Local police assist Conn. homicide investigation at Hampton home

(WAVY/Erin Kelly)

UPDATE:

Hampton police, Suffolk police forensic investigators and the FBI assisted detectives from the Greater New Britain Serial Killer Task Force again Friday at 100 Gumwood Drive in Hampton.

They started at 8:30 a.m.; investigators dug with shovels and sifted through countless buckets of dirt. Around midday, a front-end-loader or backhoe was brought in to expedite the search.

Ultimately, according to Hampton police, both a search of the ground and of the home and garage turned up no evidence.

10 On Your Side also learned that the New Britain Serial Killer Task Force met with authorities in Dare County, North Carolina on Friday. A source told 10 On Your Side the investigators followed up on leads and conducted interviews. Right now, there is no plan to conduct any property searches there.

Stick with WAVY.com for updates.


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton police shut down a section of Weaver Road Thursday, as officers assisted the Greater New Britain Serial Murder Task Force in a homicide investigation.

Sgt. Jason Price, with the Hampton Police Division, said the police department in Connecticut contacted Hampton police Wednesday. They asked for help looking for evidence in relation to the serial killings of seven people in New Britain, Conn.

Around 8 a.m. Thursday, law enforcement from both jurisdictions and FBI executed a search warrant for the yard of the residence at 100 Gumwood Drive.

Price said two FBI cadaver dogs were brought in, but they have not found anything. They have also been using an FBI ultrasound machine, which helps identify where things may have been buried.

“We currently have begun a grid search of the ground, where we’re starting the tedious process of starting to dig through several different areas in the ground,” Price said.

Police obtained a second search warrant that expanded the search to include the home, mother-in-law suite and garage on the property. Price said it could take investigators until sometime Friday or over the weekend to completely search those areas.

“It’s unnerving. It really is. It’s in your neighborhood now. It is actually in your neighborhood now,” said Brenda Baldwin, who lives across the street from 100 Gumwood Drive. She said the neighborhood has always been pretty quiet.

“If there is anything going on over there, how long has it been going on? When I saw the mobile command center, that’s when I thought, ‘Oh no,'” Baldwin said.

Records show that 100 Gumwood Drive is the exact address where 45-year-old William Devin Howell — a suspected Connecticut serial killer — lived in 2000.

The remains of seven people were found behind a Connecticut shopping center. One of the bodies was recently identified as Nilsa Arizmendi, a woman Howell was convinced of killing in 2007. He remains in custody serving the 15-year prison sentence for that conviction.

Investigators in New Britain have said they believe the seven killings were likely committed by the same person, during separate incidents, but have not charged Howell in the death investigations of the six other people.

Howell lived in Hampton on and off for a number of years, until his arrest in 2005 for Arizmendi’s slaying. Back in May, a cousin still in the area told 10 On Your Side Howell grew up in Hampton and attended Bethel High School.

Although Hampton police have not released details on the homicide investigation, a source close to the investigation told 10 On Your Side’s Deanna LeBlanc the investigation is indeed related to Howell.

On Thursday morning, several police dogs could be seen searching the area at 100 Gumwood Drive. Investigators were also seen removing items from the home’s backyard. The source close to the investigation said police were searching for possible body parts, blood and clothing.

10 On Your Side’s Erin Kelly spoke to a man, Joseph Masters, who said he has owned the home for 10 years and Howell would come and go, but that he did not formally live there. Masters said Howell was a very nice man, and he does not believe Howell did anything wrong. Masters also said his son occasionally stays at the home.

Sgt. Price said Suffolk police also joined the search because of their forensic unit. He said, depending on evidence found, it could change the parameters of the investigation.

Police reopened Weaver Road, between Hickory Hill and Gumwood Drive, around 4 p.m. They suspended the search until the morning, due to severe thunderstorms moving into the area overnight. Police will close that section of roadway again at 8 a.m. Friday, when the search continues.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates on this story.

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