Peter Manfredonia (pictured) 23, who allegedly killed two people, was stalking a woman in the Connecticut neighborhood of his first victim, Ted DeMers
A University of Connecticut student suspected in two slayings had gone to the neighborhood of the first victim because he was looking for a young woman he knew, the victim’s wife said Tuesday – as law enforcement renewed a plea for him to turn himself in.
Cindy DeMers said that her husband, Ted DeMers, went to speak with Peter Manfredonia on Friday when they saw the 23-year-old walking down the rural road in front of their Willington home wearing a motorcycle helmet.
Manfredonia said that his motorcycle had broken down.
‘He said to my husband, “I know so-and-so,” who is one of our neighbors, which then opened up the door to trusting this person,’ she said.
After giving Manfredonia a ride back to his bike, Ted was killed with a machete, Cindy said in an interview. Ted’s friend suffered severe wounds.
‘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.’
Cindy said she talked with the young woman’s father over the weekend and discovered the family had been considering getting a restraining order against Manfredonia, who had been to the home in the past.
Her neighbors have been told by police not to return to their home until he is captured, she said.
Manfredonia has been on the run since killing DeMers on Friday.
Cindy DeMers said that her husband, Ted DeMers (both pictured), went to speak with Manfredonia on Friday when they saw him walking near their home
Cindy said she talked with the young woman’s father over the weekend and discovered the family had been considering getting a restraining order against Manfredonia, who had been to the home in the past
Manfredonia is also accused of killing 23-year-old Nicholas J. Eisele (left and right), who was found dead at his home in Derby. Eisele’s neighbor said he heard arguing and loud banging that was followed by screams and then silence from the apartment above him on Sunday
Law enforcement renewed their plea to get Manfredonia to give himself up on Tuesday.
‘Peter we’ve talked to family, we’ve talked to your friends and roommates all of them have said the same thing; that this behavior out of ordinary for you. We know that this is not who you are,’ Lt John Aiello, Commanding Officer of Eastern District HQ said.
‘I want you to know that we are continuing our investigation. The one thing missing right now it you. We want you to tell your story. Your family has hired an attorney on your behalf and are there to safeguard you.
‘We are here to listen to you. Your parents, your friends, all of us back here in Connecticut want a peaceful end to this. We are waiting to hear from you. Please call 911 and let us know where you are. We want to resolve this in a safe way.’
Police clarified the timeline of events in a press conference Tuesday.
After the first slaying, police said Manfredonia fled the scene and broke into a nearby home where he held the homeowner captive before stealing his guns and a truck.
The truck was later found abandoned near Osbornedale State Park in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Authorities said Manfredonia drove to the home of his acquaintance, 23-year-old Nicholas J. Eisele on Sunday.
Manfredonia is suspected of killing Eisele before forcing Eisele’s girlfriend into her car and fleeing to New Jersey with her.
The 23-year-old woman was located in her Volkswagen Jetta near Paterson, New Jersey, on Sunday and was not hurt, police said. Authorities have not named her.
State police described Eisele, who worked with his father in a landscaping business, as an acquaintance of Manfredonia’s. The medical examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine cause of death.
It was also revealed on Tuesday that Eisele’s neighbor told WTNH he first heard arguing and loud banging followed by screams and then silence from the apartment above him on Sunday.
The neighbor said he and his roommate did not call police.
‘I feel guilty for not making that phone call. Maybe it wouldn’t have saved them, but it would have caught him at least. That’s my guilt. I have to live with that,’ the neighbor told the station.
Connecticut state police and the FBI have been desperately searching for Manfredonia who they have described as a 6ft 3in white man who should be considered armed and dangerous.
Police said Manfredonia, a finance and mechanical engineering major, was last seen entering a Walmart in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, according to investigators.
Manfredonia was seen carrying a duffel bag near train tracks in East Stroudsburg.
Authorities said in a press release on Tuesday that they were able to confirm that Manfredonia was dropped off by an Uber in front of the East Stroudsburg Walmart.
Police describe Manfredonia as a 6ft 3in white man who should be considered armed and dangerous
Connecticut state police and the FBI have been desperately searching for Manfredonia across three states: Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey
Manfredonia was last seen walking along railroad tracks in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, wearing dark shorts and carrying what appears to be a duffel bag
On Tuesday afternoon, police released another update that said a stolen black Hyundai Santa Fe had been reported near the area where Manfredonia was last seen. According to police, the vehicle bearing Pennsylvania registration KYW-1650 was stolen around 9pm on Monday
‘Through interviews with the driver and recovered security camera 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 duffel bag full of guns he stole from a home invasion in Connecticut,’ the release reads.
‘It is believed that Manfredonia does not have ties to the area and does not have a vehicle. He may attempt to solicit ride sharing services, possibly through third party means, to flee the area.’
On Tuesday afternoon, police released another update that said a stolen black Hyundai Santa Fe had been reported near the area where Manfredonia was last seen.
It was also revealed on Tuesday that Manfredonia’s father, Robert (pictured), was arrested in April on charges of second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child, and sale/delivery of liquor to a minor
According to the statement, the vehicle bearing Pennsylvania registration KYW-1650 was stolen around 9pm on Monday.
‘At this point a connection cannot be confirmed,’ authorities said.
Manfredonia’s family are also pleading with him to surrender. Through their lawyer, Mike Dolan, Manfredonia’s parents said: ‘We love you. Please turn yourself in.’
‘You have your parents’ and your sisters’ and your family’s entire support. It is time to let the healing process begin,’ Dolan added.
Dolan said Manfredonia had struggled with mental health issues and ‘sought the help of a number of therapists’.
According to NBC, Manfredonia’s father, Robert, was arrested in April on charges of second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child, and sale/delivery of liquor to a minor.
He was released on a $50,000 bond and is scheduled to be in court on July 1.
On Tuesday, Sandy Hook Promise released a statement to Fox 61 confirming that Peter Manfredonia participated ‘in an athletic event in 2019 and chose Sandy Hook Promise as one of his fundraising recipients’.
‘We hope he surrenders peacefully to the authorities and that no one else is hurt or killed, the statement reads.
The alleged killer (pictured) is thought to be armed with several guns stolen during a home invasion
Police in Willington, Connecticut, on Friday are seen gathering evidence near the area where the grisly murder and assault took place
Eisele’s family set up a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses.
On the page, friends and family shared memories, including his love of his mother’s German shepherds, Trooper and Sandy.
A GoFundMe page was also set up for the DeMers family.
The University of Connecticut on Sunday released a statement confirming that records show Manfredonia is enrolled as a student in the joint school of engineering/school of business program.
Manfredonia first enrolled at UConn in the fall of 2015, and is a senior.
‘He is not attending summer courses, and had not been living on the UConn campus either at the time of the incident in Willington or during recent semesters,’ UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.
Reitz said the university is in contact with authorities to provide assistance that might help the investigation.
‘The university expresses its deepest, most heartfelt sympathies to the victims and their families in this horrible, incomprehensible tragedy,’ Reitz said. ‘They are all in our thoughts.’
When asked if the university knew of any problematic behavior by Manfredonia in years past, she said the university couldn’t discuss specific individuals and cases.
She did say, however, that ‘UConn strives to do everything possible to identify and engage with students of concern and to provide them with all the assistance and resources we can both for their own well-being and that of the wider community’.
A motive for the slayings has not been determined.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Derby police at 203-735-7811, state police at 860-896-3200 or the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI. Tips can also be sent to 203-503-5555. Any sightings of Manfredonia should be called in to 911.
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