WILLINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — An urgent manhunt across state lines is underway for a Connecticut homicide suspect, who police say is armed and extremely dangerous.
UConn senior, Peter Manfredonia, 23, has been on the run since early Friday morning. As of Tuesday, he is believed to have killed two men, kidnapped one woman, and was last seen in Pennslyvania near the New Jersey border.
Tuesday evening, Connecticut State Police provided an update on the manhunt. They report the case is still active, ongoing, and very fluid, so they are holding back some information to maintain the integrity of the investigation and the safety of witnesses.
They say the victim kidnapped from a Derby home by Manfredonia Sunday was a female, but they are not releasing her identity at this time.
They also sent a message directly to Peter saying his family and friends say this behavior is not the person they know: “This is not who you are…We want you to be able to tell your story. We are here to listen to you…We [all] want a peaceful end to this…We are waiting to hear from you; we want to hear from you…Please call us.”
CSP encouraged Manfredonia to call 911 and let them know where he is.
Tuesday afternoon, Pennsylvania State Police released new information in the search, as well.
PSP reported a black Hyundai Santa Fe bearing the PA registration KYW-1650 had been reported stolen Monday. It has not been confirmed as of yet that the car was stolen by Manfredonia, but police say it was taken in the area where Manfredonia was last seen.
Manfredonia was believed to be last spotted Sunday afternoon in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He was wearing dark shorts and a white t-shirt.
According to Newtown police, “Manfredonia is described as a 6’3″ white male, with disheveled, black hair, brown eyes, and weighs approximately 240 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray t-shirt, gray sweatpants, and carrying some type of bag.”
Early Tuesday, PSP reported that after New Jersey State Police made contact with Manfredonia’s kidnap victim from Derby, CT and recovered the car he stole from a Derby home Sunday, Manfredonia was spotted on a security camera at a Walmart in PA.
PSP say, “Troopers were able to determine that Manfredonia was dropped off by an Uber at the East Stroudsburg Walmart. Through interviews with the driver and recovered security footage, Troopers were able to determine that Manfredonia walked behind Walmart and other businesses onto a set of train tracks and was still in possession of a duffle bag full of guns he stole from a home invasion in Connecticut.”
Monday, the attorney for the family of Manfredonia held a press conference where he relayed a message directly to Peter.
The message included love from his family, and encouragement to turn himself into police.
Monday, the PA FBI joined in the search for Manfredonia.
Police released the most recent photos of Manfredonia on Twitter Sunday evening.
Early Sunday morning, CSP was called to a home on Turnpike Road in Willington where the homeowner was held against his will by Manfredonia who took supplies including food, firearms, and the victim’s truck, police say.
The homeowner on Turnpike Road was not injured, according to police, and he refused treatment at the scene. The suspect then took the victim’s truck, drove it to Derby where it was located near Osbornedale State Park.
Officials from CSP and Derby PD closed the park and conducted a canvas. Their efforts included K9 units and areal units. They did not find him.
Meanwhile, police say they learned the suspect had an acquaintance that lived on Roosevelt Drive in Derby – near the state park.
A male was found deceased in the home on Roosevelt Drive; the victim has been identified as Nicholas J. Eisele, 23.
Sunday afternoon, police put a BOLO out for a 2016 Black Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid with CT plates AU 78524 with a rear quarter panel tribute to the Sandy Hook victims with the #26. The vehicle is believed to have been stolen from the Roosevelt Drive location by Manfredonia.
A reverse 911 call went out to the surrounding area. As of 2 p.m. Sunday, CSP does not believe the suspect is still in the area.
“Newtown Police Department has stepped up patrols and have increased manpower, out an abundance of caution. Residents should be aware and on the lookout, that while no immediate danger exist the potential is here and we have addressed it by bringing in extra manpower to patrol and protect our residents,” Newtown PD said on Facebook Sunday afternoon.
NPD say the suspect has strong ties to the area.
State police reported at 3:18 p.m. the vehicle has been located in Pennsylvania and “law enforcement agencies are actively looking for the suspect.”
Sunday evening, CSP and New Jersey State Police reported the suspect’s “vehicle was located in New Jersey at the Pennsylvania border” at the Travel America in Knowlton Township, NJ.
Police say Manfredonia was last seen in East Stroudsburg, PA.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies are actively searching for the suspect.
CSP continued their search for Manfredonia, interviewed witnesses, and collected evidence.
A University of Connecticut spokesperson confirmed Saturday that Manfredonia is a senior at their establishment. He was not living on campus at the time of the incident or during recent semesters. The university says it is working with State Police on the investigation.
According to State Police, just after 9 a.m. Friday, troopers responded to Mirtl Road in Willington, where they found two elderly men suffering from injuries after an assault with an edged weapon.
Trooper Josue Dorelus said in a news conference, “We believe it to be an edged weapon, however the exact description I would not be able to provide.”
One of the victims was taken by Lifestar to an area hospital. Theodore Demers, 62, of Willington, (pictured below) died from his injuries.
Demers, a retired U.S. Marine, lived on Mirtl Road and reportedly was helping Manfredonia who had said his motorcycle had broken down and run out of gas. Demers family said that is when Manfredonia attacked their loved-one with a machete, cut off his arm, and left him bleeding in the street.
The identity and condition of the second victim has not been released. He was reported in stable condition Tuesday by CSP. Neighbors say he may have lost several fingers in the attack.
Neighbors were shocked at the news.
“Nothing like this has ever happened, and you can’t ask for a better family,” Lauren Spencer said, breaking into tears. “It’s so terrible. Just so horrible.”
Making it worse is COVID-19. With social distancing rules, they can’t console each other.
“With this virus we can’t go over and give them hugs, we can’t even sit with them or hold their hand,” said Spencer.
Manfredonia is considered armed and dangerous, and should not be approached. State police are asking anyone with information to call 911 or contact Eastern District Major Crimes – Troop C directly at (860) 896-3200.