screenshots and threatened to share them online if the victims didn’t pay up. Matos also demanded the victims masturbate for “Casey” on video chat but refused to show his face.

A number of the victims acquiesced and sent Matos iTunes gift cards, some of which he redeemed while at Glastonbury High School, according to police. One of the teen boys sent Matos two gift cards worth $80 and $50 apiece.

The Glastonbury school resource officer helped identify Matos as a suspect. Police said the teen later admitted to using fake Internet accounts to “catfish” other teenagers. He stored their nude photos on his iPhone but later deleted them because he was afraid his mom would see, according to police.

According to the warrant for Matos’ arrest, the case came to light last June when a 15-year-old victim told his mother what had happened and the two went together to West Hartford police.

Internet safety expert Scott Driscoll said the case “unfortunately” doesn’t surprise him.

“When it comes to pictures, I have a very simple rule. If you’re not ready for the world to see the picture, you shouldn’t be taking the picture with today’s technology,” Driscoll said.

Matos has been charged with three counts of first-degree larceny by extortion, 16 counts of criminal attempt at first-degree larceny by extortion, five counts of third-degree possession of child pornography, 10 counts of promoting a minor in an obscene performance.

He pleaded not guilty and is due back in court May 21.

Car Hits Gas Station in Berlin After Driver's Seizure: Cops


A car slammed through the front window of a gas station on the Berlin Turnpike in Berlin on Thursday morning after the driver suffered a seizure and lost control, according to police.

The fire department said it happened at about 5:30 a.m. at the Irving Gas Station at 2005 Berlin Turnpike.

Police said no one was hurt.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fire Breaks Out Again at East Hartland Woodworking Shop


Fire has broken out at a woodworking shop in East Hartland for the second day in a row.

On Wednesday, a 66-year-old man was airlifted to Bridgeport Hospital to be treated for burns to more than 20 percent of his body after a propane heater exploded and set fire to a woodworking shop at 59 South Road, according to the town fire marshal.

Hartland Fire Marshal Peter Sevetz Jr. said Robert Burke, 66, was in the room where the fire broke out at 59 South Road.

Firefighters responded to the fire around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, found heavy flames at the back of the building and spotted Burke, injured, in the driveway.

An ambulance brought him to Saint Francis Hospital and a LifeStar medical helicopter then airlifted him to the Bridgeport Burn Unit, Sevetz said.

On Thursday morning, fire broke out again and several fire departments are providing mutual aid.

Photo Credit: Patrick Williams, East Hartland Fire

Religion Law Changes Announced


Indiana lawmakers on Thursday morning announced changes Gov. Mike Pence had promised were coming to clarify the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"What was intended as a message of inclusion was interpreted as exclusion," House Speaker Brian Bosma said of the law at a morning press conference. 

He said the new measure clearly states that discrimination against any class of citizens is not tolerated in the Hoosier state.

The new bill with the updated language can be found here.

Gays and lesbians are not a protected class under Indiana’s civil rights laws, and critics of the law Pence signed last week allege it could provide some businesses the opportunity to refuse providing services or selling goods to some people based on religious grounds.

The Republican governor on Tuesday said he found that claim "offensive," and called upon the state's General Assembly to send him legislation to clarify the law's intent.

The new agreement, first reported by the Indianapolis Star, comes as the clock ticks toward legislators' Easter recess, which begins Friday, and the weekend's NCAA basketball games.

"For the first time ever the words sexual identity and gender identity will appear in Indiana statute," said former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson.

Bosma, Pence, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, other legislative leaders and business executives have met behind closed doors for hours working on an agreement on how to clarify the law.

"Hoosier Hospitality had to be restored," said Bosma.

Historic Building to Be Demolished After Massive Blaze


Police have arrested a man accused of starting a massive fire at an abandoned building on Main Street in Hartford, prompting plans to tear down the historic structure.

Firefighters responded to 1363 Main Street in Hartford, a building built in 1890, after a bystander spotted the blaze around 3:44 a.m. Thursday.

Kenneth Onalty, 46, was spotted inside a second-floor window. Emergency responders pulled him from the burning building and took him to St. Francis Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, according to officials.

Police said Onalty admitted to "squatting" inside the abandoned building for two months and burning a paper bag inside.

He has been charged with third-degree trespassing and reckless burning.

The smoke and flames from the building at the corner of Main and Ann Uccello streets could be seen for miles.

Firefighters spent three hours battling the blaze, allowing fire to burn through the roof instead of sending firefighters inside. They then fought the flames from above.

"It caused great concern. Being a vacant building, we weren’t sure of the condition of the interior of the building," said Deputy Fire Chief David Serpliss.

Crews set up a collapse zone and ripped down a billboard on top of the building over concern it would precipitate a collapse before demolition on Friday.

"It has to be taken down in two sections, being careful not to damage the sidewalls that are holding the beams up, otherwise the whole thing will come crashing down," said Bruce Devaney, of Environmental Sciences, Inc.

South Windsor-based company Environmental Services, Inc. applied for a permit for emergency demolition

“The city is extremely worried about the sign up on top. It is basically holding the top of the building together, so the plan for today is to knock off that sign and get it on the ground,” said Devaney.

The demolition is expected to continue into Saturday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

NYC Women Accused in Bomb Plot


Two women accused of plotting to plant bombs in the United States, one of whom allegedly called Osama bin Laden her hero and praised the World Trade Center attacks, were arrested on terror charges in Queens by the Joint Terrorism Task Force early Thursday, federal officials familiar with the investigation tell NBC 4 New York.

The women, identified in court papers as 28-year-old Noelle Velentzas and 31-year-old Asia Siddiqui, are accused of conspiring to detonate an explosive device somewhere within the United States. The two suspects allegedly discussed possible targets online but there was no specific terror plot and no active explosive device, one official familiar with the case said. The women were alleged to have met with undercover officer posing as a would-be jihadist on many occasions since 2014.

Investigators allege Siddiqui was in possession of multiple propane tanks, as well as instructions for how to transform those tanks into explosive devices, at the time of her arrest, according to a criminal complaint. Less than two weeks ago, Velentzas, asked whether she had heard the news about the recent arrest of a former U.S. airman from New Jersey who tried to travel to Syria to join ISIS, said she didn't understand why people were traveling overseas to engage in jihad when there were more opportunities of "pleasing Allah" in the U.S, according to the complaint.

Both women, U.S. citizens who were until recently roommates in a Queens apartment, appeared in Brooklyn federal court later Thursday. Siddiqui's attorney, Thomas Dunn, said earlier his client planned to plead not guilty.

"I know it's a serious case, but we're going to fight it out in court," he said. 

Neither suspect had a bail package to present Thursday. Shawn Maher, the attorney for Velentzas, has requested medical treatment in prison for his client. 

Siddiqui has repeatedly contacted members of al-Qaida overseas to offer her support, the complaint alleges. She also sent a letter of support to Mohammed Mohamud, the man arrested in November 2010 after trying to blow up a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon; the return address was linked to York College in Jamaica.

In 2006, Siddiqui allegedly became close with Samir Khan, who later moved to Yemen, became the editor of the propagandist magazine Inspire and moved up the ranks of the terror group on the Arabian Peninsula. In 2009, Siddiqui wrote a poem published in Jihad Recollections, Inspire's predecessor, that called for readers to engage in violent jihad and destroy enemies of Islam, court papers allege.

According to the complaint, she wrote that she "drop[s] bombs" as she swings on a hammock, "taste[s] the Truth through fists and slit throats" and that there is "[n]o excuse to sit back and wait -- for the skies to rain martyrdom."

Khan was killed in Yemen about three weeks after the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, having published articles outlining his grievances against the United States, championing himself as a "traitor" and detailing the challenges of suicide bombing, Kahn published bomb-making manuals, including an article titled "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

When federal investigators interviewed Siddiqui at LaGuardia Airport in July, she denied having any contact with Khan or other terrorists or terror networks. She also denied contributing to or having been published in any jihadist magazines.

Velentzas allegedly praised the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and told the undercover officer that being a martyr through a suicide attack guarantees entrance into heaven. According to the complaint, Velentzas showed the officer her phone, which included a background picture of bin Laden holding an AK-47, and called the infamous terrorist and his mentor, Abdullah Azzam, her heroes, the complaint says.

Siddiqui told the undercover agent Velentzas "has been obsessed" with pressure cookers since the 2013 terror attack at the Boston Marathon, according to the complaint. Velentzas told the agent she had recently gotten a pressure cooker as a present.

"You can fit a lot of things in [the pressure cooker], even if it's not food," Velentzas told the agent, apparently referencing explosive materials, according to the complaint.

In June, Velentzas allegedly told the undercover agent she and Siddiqui needed to learn how to take someone's weapon from them and fight multiple people at once.

According to the complaint, she told the agent, "If we get arrested, the police will point their guns at us from the back and maybe from the front. If we can get even one of their weapons, we can shoot them. They will probably kill us but we will be martyrs automatically and receive Allah's blessing."

In recorded conversations between Velentzas, Siddiqui and the undercover agent, the women talked about learning "science" in order to build a bomb, the complaint says. Velentzas allegedly told the other two to deny being good at science if they were ever asked about it, because that could tip off investigators to their plans. She warned about other ways they could get caught, and complained that one man who was allegedly planning to attack Manhattan's Herald Square subway station was caught because he scouted out the location.

Velentzas asked the agent why an individual would attack the subway station. When the agent replied, "Because there's a lot of people," Velentzas said, "Yeah, but just regular people," the complaint says. Court documents say the agent believed that statement indicated she would prefer to attack military or government targets rather than civilians.

The women also looked into chemistry beginner books at a public library and talked about using communications like pre-paid phones that would not be traced back to them. Siddiqui took a course on electricity and met with Velentzas and the undercover agent in a park in September to talk about how they could use wires to cause an explosion remotely, the complaint says. They also discussed how to make homemade grenades, pipe bombs and pressure cooker bombs.

In that same meeting, Velentzas said they needed to learn the science behind bomb-building to avoid being like Faisal Shahzad, the man who drove an SUV full of explosives into Times Square on a warm Saturday night in May 2010. He wasn't able to detonate the bombs. Shahzad later pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Siddiqui recently told the undercover agent she didn't want to talk to the officer about her progress in learning how to build a bomb, according to the criminal complaint, though it wasn't clear if that expedited Thursday's arrests.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton condemned the suspects' alleged "sustained efforts" to obtain bomb-making materials and instructions and applauded the multi-agency team that brought them in, calling the squad a "model for early detection and prevention of terrorist plotting."

"The defendants allegedly plotted to wreak terror by creating explosive devices and even researching the pressure cooker bombs used during the Boston Marathon bombing,” said Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez.

"We remain firm in our resolve to hold accountable anyone who would seek to terrorize the American people, whether by traveling abroad to commit attacks overseas or by plotting here at home," added U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York.
Both women face life imprisonment if convicted.

The case comes less than two months after three Brooklyn men were arrested for allegedly plotting to join ISIS overseas. Those three men -- Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, and 30-year-old Abror Habibov, have pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging them with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and travel document fraud.

Juraboev and Saidakhmetov allegedly planned to travel to Syria through Turkey, and Habibov allegedly funded the operation.

According to court documents, Juraboev first came to the attention of law enforcement in August, when he posted on an Uzbek-language website that propagates ISIS ideology. His plans included attacks against President Obama or planting a bomb on Coney Island, officials said. Another suspect discussed shooting FBI agents and police officers, the indictment alleged.

It wasn't immediately clear if authorities believed there to be a connection between the arrest of the Brooklyn men in late February and the arrest of the women Thursday.  

Both women are expected to next appear in court May 4. 

Photo Credit: Jane Rosenberg

Dog Lunges, Bites Dunkin’ Donuts Worker


A dog lunged out the window of a truck and bit an employee at a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through in Watertown on Friday and police are asking for help to find the owner of the dog.

A man in a white pickup was picking up an order at the Dunkin’ Donuts at 750 Straits Turnpike around 10 a.m. on Friday when his dog lunged out the window and bit the employee who was handing the man his order, according to police.

After pulling the dog back, the customer left and the Dunkin’ Donuts employee went to a medical center to be treated for minor injuries, police said.

Now the Watertown Police Department is asking for help to identify the driver and the dog.

The dog owner is around 60 years old with gray hair and was driving a white pickup, possibly a Toyota T100, with an extended cab.

The dog is a brown, orange and white brindle pit bull.

Anyone with information should call the Watertown Police Department at 860-945-5200 or Crimestoppers at 860-945-9940. Your call can remain confidential, according to police.

Photo Credit: Watertown Police

Milford K-9 Gets New Ballistic Vest


Milford police K-9 Zeus is getting a new ballistic vest, thanks to a charity organization based in Massachusetts.

According to the Milford Police Department, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. raised $1,900 for Zeus' vest, which is both bulletproof and stab-proof.

Zeus, a 2-year-old German Shepherd, graduated in December 2014 from the Connecticut State Police K-9 Training Troop and works alongside Officer Emily Covelli.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., a nonprofit located in East Taunton, Massachusetts, has provided ballistic vests to 1,317 dogs in 49 states since its founding in 2009.

Photo Credit: Milford Police Department

Meriden Man Has Been Missing Since Saint Patrick’s Day


Meriden police are asking for help to find a 25-year-old man who has been missing since Saint Patrick’s Day.

Police said Jose Diaz-Correa was last seen around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17 and was reported missing three days later.

When he was last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue hooded Nike sweatshirt and blue and white Nike sneakers.

Diaz-Correa is thin, around 6-feet-3, has a goatee and has no known medical conditions, but his family is concerned for his welfare because he might be suffering from depression and has been gone for two and a half weeks.

Anyone who sees Diaz-Correa or might know where his is should call the dispatch center at the Meriden Police Department at (203) 630-6201.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police

MxCC to Close Meriden Campus Amid Budget Cuts


Middlesex Community College plans to close its Meriden campus in light of the governor's budget cuts, according to a notice posted on the college website.

"It was the only way we could accommodate the projected budget gap for our FY2016," college President Anna Wasescha said in a statement. "In this fiscal environment the college cannot sustain an operation that represents a net resource drain."

Wasescha said about 250 students take classes exclusively at the Meriden Center and the Meriden Manufacturing Lab. School officials plan to work with those students to help them minimize travel to Middletown.

Students who are enrolled in the MxCC manufacturing program will have the opportunity to transfer to one of the state's four other community colleges with comparable programs.

"Despite budget difficulties facing all the Connecticut Colleges and Universities, MxCC is committed to sustaining its programs and offerings through careful spending and strategic fundraising initiatives in the communities it serves," the college posted on its website.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

200-Year-Old House Condemned in Canton


Town officials in Canton have condemned a 200-year-old house where apparent hoarding has been cause for concern.

Canton First Selectman Richard Barlow said the home at 116 Lawton Road, built sometime in the 1800s, was condemned Feb. 25 over a safety issue.

The town social services department referred the property to the building division, which hired a structural engineer to survey the property and put together a report, Barlow said.

Officials deemed the house structurally unstable and evicted the son of the property owners, who was living there at the time. Barlow said, in compliance with state law, the town has worked with the tenant to find him alternate housing.

The property owners have 60 days to respond to the notice of condemnation, during which time they can either present plans to rehabilitate the property or agree to have it demolished.

Barlow said he doesn't believe the town has heard from the property owners yet, but an Avon resident has been in contact with them to discuss the possibility of rehabilitation.

Barlow said "there have certainly been some issues over the years" about "material storage" that has been visible from outside the home. He noted, though, that the building's structurally instability cannot be attributed to hoarding.

If the town doesn't hear from the property owners by April 25, officials will proceed with plans to demolish the house.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Route 15 Southbound Reopens in Wallingford


Route 15 southbound has reopened in Wallingford after a car fire prompted crews to close down the highway at the beginning of rush hour Thursday evening, according to state police.

Police said firefighters arrived on scene between 4:30 and 4:40 p.m. Thursday. Route 15 has reopened by 5:15 p.m.

Police said no one was hurt during the incident.

Photo Credit: Tresa Baczewski

Son of Affluent Family Arrested


The son of an affluent San Diego businessman has been arrested, accused of grabbing a girl who was walking on a Solana Beach schoolyard and attempting to abduct her, officials announced Thursday.

Jack Henry Doshay, 22, of Fairbanks Ranch, is the son of one of the owners of the San Diego Padres and, as of Thursday, was in custody and accused in a brazen attempted abduction on the campus of an elementary school.

On March 23, the dismissal bell rang at Skyline Elementary School and a man walked onto campus, past the administrative office.

As a 7-year-girl walked from class to her after-school program, she was stopped by the man who was holding a roll of packing tape at the time, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The girl's father would later tell other parents his daughter heard "if you want to see your mommy again" she would do what the man asked.

The father said his daughter's attacker tried to wrap the packing tape around his child's head several times and carry her off.

Instead, she fought back and the man ran off.

On Thursday, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore identified the man in this incident as Doshay. He said Doshay was arrested Wednesday after 7:30 p.m. in Laguna Niguel based on information provided by the suspect’s attorney, Paul Pfingst.

Gore said Doshay lives with his parents in Fairbanks Ranch. NBC 7 has learned Doshay is the son of Glenn Doshay, a San Diego businessman who was a minority stake owner of the San Diego Padres. 

Glenn and Karen Doshay are well-known in San Diego as philanthropists. In fact, Jack Doshay was profiled by the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2006 for donating $2,000 from his bar mitzvah gifts to a local charity.

Jack and his two brothers attended San Diego Jewish Academy, a private K-12 school on Carmel Creek Road east of Interstate 5 near State Route 56.

NBC 7 stopped by the school to find a holiday baseball tournament taking place. School was not in session. A security guard at the entrance to the school said no members of the media would be allowed access to the property.

Pfingst told NBC 7 that Jack Doshay has no criminal history and was getting treatment for depression in Laguna Niguel when he was arrested.

There were about 150 tips that came into the sheriff’s department from a composite sketch that was released two days after the incident, officials said.

Gore said some of that information led him to Doshay. “His arrest was within a few hours of the arrest warrant being obtained,” Gore said.

When his parents learned Jack had become a person of interest, they hired him, Pfingst said.

Officials said there was no direct connection between the suspect and the victim in the schoolyard abduction attempt.

Doshay’s brother lives near Skyline Elementary School, Gore said.

The girl's parents, Mike and Joy Paeske, attended the briefing Thursday and described their daughter as "our inspiration and our hero."

“This guy messed with the wrong girl and the wrong community," Mike Paeske said. "We are so proud of our daughter for the way she handled the attack.”

Paeske was referring to how his daughter fought off her attacker, screaming and kicking to get the attention of staffers nearby.

Jack Doshay was booked into the Vista jail on felony charges of cruelty to a child, false imprisonment with violence and kidnapping. He will be arraigned Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Vista courthouse.

Check back for updates to this developing story. 

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