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Tyler visits crime scene; Shenkman to be arraigned in hospital

By Stephen Chupaska

Publication: Day

Published July 08. 2009 1:27PM   Updated July 08. 2009 1:28PM

South Windsor – Nancy J. Tyler returned to the rubble of her former home on Tumblebrook Drive today, after surviving a harrowing 13 hours being held captive by her ex-husband, Richard J. Shenkman.

Tyler and her two children, Peter and Victoria, spent less than an hour at the scene, talking with police and fire officials and viewing the property. South Windsor firefighters were continuing to wet down the smoldering rubble, so the family could not get too close.

Shenkman is scheduled to be arraigned at 3:30 this afternoon from his Hartford Hospital bed, according to Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, the state judicial branch spokeswoman.

Media will not be allowed into the hospital for the arraignment, per hospital rules.

Shenkman remains in critical but stable condition at Hartford Hospital after he allegedly set the house on fire late Tuesday night, after his ex-wife, Tyler, escaped. He had allegedly kidnapped her Tuesday morning outside her Hartford law office.

Police charged Shenkman with kidnapping, arson, reckless endangerment, interfering with police and unlawful discharge of a firearm.

Shenkman had told police he had 65 pounds of explosives in the house. Police also observed wires on the exterior of the house that could have been connected to explosive devices.

South Windsor Police spokesman Cmdr. Matthew Reed said at a briefing this morning that a bomb squad from Hartford will search for explosives. After the bomb squad clears the scene, Reed said investigators will begin searching the rubble. A search warrant is en route, he said. Investigators have not recovered the gun Shenkman fired during the first hour of the hostage incident and again while the house was on fire.

Firefighters had to return to the house this morning around 6 to extinguish hot spots and again around noon.

The fire – believed to have been started by Shenkman – began at approximately 10 p.m., Tuesday and burned until about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Tyler was unhurt. She was taken to St. Francis Hospital after escaping the house around 8:30 p.m. for observation.

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