NEW BRITAIN – An inmate in the Connecticut corrections system has been identified as the suspected New Britain serial killer, sources tell Fox CT.
William Devin Howell, 45, is currently serving a 15-year sentence at Garner Correctional Institution for first-degree manslaughter. He was convicted in relation to the the homicide of Nilsa Arizmendi, who was last seen alive on July 25, 2003 in Wethersfield. In 2007, Howell accepted a plea deal at New Britain Superior Court.
Howell was arrested on May 13, 2005, in Hampton, Virginia, and charged as a fugitive from justice in the death of Arizmendi, who was last seen alive in his van. Arizmendi was reported missing to the Wethersfield Police Department by her sister on July 31, 2003. Her body has not been recovered.
Although Arizmendi's body is missing, prosecutors said her blood was in Howell's van, as well as the blood from another unidentified woman.
Videotapes were also recovered from the van, showing two unknown women.
Howell had been in Connecticut because he did odd jobs and cut grass at homes and businesses in Wethersfield, Hartford, New Britain and West Hartford.
Monday, after three weeks of digging behind a strip mall off Route 9 near Corbins Corner, New Britain police announced that they found the bones of four more people. Police identified one of the victims as Melanie Ruth Camilini, 42, of Seymour. Camilini was a mother of two when she went missing in Waterbury in January 2003.
In 2007, at the same wooded area, detectives unearthed the remains of three women: Diane Cusack, 53, Mary Jane Menard, 40, and Joyvaline Martinez, 23. All three of those women, like Arizmendi, went missing in 2003.
New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said on Monday that “the total number of bodies recovered at this time is at least seven,” and that it is believed all the women were killed by the same person. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is currently working to identify the three sets of remains still unknown.
Police said the remains of all seven victims appear to have been at the site for at least 10 years.
The investigation into the skeletal remains began August 20, 2007 when a local resident reported finding a body in the woods. He was scouting for hunting locations in the wooded area behind 593 Hartford Rd. in New Britain. The entire area is about 15 acres.
Police would not say if more digging was planned at the site.