HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A man matching the description of a fugitive college student wanted in the killings of two people in Connecticut was seen in northeastern Pennsylvania, sparking a new search that lasted several hours but came up empty, authorities said Wednesday.
Police in Duryea, Pennsylvania, said a firefighter spotted a man with a large backpack behind the Germania Hose Co. shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday. The man fled toward nearby railroad tracks and a wooded area, officials said. The firefighter asked the man what he was doing, but he did not respond as he left the scene, police said.
Authorities said the man fit the description of University of Connecticut senior Peter Manfredonia, 23, who reportedly was last seen on Sunday about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Duryea in East Stroudsburg walking along railroad tracks with a large bag.
Duryea officials said they called in officers from surrounding towns and state police Tuesday night and used a helicopter to help with the search of the railroad tracks and woods, but they didn’t find anyone and called off the search after several hours.
“At this time we don’t have enough information to confirm it was the suspect from Connecticut but ask that residents be aware and cautious of their surroundings,” Duryea police said in a statement Wednesday.
Connecticut State Police said Manfredonia is wanted in the machete killing of 62-year-old Ted DeMers and wounding of another man in Willington on Friday. Manfredonia went to another man’s home, held him hostage and stole his guns and truck, then drove about 70 miles (110 kilometers) southwest to Derby, Connecticut, state police said.
In Derby, police found Manfredonia’s high school friend, Nicholas Eisele, 23, shot to death in his home. Authorities believe Manfredonia then forced Eisele’s girlfriend into her car and fled the state. The girlfriend was found unharmed with her car at a rest stop on Interstate 80 in Columbia, New Jersey, police said.
Manfredonia then took an Uber to a Walmart in East Stroudsburg, not far from the New Jersey border, Pennsylvania State Police said.
A lawyer for Manfredonia’s family said he has struggled with mental health problems, but did not show signs of violence.