NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — A seventh body found at a Connecticut dumping ground believed to have been used by a serial killer was identified Monday as another woman who had been missing since 2003.
Medical examiners identified the woman as Marilyn Gonzalez, 26, a mother of two girls ages 7 and 11, New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said. She had been missing since leaving her home in Waterbury, he said.
"Today, Marilyn Gonzalez would be a grandmother to an 8-month-old little girl if Marilyn had not fallen victim to an apparent serial murderer," Wardwell said. "She was a sister, a daughter and a mother. ... Marilyn has family who loves her and misses her. Marilyn's family is grieving and has asked not to be contacted by the media."
The seven bodies were found in a wooded area behind a strip mall in New Britain. A hunter came across the partial skeletons of three female victims in 2007 and the remains of four others — three women and a man — were discovered in April during one of several searches by authorities. Several of the victims had histories of drug abuse, and all disappeared in 2003.
Wardwell declined to comment on the suspected killer, saying the investigation is ongoing.
William Devin Howell, a drifter with a lengthy criminal record, has emerged as the prime suspect in a case that could disclose the existence of one of the most prolific serial killers in New England history. He is serving a 15-year prison sentence for manslaughter for the killing of one of the people found buried behind the strip mall — Nilsa Arizmendi, a 33-year-old mother of four from Wethersfield.
Howell grew up in Hampton, Virginia, and was working odd jobs around central Connecticut in 2003. He hasn't been charged in the other six killings. His response to reports that he is the prime suspect in the other deaths isn't known. It's not clear if he has a new attorney.
The other victims have been identified as Diane Cusack, 53, of New Britain; Joyvaline Martinez, 24, of East Hartford; Mary Jane Menard, 40, of New Britain; Melanie Ruth Camilini, 29, of Seymour; and Danny Lee Whistnant, 44, of New Britain.