Student being hunted for two murders had been looking for woman he knew, victim’s wife says

First victim’s wife says student was looking for woman who lived next door before rampage began 

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 27 May 2020 13:55
Manfredonia family attorney asks he turn himself in

An armed college student who allegedly killed two men was searching for a young woman before his rampage began, the wife of his first victim has said.

University of Connecticut senior Peter Manfredonia, aged 23, remains on the run after murdering 62-year-old Ted DeMers, of Willington, Connecticut with a machete.

Mr DeMers lived with his wife, Cyndi DeMers, next door to the woman Mr Manfredonia had sought-out.

Police also suspect the “armed and dangerous” student killed his Sandy Hook high school friend, Nicholas Eisele, aged 23, on Sunday.

Ms DeMers said in an interview that Mr Manfredonia was looking for a woman when he was walking past her house in Willington wearing a motorcycle helmet.

“He said to my husband, ‘I know so-and-so,’ who is one of our neighbours, which then opened up the door to trusting this person,” Ms DeMers said.

“I think he got in the way of what he was going to do,” she said. “He was clearly walking to her home with a mission, with a machete in his backpack.”

Mr DeMers was killed after providing Mr Manfredonia with a lift back to his bicycle.

The DeMer’s neighbours were said to have been considering requesting a restraining order against Mr Manfredonia, who had been to the home in the past.

Ms DeMer said her neighbors have been told by police not to return to their home until he is captured.

Another neighbour was also attacked during the incident, whilst Mr Manfredonia is also accused of abducting the alleged girlfriend of Mr Eisele, who was later found safe with an abandoned vehicle thought to have been used to flee the state.

Connecticut State Police pleaded on Tuesday for Mr Manfredonia to turn himself in.

“We want you to be able to tell your story,” Lt John Aiello said. “We are hear to listen to you. Your parents, your friends, all of us back here in Connecticut want a peaceful end to this.”

Mr Manfredonia broke into another house in Willington over the weekend, stealing guns and a truck, and then headed south, said police. The truck was found Sunday in Derby, near Mr Eisele’s home.

He was last seen near the New Jersey border at a Walmart on Sunday.

State police have asked the public to be on the lookout for a black Hyundai Santa Fe with Pennsylvania license plate KYW-1650, that was last seen in the area.

Mr Manfredonia’s family lawyer, Mike Dolan, said on Monday that the suspect had struggled with his mental health and had used therapy.

He wrote in an Instagram post in 2018 that shootings were an “epidemic plaguing this great country we live in”, and said he was disgusted to think that the “collective strength and resilience” of Sandy Hook after the 2012 shooting was an example to the world.

“It is sad to think that we have stood idly by and done nothing as innocent people continue to die at the hands of those who only seek to inflict pain in this world,” he wrote.

Mr Manfredonia’s Instagram account has now been removed, or deleted.

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