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New Britain serial killer suspect in 1991 death of Florida woman

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William Devin Howell / Credit: DOC

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla.–Police are investigating a possible connection between a missing person’s case from the early 1990s to the New Britain serial killer case.

Kristen Benson, the public information officer at the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department told Fox CT that William Howell, who is suspected of killing seven people, is being investigated for the 1991 cold case murder of April Stone.

Stone’s body was found near Sanford, Florida on January 16, 1991, according to an article in the Orlando Sentinel from January 23, 1991. Her remains were quickly matched to her DNA. Stone was 21 when she went for a walk on January 14, and never returned.

Stone was stabbed to death.

Benson said that it is just a possibility that Howell may have been involved, given the circumstances of that case and the seven Connecticut cases. Police are still looking into several other suspects in the crime.

Howell was arrested in Seminole County in 1991, near where Stone went missing.

As previously reported, police found the remains of seven bodies in the woods behind 593 Hartford Rd. in New Britain; all of those people went missing in 2003. The first remains were discovered in 2007, and earlier this year the remains of four other bodies were discovered nearby.

Howell is serving time after he was convicted for manslaughter in 2007 for the death of one of the women–Nilsa Arizmendi–who’s body was found recently. He had been charged with murder after her blood was found in the back of his vehicle, but a plea agreement reduced the charges. Based on court documents, Howell says he didn’t kill Arizmendi, but acknowledges police had enough evidence to convict him if there was a murder trial.

Police are now building a case for the murders of Diane Cusack, Joyvaline Martinez, Mary Jane Menard, Melanie Ruth Camilini, Marilyn Gonzalez, and Danny Lee Whistnant, though investigators have stopped short of saying Howell is responsible

Chief James Wardwell says he expects the investigation will culminate in a matter of months.

Click here for our full coverage of the New Britain serial killings.