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Cindy DeMers said that her husband, Ted DeMers, saw the alleged killer — 23-year-old University of Connecticut senior Peter Manfredonia — as he was walking down the street in front of their home in Wilmington wearing a motorcycle helmet on Friday.
Manfredonia told Ted DeMers his motorcycle had broken down, and the 62-year-old Marine veteran offered to give him a ride back to his bike.
“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,” Cindy DeMers said on Tuesday, according to reports by The Associated Press.
After giving Manfredonia a ride back to his bike, Ted DeMers was killed with a machete, Cindy DeMers said in an interview.
Peter Manfredonia CT State Police
“I think he got in the way of what he [Manfredonia] was going to do,” Cindy DeMers said of her husband. “He [the suspect] was clearly walking to her home with a mission, with a machete in his backpack.”
DeMers 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 is suspected of killing an acquaintance, 23-year-old Nicholas Eisele, and kidnapping Eisele’s girlfriend. He then allegedly stole the couple’s vehicle to make his escape but later abandoned it on Interstate 80 in Knowlton Township, Warren County, with the young woman — whom authorities have not identified by name — inside and unharmed.
Eisele’s body was discovered shot to death in his home in Derby, Conn., on Saturday.
Manfredonia is also wanted on the charges of a home invasion and assault on another man.
He was last seen in surveillance video near East Stroudsburg, Penn., not far from the New Jersey border, Pennsylvania State Police said Tuesday.
State police said they don’t believe Manfredonia has ties to the area or a car, and suspect might try to use a ride-hailing service to flee, the agency said.
Manfredonia is believed to be armed with several guns stolen during a home invasion in Willington, was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and dark shorts, and carrying a large duffel bag. Police have circulated a photo of a person matching his description walking along railroad tracks in East Stroudsburg.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.