New Britain, Connecticut, police said they have identified a seventh victim of a suspected serial killer.
The state forensic lab and the office of the chief medical examiner have identified Marilyn Gonzalez, of Hillside Avenue in Waterbury, as the seventh victim whose remains were found in a wooded area in New Britain behind the 593 Hartford Road shopping plaza, police said.
Gonzalez left her home on May 16, 2003 and never came home, so her mother reported her missing on May 29 that year, police said. She was then 26 and had two daughters, 11 and 7, at the time of her disappearance.
"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," New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said in a news conference. "Our sincerest condolence goes out to the family of Marilyn Gonzalez. She was a sister, a daughter and a mother. She would now be a grandmother. Marilyn has family who loves her and misses her."
Her sister, Sandra Martinez said "we're all saddened by the news that just came out and hopefully we will get closure soon."
Police have identified the remains of at least seven individuals that were found buried in the wooded area since 2007. The six previously identified victims disappeared in 2003.
Investigators have previously named other victims, including Diane Cusack, 55, of New Britain, Mary Jane Menard, 40, of New Britain, Joyvaline Martinez, 24, of East Hartford, Danny Lee Whistnant, of New Britain, and Nilsa Arizmendi, 33, of Wethersfield, and Melanie Camilini, 29,of Waterbury,
Multiple sources have told NBC Connecticut the lone suspected serial killer is 45-year-old William Devin Howell, who is currently serving a 15-year sentence in connection with Arizmendi's death. Howell was initially charged with her murder but pleaded down to manslaughter under the Alford doctrine. He has not been charged in the other deaths of the six others at this time.
Police have not publicly identified Howell as a suspect or named any suspects yet in the case and declined to release any information on any suspects when asked at the press conference.
Wardwell said that identifying victims is "critical to any investigation," including this one in piecing together what happened. After an extensive search of the wooded area where the seven bodies were found and using a "highly specialized" cadaver dog, police said they are confident there are no more victims in suspected serial killings.
The case remains under investigation and could take months to reach conclusion and charges are filed, police said.