Body in Norwich park identified as man murdered in NYC

Published: May. 8, 2023 at 7:39 AM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2023 at 10:35 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORWICH, CT (WFSB) - The discovery of a man’s body buried in a park in Norwich led to a homicide investigation.

Norwich police identified the victim as Martin Wright. They revealed on Friday that Wright was murdered in New York City sometime in Jan. 2023.

“The murder of the deceased was initially investigated in Jan. of 2023 by New York detectives,” Norwich police said. “Ultimately, in April of 2023, New York indicted the suspected perpetrator, [the] brother of deceased. However the body of the victim was not recovered. With the discovery of the human remains located inside Mohegan Park on May 7 by the Norwich Police Department, the remains of Martin Wright have now been recovered.”

The investigation was launched at the park shortly after the discovery.

Police said it’s possible the body had been buried at the park since January.

“Just because of one freak accident it won’t prevent me from enjoying the park,” said Sandy Shafer of Taftville.

Shafer walks Mohegan Park with her sister every day.

It’s a popular spot for walkers, fishermen and families.

“People are overreacting and afraid to use the park, they’ll be afraid to use the park. I am not of that opinion I think it’s a beautiful park and I’ll continue to use it,” Shafer said.

“Does it make you feel a little better knowing that it didn’t happen here?” Eyewitness News asked.

“A little, but, still, it happened it doesn’t matter where, it still happened,” said Brian Lively of Norwich.

Another man, 48-year-old Craig Smith, has been charged with concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence.

“I just feel relieved that it happened somewhere else and they just happened to pick this place to dump the body,” Shafer said.

“I thought from Route 2 it might be easy but not all the way from New York,” said Lively.

Police made those two arrests without knowing where the body was.

Now the family has closure.

“It’s been kind of a crazy week in Norwich so it’s getting a little nerve-wracking,” Lively said.

Norwich police said the medical examiner will bring Wright’s body back to New York to get it to his family.

Police said that around 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, a person who walked through the park noticed something sticking out of the ground near Mohegan Park Road and Wilderness Road.

“Believing that it might be a person, he called the Norwich Police Department to report his findings,” police said in a news release. “Upon arrival of Norwich police patrol officers, they discovered a deceased person in that area.”

Norwich police ruled the incident a homicide.

The victim was described as a Black or Hispanic male between the ages of 35 and 50 years old, they said.

Authorities said the man was found in the park in a shallow grave.

“Evidence at the scene suggested that the actual murder did not occur within the park,” Norwich police said. “In addition this incident appears to be a targeted attack against the deceased.”

Wright died of a gunshot wound, they revealed.

Norwich police described the victim as being about 5′10″ tall, weighing 150 to 160 pounds, having black hair with box braids, having a goatee or a short beard, and missing four top front teeth.

A Channel 3 crew saw police, along with a medical examiner’s truck, at the park on Monday morning.

Channel 3 spoke with walkers who said they traverse the trails at the park every day.

One couple said they believed the body could have been buried there for weeks. Police have not confirmed that.

Linda Snarski, a park walker, said the weekend was beautiful, so a lot of people walked around the park. She questioned how long the body was there, and said that for safety reasons, she never walks alone.

“I’m at the point in my life where things can happen anywhere, even in your own home town and I think we all need to come to grips with that,” Snarski said. “We need to be very cautious in everything we do, and that’s why I would never walk here by myself.”

Eyewitness News was able to determine that state police helped Norwich police with the investigation. Both were seen searching for evidence. K9 units were involved.

Park goers said they were shocked when they heard about the investigation. One woman explained that she lives nearby and often brings her children to the park.

“How could that happen in our town. People come to have fun with the kids and play, but that’s something scary. I’m scared right now,” said Albani Fortuna of Norwich.

Anyone with information was asked to call Norwich Det. Ken Wright at 860-886-5561 extension 3159 or the Norwich police tip line at 860-886-5561 option 4.