Ted DeMers’ sister-in-law says his neighbor saw a man standing at the end of the family’s driveway. Suspicious, he sent Ted a text. It was a text that Ted never received.
Ted DeMers died after being attacked on Friday and police have identified the suspect as 23-year-old Peter Manfredonia who is also wanted in connection with a killing in Derby.
"Apparently the man knew someone on this road. We think that’s how he established trust with Ted," the victim’s sister-in-law Pat Jones said.
Jones said her brother-in-law drove Manfredonia in his four-wheeler down to his motorcycle, which was parked in a cul-de-sac at the end of the road.
“As he was driving past his neighbor’s house, the neighbor saw something sticking out of the top of his backpack," Jones said. "The neighbor got very concerned, very unsettled, like something’s strange here. And a few minutes later he heard this awful shrieking.”
Neighbors told DeMers’ family that the suspect was wielding a weapon at him and an 86-year-old neighbor came out of his home to stop the attack. The neighbor was wounded in the head and hands and is still in the hospital, according to Jones.
She said said the suspect got on his motorcycle and drove off after another neighbo yelled at him to stop.
“This neighbor, their family, they were thinking of getting a restraining order against this person two weeks ago. This was intentional. This was not just some random crazy person who flew off the handle. He had a plan,” Jones said.
The DeMers family is focused on the future and the important milestone Ted will miss next month -- the birth of his first grandchild.
“He was over the moon. He just kept talking about what he was going to share with this little one. All of the things he was going teach him and do with him, from walking out in the woods and building swings for him and teaching him about nature, because that was Ted’s world," Jones said.
A resident in the area expressed her concern regarding the police response to the attack.
“My son was riding his bike in the green maybe two or three hours after it had just happened and nobody was notified that there was somebody on the loose,” Kia Martinson, of Willington, said. “He could have very easily run through my neighbor’s yard and ended up in my yard.That was the frightening part of it.”
A spokesperson for Connecticut State Police said troopers remained in the immediate area until the threat was over and that they had to gather all of the facts before alerting residents.