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New London man found dead in Hope Street apartment

By Deborah Straszheim

Publication: theday.com

Published December 25. 2013 4:00PM   Updated December 26. 2013 11:59AM
Dana Jensen/The Day
Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad truck sits in front of 15 Hope St. Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013 where a man was found dead inside the residence.

Editor's note: This version corrects an earlier version. There have been three homicides in New London in 2013.

New London — A New London man in his 30s was found dead late Christmas morning in what police are calling a homicide, the city's third of the year.

The man, who lives at 15 Hope St. and is of Guatemalan descent, was not identified in a New London police news release.

Deputy Chief Peter Reichard said the death was not a shooting but noted "there is evidence of trauma to the victim."

The man lived on the second floor with six others in what appeared to be a rooming house with single rooms and a shared kitchen, Reichard said.

A roommate called to report the man was unresponsive, Reichard said. He said police had no suspects at this time.

Police were interviewing the man's roommates Wednesday and planned to interview neighbors.

Reichard said the victim did not have legal identification on him, so police were unable to confirm his identity.

New London police Lt. Lawrence Keating said the crime appeared to be of a domestic nature, where the victim knew his attacker.

"It was not like someone breaking in, burglarizing, being surprised," he said.

The Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad sought a search warrant from a Superior Court judge to gather evidence at the crime scene. At 8:30 p.m., members of the unit were seen entering the house dressed in white suits to avoid cross contamination of evidence.

The man's body was brought to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington. Preliminary reports on cause of death are typically done in 24 to 48 hours, but reports on more complex issues such as what was in the bloodstream at the time of death can take weeks.

The street, off Hempstead Street, part of a working-class neighborhood, was blocked off to traffic by police.

Ruben Rivera, 15, said he lives with his mother and brother on the first floor of the house, and got a call from his brother about someone having died.

"My mom was really scared," said Rivera, who was visiting relatives for the holiday and arrived home Wednesday to find the house surrounded by crime-scene tape.

Rivera said about five men lived upstairs, and he'd find empty beer cans daily outside in the trash.

He said different people would come and go from the apartment, but he heard no commotion otherwise from upstairs.

Danny Green, 52, who lives at 9 Hope St., said he was unaware anything had happened until news crews arrived.

"It's shocking, because it's so close," he said.

Police said they were called to the house shortly before 11 a.m. and found the man's body on a bedroom floor. Emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead shortly after arriving, the news release said.

Detectives from New London police, investigators from the Connecticut State Attorney's Office and the Connecticut State Police Crime Scene Unit are investigating the man's death.

Police are asking anyone with information about this incident to contact the Detective Division of the New London Police Department at (860) 447-1481. All calls will be kept confidential.

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