Timeline leading to arraignment of suspected serial killer - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Timeline leading to arraignment of suspected serial killer

Posted: Updated:
(WFSB) (WFSB)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

It has taken more than a decade for the arrest of William Devin Howell.

Trying to identify the remains of seven people has been filled with challenges and twists and turns, including police eventually determining they were all murdered by a serial killer.

It all started more than 10 years ago, in 2003 when Nilsa Arizmendi, Diane Cusack, Joyvaline Martinez, Melanie Ruth Camilini, Marilyn Gonzalez, Danny Lee Whistnant, and Mary Jean Menard all went missing.

In May 2005, William Devin Howell was arrested in the murder of Arizmendi after her blood was found in his van.

In January of 2007, Howell accepted a plea deal for first-degree manslaughter in the death of Arizmendi and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

About six months later, in August of 2007, the remains of three women were discovered behind a strip mall on Hartford Road near the Westfarms Mall in New Britain.

Police worked for years to extract DNA from the remains between 2011 and 2014, and identified Martinez, Cusack, and Menard as “Jane Doe” one, two and three.

In September of 2014, the Greater New Britain Serial Murder Task Force was formed and an increase in police resources was devoted to the case.

"We feel united. We feel like now we're finally going to get closure. We're going to get closure,” said Madie Cuascut, Martinez’s sister.

Less than one year later in April of 2015, police started a massive search behind the strip mall again.

Four additional victims were located and were eventually identified as Camilini, Gonzalez, Whistnant, and Arizmendi.

The next month, May of 2015, the suspected serial killer was identified as 45-year-old Howell.

"We remain committed to bringing the individual responsible for these killings to justice,” said New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell.

New Britain police fueled that promise with Howell’s arraignment on Friday.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.