Suspected Serial Killer Identified After 7 Bodies Found Behind New Britain Shopping Center

Suspected Serial Killer Identified After 7 Bodies Found Behind New Britain Shopping Center
New Britain, Connecticut Doug Kerr CC BY-SA 2.0
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The prime suspect in the murder of at least seven women, whose bodies were buried behind a New Britain shopping center, has been identified as William Devin Howell.


Howell, 45, is currently serving prison sentence at the Garner Correctional Institution on a separate manslaughter charge, according to NBC Connecticut.

His current 15-year sentence came after he was arrested for the murder of Nilsa Arizmendi, who disappeared in 2003.

Arizmendi was a resident of Wethersfield. She was 33 when she disappeared.

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Howell was indicted on May 16, 2005 on a murder charge. However, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice website, he pleaded guilty to a lesser sentence of manslaughter in a deal with prosecutors in 2007.

Howell became a suspect in Sept 2006 for the murder of an inmate who allegedly gave him away.

On Monday, authorities said that the investigation had led to the discovery of four more bodies behind a Connecticut strip mall.

New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said that the four skeletal remains have been sent to the chief medical examiner.

Of the four victims, Melanie Ruth Camilini, a mother of two from Seymour, has been identified. She was last seen in 2003.

Wardwell further added that one person is responsible for the deaths.

According to CNN, he said, “There is no danger to the public at the time from the alleged serial killer.

“The ongoing investigation supports our strong belief that the person responsible for this is not able to continue this conduct at this time.”

The place where the remains of the four women were found was the same location where partial remains of three women were previously discovered in 2007 by a hunter.

“This is certainly the burial site,” Wardwell said.

The medical examiner had identified Diane Cusack in 2010, while the remaining two, Joyvaline “Joy” Martinez and Mary Jane Menard, were identified in 2013.

Menard’s son, Brian McKinney, sympathized with the families of the other victims, but was glad that there was no further threat.

He said, “It’s a relief to know that it’s not going to happen again.”

Menard’s sister, Anna Santiago, said, “At least we know that pretty soon we will have justice.”

Cusack, Martinez and Menard were last seen in 2003, Wardwell said.

According to TIME, the current case draws parallels with that of Michael Bruce Ross, Connecticut’s infamous serial killer, who admitted to murdering eight women and girls in the 1980’s. He was executed in 2005 in what was New England’s first execution since 1960.

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