Victim's wife says fugitive student sought their neighbor

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This undated photo provided by the Connecticut State Police shows Peter Manfredonia. A woman who said she was abducted by Manfredonia, a college student suspected of killing two people in Connecticut, has been found safe in New Jersey, police said Monday, May 25, 2020. Manfredonia was last seen Sunday walking along railroad tracks in East Stroudsburg, Pa. (Connecticut State Police via AP)

HARTFORD, Conn. – A college student police say is an armed fugitive after killing two people was looking for a young woman he knew when he began his rampage, the wife of his first victim said Tuesday.

University of Connecticut senior Peter Manfredonia, 23, is a fugitive in the machete killing of the woman's neighbor, 62-year-old Ted DeMers, of Willington, Connecticut.

He also is believed to have killed his own high school friend, Nicholas Eisele, 23, on Sunday about 70 miles (110 kilometers) away in Derby, police said.

Manfredonia was last reported seen in Pennsylvania on Sunday and is the target of a search involving police agencies and the FBI.

Cyndi DeMers, Ted DeMers' wife of 42 years, said in an interview that Manfredonia was looking for a female acquaintance when he came walking down the road in front of their Willington home wearing a motorcycle helmet.

When asked why he was walking down the rural road, Manfredonia said his motorcycle had broken down, Cyndi DeMers said. Ted DeMers was killed with a machete after giving Manfredonia a ride back to his bike.

“He said to my husband, ‘I know so-and-so,’ who is one of our neighbors, which then opened up the door to trusting this person,” Cyndi DeMers said.

“I think he got in the way of what he was going to do,” she said. “He was clearly walking to her home with a mission, with a machete in his backpack.”