Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer said he got a text message at 9:26 p.m. after his investigators learned Peter Manfredonia, 23, was in custody. Police were told Manfredonia walked out of a wooded area behind a truck stopand turned himself in, Kifer said.
The U.S. Marshals Service and Washington County Sheriff’s Office were at the scene along with state police, authorities said.
Connecticut State Police said Manfredonia is wanted in the machete killing of 62-year-old Ted DeMers and wounding of another man in Willington on Friday. Manfredonia went to another man’s home, held him hostage and stole his guns and truck, then drove about 70 miles southwest to Derby, Connecticut, state police said.
In Derby, police found Manfredonia’s high school friend, Nicholas Eisele, 23, shot to death in his home. Authorities believe Manfredonia then forced Eisele’s girlfriend into her car and fled the state. The girlfriend was found unharmed with her car at a rest stop on Interstate 80 in New Jersey, police said.
Manfredonia then took an Uber to a Walmart in East Stroudsburg, not far from the New Jersey border, Pennsylvania State Police said.
A lawyer for Manfredonia’s family said he has struggled with mental health problems, but did not show signs of violence.
Hagerstown Police were notified Wednesday afternoon that Manfredonia might have come into the area, Kifer said. That was more than a day after Manfredonia was dropped off downtown, he said.
Information from the Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service revealed Manfredonia abandoned a stolen vehicle in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, according to a Hagerstown police news release. Authorities discovered the stolen vehicle on Wednesday. The other agencies investigating determined Manfredonia then took an Uber to Hagerstown.
Pennsylvania State Police on Wednesday afternoon said they had received a tip about a possible sighting of Manfredonia in Chambersburg. Witness descriptions and surveillance video images matched that of Manfredonia, according to police.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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Authorities are seeking Peter Manfredonia, 23, who was last seen in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.
On Friday morning, Ted DeMers was driving down a leafy street he knew well, in a rural town in northeast Connecticut, when he spotted a young man on foot wearing a motorcycle helmet. Mr. DeMers stopped to speak to him and the man climbed into his vehicle.
Moments later, the young man fatally attacked Mr. DeMers, 62, with an edged weapon and seriously injured a neighbor who tried to help, the police said.
The young man, Peter Manfredonia, 23, a senior at the University of Connecticut, fled and broke into a nearby home and held the homeowner captive before stealing his guns and a truck, the police said.
On Sunday, he drove to an acquaintance’s house about an hour away and killed him, too, before kidnapping another person, stealing a car and driving to New Jersey. There he released his captive, abandoned the vehicle and fled alone into Pennsylvania, where he was last seen on foot in the Poconos region.
Now, the F.B.I. and state authorities have embarked on a sprawling, multistate manhunt for Mr. Manfredonia as investigators continue to make sense of a spasm of violence that has stunned the area and left two families devastated.
The authorities believe that Mr. Manfredonia, last seen on Sunday afternoon, is still armed and dangerous.
Michael Dolan, an attorney representing the Manfredonia family, said that Mr. Manfredonia has struggled with mental health issues for several years and had worked with a number of therapists.
“They’ve asked me to begin by expressing their condolences to the families of those who have suffered,” Mr. Dolan said. He added, “Peter, if you are listening, your parents, sisters and entire family love you. You have their complete and total support. No one wants any harm to come to you or anyone else,” he continued. “They are begging you to surrender so they can help you through this process.”
Mr. DeMers lived in Willington, a small town about 30 minutes northeast of Hartford, near the campus of the University of Connecticut. He was driving from his home, where he had a basement woodworking workshop,to his barn, where he stored wood and other supplies, when he saw a young man walking in the opposite direction. They exchanged words, his son Christopher DeMers, 34, said.
“He ended up on my father’s four-wheeler and my dad gave him a ride back to the end of the road,’’ Mr. DeMers said, explaining that his mother witnessed the man and his father together from the DeMers home, which is just a few hundred feet away from the barn.
Less than 10 minutes later, a neighbor started honking and flashing his car’s lights outside of the house. The neighbor told Mr. DeMers’s wife, Cynthia DeMers, to bring ice because her husband was in “rough shape,” Christopher DeMers recalled.
When Ms. DeMers and the neighbor arrived at the scene, it was grisly: Ted DeMers had injuries to his head, leg and arm and was bleeding profusely, Christopher DeMers said.
“My mom tried to tourniquet his arm and stopped the bleeding on his leg,” he said. “She watched him die.”
Another neighbor, whom the police did not identify and who had tried to intervene, was also bleeding. Mr. Manfredonia and his motorcycle were gone.
Ms. DeMers said state police detectives told her they believed Mr. Manfredonia had been on their street because he had been stalking a neighbor’s daughter.
Later, Mr. Manfredonia broke into a house in Willington and held the owner of the house against his will for almost two days, according to the police and The Hartford Courant. Early Sunday, he stole pistols and long guns from the house, the police said, and took off in the owner’s truck toward Derby, a small city just outside New Haven.
He abandoned the stolen car in a state park. After finding the car, the authorities learned that Mr. Manfredonia had an acquaintance, Nicholas J. Eisele, who lived nearby.
When officers got to Mr. Eisele’s house in Derby, they found him dead. The medical examiner’s office still hasn’t determined how Mr. Eisele, 23, was killed. The Times has not been able to reach his family for comment.
After kidnapping another person from Mr. Eisele’s home, Mr. Manfredonia drove off in a black Volkswagen Jetta. As officers scoured the scene in Connecticut, the police in New Jersey found the kidnapped person, unharmed, in Paterson, N.J.
The individual identified Mr. Manfredonia as the captor, according to the police, who did not identify the kidnapping victim for safety reasons. The Hartford Courant identified the person as Mr. Eisele’s girlfriend.
Authorities said they found the black Volkswagen in New Jersey near the Pennsylvania border. The police said he used “a different form of transportation” to travel to East Stroudsburg, a small borough in the Poconos area in Pennsylvania.
He was last seen around there on Sunday afternoon, wearing a white T-shirt and dark-colored shorts, and carrying a large duffel bag, according to a photograph distributed by the Pennsylvania State Police.
Mr. Manfredonia graduated in 2015 from Newtown High School, which is in the same Connecticut town where the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre took place in 2012.
Late last year, he posted a photo of himself on Instagram in which he said he had completed a triathlon to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit group that works to protect children from gun violence.
He started at the University of Connecticut in the fall of 2015, and is a senior enrolled in a joint business and engineering program. He is not taking summer courses and had not lived on campus in recent semesters, according to Stephanie Reitz, a university spokeswoman.
“The university expresses its deepest, most heartfelt sympathies to the victims and their families in this horrible, incomprehensible tragedy,” she said in a statement. “They are all in our thoughts.”
Ted DeMers, who was born in Hartford, Conn., had lived with his wife in a ranch-style house in Willington for the last 32 years.
A furniture salesman-turned woodworker, Mr. DeMers would spend hours building wine and kitchen cabinets, “cool artistic” pieces, and had recently started clearing walking trails on the family’s property, recalled Christopher DeMers, who added that his father was excited about becoming a grandfather.
Mr. DeMers’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help his wife with the family’s finances. His family expects to hold a service for him before the end of the summer if social distancing restrictions are eased, his son said.
“He joked about being buried on the property,” his son said. “He wanted his ashes spread on the land that he had.”
Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago and the White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, has famously stated, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” He has described a “serious crisis” as an “an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” It seems that Speak of the House Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat majority in the House have heeded Emanuel’s advice by passing the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act on Friday. If passed by the Senate, the HEROES Act can significantly appease the burden of student loans until September 2021 as well as provide financial relief in the form of another round of stimulus checks.
The Senate and the Executive branch have been vocal about their opposition to the HEROES Act. According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he believes the Act is “not designed to deal with reality, but designed to deal with aspirations.” Similarly, a statement of administration policy issued by the executive office of the president stated that if the HEROES Act was presented to the president, “his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
However, in the event that the HEROES Act does pass in the Senate, it would offer $10,000 in student loan forgiveness to federal, Perkins, and commercially-held FFEl-program loan holders. Only those who are considered “economically distressed borrowers” would qualify for the $10,000 forgiveness, mandating that borrowers currently:
Pay $0 a month on student loans OR
Be in default, serious delinquency, forbearance or deferment.
The HEROES act also addresses previously faulty PSLF timeline limitations, and would allow payments made towards the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program to qualify even if borrowers choose to consolidate their commercially-held FFEL-program federal student loans and Perkins loans, which, unless consolidated via the federal Direct consolidation program, do not qualify for forgiveness. Without the HEROES Act, any payments made prior to consolidation does not count in the 10 years of repayment.
The HEROES Act would also extend the CARES Act loan payment suspensions by another 12 months. This means that students would now have until September of 2021 to begin paying back their loans. This allows those experiencing financial hardship more time to get back on their feet before having to worry about paying off student loans.
The current situation with COVID-19 has significantly impacted the livelihoods of millions of Americans, and is projected to continue impacting college students as they enter the job market. Colleges and universities around the country have all responded differently, but providing relief by pausing student loan repayment until 2021 and receiving another round of stimulus checks can significantly impact students’ future prospects in the years to come. Whether or not the HEROES Act will pass in the Senate, or if any other economic aid package will be addressed by the Senate, will come after the Memorial Day recess on May 25. Until then, the economic fate of college students around the country will be put on hold.
An Alabama high school student named NASA’s first Mars helicopter that will be deployed to the red planet later this summer.
Ingenuity, the name submitted by Vaneeza Rupani, was selected for the 4 pound (1.8 kilograms) solar-powered helicopter, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday. The name coined by the junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport was just one of 28,000 names submitted in NASA’s “Name the Rover” essay contest for K-12 students across the United States.
“The ingenuity and brilliance of people working hard to overcome the challenges of interplanetary travel are what allow us all to experience the wonders of space exploration,” Rupani wrote in her essay. “Ingenuity is what allows people to accomplish amazing things, and it allows us to expand our horizons to the edges of the universe.”
In March, the space agency selected the name Perseverance for the Mars Rover based on a Virginian student’s essay, but decided to come back to the submitted essays to also pick a name for the helicopter that will accompany the Rover.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Ingenuity “encapsulates the values that our helicopter tech demo will showcase.” Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby also congratulated Rupani for the honor.
“It was really cool I got to be a part of something like this,” she told the AP.
Ingenuity has already completed testing in a NASA simulation chamber in Southern California. Next, it will be attached to the belly of the Perseverance, which will take off for Mars in July or August. After it arrives on the red planet, the helicopter will remain under a protected covering to protect it from debris until the timing is right for the aircraft to be deployed.
It will then have a 31-day flight window to prove that powered flights can be accomplished on Mars, NASA said.
This year’s mission is part of a program that also includes missions to the moon to prepare for a possible human exploration of Mars. NASA plans to land the first woman and the next man on the moon in 2024, and set up a continued human presence “on and around” the moon in eight years so they can use it to send astronauts to Mars.
Alabama student names NASA’s first Mars helicopter (2020, April 30)
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