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INTO THE WOODS 

PART 1: HYPERVIGILANCE

1 of 6 

Disclaimer: In this article, I will be discussing witnesses, along with showing photos and video of the firehouse and surrounding scene. They will show survivors, witnesses, victims families, law enforcement, media members and other bystanders along with vehicles. I will redact the faces of children since they are minors and not relevant to this discussion. Please note, that while I will be naming some of these adults, I have no intention to defame them in any way. Nor do I condone any harassment of them......... I will also be listing the addresses to a few local businesses, along with the address of witness Gene Rosen, who lived next to the firehouse. Please note that doing so is all relevant to my discussion. There is no malicious intent in this decision and if the business owners or Gene would like me to take this information down, please contact me and I will do so immediately.

Hypervigilance is not uncommon for people to experience during or after traumatic events, even for those that didn't experience it themselves, especially for mass shootings. For example, just after hearing about a mass shooting just a few towns over, a woman parks her car at a gas station. As she is about to open her car door to get out, she sees a male teenager in the passenger seat in the car next to her. She sees him looking down and agitated. She immediately hesitates getting out, wondering if he had something to do with the mass shooting. But in reality, he's just a teenager, agitated with the game he's playing on his phone while waiting for his mother to get out of the store. Meanwhile, a man on the other side of the country, hears about the same shooting. On his walk home from work, he sees a suspect in everyone he passes. Every bag, every purse, every object is seen as a possible weapon. Every loud sound startles him.

 

Hypervigilance isn't reserved just for the general public though. It is experienced in law enforcement as well. As much as we'd like to think of them as being superhuman, they can misperceive situations too. A man standing with a cell phone can suddenly be seen as a man with a gun. A father fleeing with his child can be seen as a suspect fleeing with a hostage or as a kidnapper.

This natural physiological response can be heightened when people are told that there really could be a threat on the loose and can have major consequences when the rumors or suspicions of suspects on the loose is shut down with little to no clarification or facts, mixed with lots of misinformation. As is the case of Sandy Hook.

See, the initial story and the story they ended up settling with were very different stories. When people sat down to watch the evening news on December 14, 2012, they were told that Ryan Lanza had killed his mother who was a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, along with her students. But when people sat down for the evening news the following day, it was Adam Lanza (Ryan's younger brother) who had killed their mother, at their home, she was never a teacher and he had killed 1st grade students (not kindergarteners). While some were able to quickly dismiss the glaring difference and chalk it up to media incompetence or just chaos of the first 24 hours, it caused many others to raise their eyebrows, especially when they never gave any explanation for the "misreporting".

In the subsequent days, we were given several indications of other suspects. Originally, we were told that Adam's brother Ryan was a suspect. There were reports of a suspect being interviewed at the Newtown Police Department. There were reports about a student's father being apprehended when police first arrived. We saw aerial footage of police chasing after possible suspects into the woods near the school. Footage of a man being patted down by officers. There was an interview with a student who saw a possible suspect on the ground and an interview with a witness that recalled seeing a suspect in handcuffs, wearing camo being pulled out of the woods.

We all sat on the edge of our seats, frightened, waiting for updates. Just how many people were involved? Were they all caught? Was there mass murderers on the loose? But that update came in the form of "there was only one shooter. Now stop asking questions!"

Many of us were perplexed by this, yet hoped we'd at least get some clarifications. As days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, we realized we were never going to get them.

So due to the lack of clarifications and what appeared to be a desperate attempt to keep all things Sandy Hook secret, we were left with speculations and theories about who all those possible suspects were and if they really were suspects or not.

In November 2013, the States Attorney released his final report and the State Police released some of their investigatory materials (like 911 and police audio, documents, photos and dash cam footage) in December to the public. While they were helpful in some regards, they were equally unhelpful in others. For example, here's from the State Attorney's Final Report.

FR1.png

page 12

FR2.png

page 13

FR3.png

page 14

As you can see, he unfortunately did not cover why Ryan Lanza was originally named the suspect, the man seen apprehended by officers in footage, nothing about a guy in camo that was brought out of the woods or cite any exact sources that would allow us to fact check his claims. We were left to sort through the 1,000+ redacted documents and do it on our own.

A couple of them were actually pretty easy to figure out and validated some of the claims made in Sedensky's report, which in turn debunked many of the theories that had formed. But despite this, and despite taking copious notes, I failed to figure them all out. The documents were very redacted, sometimes extremely vague and a lot of key information appeared to be missing. As a result, I went looking to see if anyone had been able to piece together the rest of it. I quickly became disappointed. No one had any more information than I already had myself. What also became apparent to me, was that waiting 11 months to give the public any kind of information and then basically giving a data dump was a really bad idea. I found many instances where people had been taking things from the reports out of context to either fit old theories or new ones.

Annoyed and not confident that I could figure it all out myself, I walked away from the topic altogether.

But then I discovered the gunshot at 9:46:54. A gunshot that occurred nearly 7 minutes after the supposed lone wolf was already dead. It caused Newtown Police to call off the medical response and went radio silent until 9:51:31 when they announced a suspect down. (I wrote about this in "9:46:54").

While it seemed possible that we could've been lied to and Adam wasn't really dead yet, or police fired the shot, it seemed pretty obvious to me that there was a plausible third possibility. There was another suspect.

Of course this realization meant that I was going to have to trudge through the confusion yet again. This time, I'd leave no stone unturned. I went through witness and police statements. Documented all appropriate timelines like officer arrival times and particular events mentioned in their statements. Watched every second of dash cam footage. Listened to all the emergency audio and 911 calls. Found as much social media and and real time blog posts for at least the first 2 days and watched as much live news footage I could find. It was exhaustive but successful and quite surprising. I found that while the majority of the suspects were dismissible and nothing more than the result of hypervigilance, there was one person in particular that peaked my interest. A man from New York that was brought out of the woods near the school. So interesting, that I will be covering him in parts 2 - 6. This article will be about all the other incidences at the scene.

RICK THORNE

thorne_edited.jpg

Even though this was not addressed in the final report and rarely (if ever) gets brought up in the research community, it still was an apprehension on site, therefore relevant and I feel like it'd be irresponsible of me to not discuss it.

We are told that after parking his car in the fire lane, Adam then walked up to the main entrance of the school and began shooting at the large window next to the entrance doors to gain entry into the building.

Rick Thorne (one of the school's janitors) claims that when this happened, he was standing near his office that was in the west hall. Here is where his office was located.

Thornes office.png

Upon hearing the noise, he began heading towards the lobby. When he reached the corner, he noticed the broken window and smelled gunpowder and immediately turned and ran back down the west hall and called 911. His call was received at 9:35:43.

He remained in the west hall area and on the phone with 911 until 9:50:56 when he encountered one of the breach teams who thought that the cell phone in his hand was a possible weapon. He was then apprehended.

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 --1 p. 3 "After clearing the back hallway we turned right and began clearing the west hallway. I then heard an officer at the end of the west hallway closer to the main entrance yelling to an adult male to put his hands up and drop to the ground. The male hesitated and only complied after multiple commands. He was shouting something that I could not understand. Officer McGowan secured him with hand cuffs and searched him. We determined he was a janitor for the school. I took command of his keys so we could access locked rooms and closets. The janitor was escorted out the front of the building which had been cleared by the second breach team."

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00260187 p. 2 "We then continued to the right hallway and began to make our way down toward the front of the building. We observed a male approximately halfway down and ordered him to the ground, which he did. I moved ahead and handcuffed him. At that time I could see he was a janitor by his t-shirt. I stayed with him for approximately 2 minutes until a trooper arrived at my position. We got the janitor up and ran him to the front of the building, where I turned him over to Ofc. Penna, who took him outside. My team had moved on and I did not see them anywhere."

Thorne was escorted out of the building in handcuffs at 10:02:41.

thorne handcuffed.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00184096 p. 16

And witnessed by Det. Rachel Van Ness. 

van ness sees suspect.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6  00001113 p. 2

I do realize that she claims she saw a man from New York, not Thorne. However, I believe it was really Thorne. First, she arrived just a minute prior to him being seen on dash walking across the parking lot. 

van ness arrives.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00184096 p. 16

Second, the guy she is referring to was apprehended shortly after this and in a different location. But we'll get to all of that in part 2. 

 

Unfortunately there's no documentation beyond this point, except that just after 7:00 pm, Sgt. Joseph Salmeri had brought him into town to meet up with his family.

Salmeri escorting Thorne to family.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00019772 p. 4

Thorne's statements can be found in CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00104263 and CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00063270. The transcript to his 911 call can be found in CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00155346. It should be noted that even though his 15 minute 911 call was one continuous call, they broke it up into several clips. You can hear the first clip in Exhibit 349 StartTime 2012-12-14 14-35-43 Logger 45170321 Channel 4 RadiREDACTED or you can go here. They'll be call #3, 6 and 7. (Yes, there is audio missing, but not relevant to this article). Here is a full list of police statements that mention Thorne.

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 --1 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00001113 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00002060 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00007290 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00017426 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00019772 p. 4

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00025074 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00026724 p. 2 - 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00027906 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00029085 p. 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00041707 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00044171 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00047345 p. 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00260187 p. 2

Faculty witness statements/who interacted with and/or heard police interact with Thorne

 

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00002095 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00002219 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00002236 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00006210 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00006467 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00006482 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00006494 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00007939 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00034719 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00034897 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00249494 p .1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00249511 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00251430 p. 2 and CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00251430 

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00256443 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00258258 p. 1

THE MAN BEING PATTED DOWN

This guy just kinda came out of nowhere and pretty hard to nail down. All we ever got was this clip, of a man being patted down by police.

You can view the original clip (without slow motion or zoom) in the video below at 3:23.

We were never given any information about this guy. Who he was, why he was being detained, where they were... But despite having no information to go on, I have been able to locate him and I believe he was just one of the many "stops" made that day. (to read about some of the stops made that day, refer to CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00260197 p. 2 and CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00029085). 

He's clearly wearing a brown jacket and appears to be wearing jeans. In the second video you can see something hanging off the front of him (like a scarf) and it appears to be red and white stripes. In the video below (at 4:23), you can see him turn around a bit, in the direction of the camera. (It'd be a good idea to play it on slow motion because it happens quickly).

Here's a screenshot of it.

scarf.png

Definitely a red and white striped scarf.

So to recap, we're looking for a male with a brown jacket, possibly wearing jeans with a red and white striped scarf. Well...... here he is!

brown jacket red and white scarf.png

You can view the footage in the video below at 2:42.

I was able to locate him at the firehouse at 11:43 (without a scarf). 

1143 at firehouse.png

You can find the footage here at 50:23. 

He left at the same time Gov. Malloy arrived on scene, which we know was approx. 12:28.

At 4:19 in this video, you can see a black SUV come down Riverside Rd. (that's Malloy). At 4:47 the camera zooms in on this guy and presumably his son. At 5:05 the camera refocuses on the black SUV that is now parked near the front of the firehouse. At 5:10 you can see movement, which appears to be a person putting on a jacket and then begins walking up Dickinson Dr. with a group of people. This person would be Malloy and you can watch him doing that in this video at 2:53. (note, just before that clip, there is better footage of the guy walking up Riverside from a different angle). 

I was even able to find an interview with the woman he was with, presumably his partner.

I speculate that it's possible that he was detained upon getting there. When it was most likely he wasn't with (presumably) his son. He was then let go, met up his son, handed him the scarf and they left just before 12:30. 

We might never know why they stopped him in the first place, and some will say that this alone means we can't rule him out yet as a possible person of interest. But he clearly was let go and was allowed to be with his family. So unless someone out there has evidence that there's more to this than I'm seeing, I'm classifying this as nothing more than a stop.

SHADOWS RUNNING PAST THE GYM &

CHRIS MANFREDONIA

I'm more than certain that many (if not all) of you have heard police audio of dispatch announcing to the first responding officers about shadows running past the gym. 

Down Crestwood.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00179629 p. 2

at 3:33 mark

At first glace, it would sound as if someone(s) were attempting to flee the scene and were caught by Officer McGowan. And this is exactly what the public thought when this audio was released. And due to the lack of clarifications and information in the months after the shooting, this impression eventually turned into a belief with several claims. One being that it was a guy in camo that had been found in the woods by police, one that it was a father of a student by the name of Chris Manfredonia who had been apprehended by first arriving officers, another being that Manfredonia was the guy in camo and was found in the woods and even one that said it was an accomplice of Manfredonia's. 

But all of these beliefs are false...  (well kind of). In fact, they're actually 2 separate incidences happening simultaneously on two sides of the building. 

Let's start out with the shadows running past the gym. 

The States Attorney's final report states that the shadows were faculty members fleeing.

shadows running past gym sa report.png
shadows were teachers fleeing sa report.png

Based on all the evidence, I believe this to be irrefutably true and were the 4th grade teachers that were having a meeting down the hall from the gym.

 

(Note: Since I already covered a lot of this in "Ted Varga: The Fake Hero", I'm not going to go into great detail, but I will cover what is necessary).

At 9:30, all 5 4th grade classes were in Unified Arts. 2 classes in gym, 1 in music, 1 in art and 1 in the library. Meanwhile, the 4th grade teachers were in their weekly meeting in the conference room (Rm #20) which was in the west hall, near the main lobby.

At some point after hearing the gunfire, they decided to flee, via a window in the room.

It's the window with the air conditioner.

4 of 5 2249.png

WDMCS School Interior 4 of 5 at 22:49

And here's an exterior shot of the window.

Gunsalus – exterior photos #64

While one could argue that there wasn't enough room to squeeze out of, it still seems like the only way they could've fled. If they tried to flee down the hall and out a door (whether in the front of the school or in the back), the chances of them not being seen by Thorne is virtually nonexistent. In fact, one was unable to go through the window so she was left behind.

It was at about this time, the gym teacher relayed to Rick Thorne (who was on the phone with dispatch in the hall near the gym doors) that she had seen shadows running past the gym, which he then relayed to dispatcher Nute.

Thorne trans gym.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00155346 p. 6

According to the gym teacher, she was attempting to put paper over one of the door windows when she saw them. Note that she states she went to the door near the music room side. 

gym teacher.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00006494 p. 2

Here's where the gym was in relation to room 20. Also note, that the music room is left of the gym (room #24).

gym and conference room.png

This would be the door she was talking about.

Farr scene 66.png

Farr - scene photos #66

Here's the door from within the gym.

gym door.png

WDMCS School Interior 4 of 5 at 1:59

When they fled, they ran into the tree line next to the school and then ran to a Subway that was just down the road. The Subway they went to is located at 117 Church Hill Rd. Below is a possible path they could've taken. I have starred Rm 20, the gym and Subway.

path to subway.png

From Sec 13 - Aerial Photos #4

They would've ran right past the gym. And depending on their route, it is absolutely possible that they were seen through the window of that door. In the photo below, you can see the window they escaped from in the background. The gym is on the right.

20 and gym.png

Gunsalus - exterior photos #62

Below is a photo of the gym. Room 20 is just on the other side of it. Had they left the window, went left and ran straight for a bit before entering the tree line, the door (which you can see in the photo) would've been clearly in line of sight.

Gun 56.png

Gunsalus - exterior photos #56

Here is a photo that shows the tree line they could've entered in.

farr 69.png

Farr - scene photos #69

Remember, this is just my opinion. We do not have any information on the exact path they took. But it seems like the most plausible explanation for all of this.

As far as their claim that they went to Subway, well we do have proof of that.

Ted Varga (one of the 4th grade teachers that fled, and the school's only male teacher) called 911 twice. In the first call, you can hear him start to say Subway but got distracted by ambulances. In the second call, he clearly states they were at Subway. (Note that the first call was just around 10 minutes after it was reported that there were shadows running past the gym). 

Exhibit 349

  • Call #1 (9:48:20) – StartTime 2012-12-14 14-48-20 Logger 45170321 Channel 4 Radi

  • Call #2 (9:54:36) – StartTime 2012-12-14 14-54-36 Logger 45170321 Channel 4 Radi

In the second call, Varga states that one of the teachers was having a heart problem (an anxiety attack) and requested help. It was determined that someone from Redding PD (who was already responding to the shooting) would respond to Subway. 

Have Redding go.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00179629 p. 8

This can be confirmed in Redding Chief Fuchs's statement, who was the one that responded and then brought them to the firehouse where everyone from the school was evacuating to.

Fuchs picked them up.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00040403 p. 2

You can also confirm all this in their statements. Note, I was only able to find 4 of the 5 teacher's statements. ​

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00002095

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00005444

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00034897

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00251430 (CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00251430 as well)

So if the shadows running past the gym were the 4th grade teachers, what was McGowan talking about? Where does he fit in all this?

Like I said. There were 2 incidences simultaneously happening. On the west side of the building 4th grade teachers were fleeing from room 20. Meanwhile, Newtown PD's Officer Michael McGowan is the first to arrive at the scene (9:39:00).

McGowan arrives.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00184096 p. 5

He parks on Crestwood Drive, which is a dead end street just behind the school. As he gets out of his vehicle and begins walking to the school's fence, he hears gunfire. In the photo below I have starred where Crestwood is. You can also see the fence line. 

aerial crestwood for McGowan.png

From Sec 13 - Aerial Photos #10

Then 17 seconds from the time he arrived, McGowan hears Nute's transmission about shadows running past the gym. At that exact moment, he begins seeing a male running towards him (away from the school) on the east side of the building, screaming and holding something in his hand. McGowan then makes his infamous "Yeah we got him" transmission. 

Down Crestwood.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00179629 p. 2

After being told several times to get down, this man eventually gets down.

McGowan arrives see Manfredonia gets down.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00260187 p. 2

rawImage.jpg

This man... is Chris Manfredonia. A father of a student within the building. And his reason for being there, was to make gingerbread houses with his daughter's class that was scheduled to happen at 9:45.

He arrived some time after 9:30. When he got to the front lobby doors, he could smell sulfur and began hearing gunfire. That's when he began running to the east side of the building, in an attempt to find his daughter's class, which was Mrs. Monahan's class in room 52. 

Monahans class.png

Yup... that's right. I just said room 52. As many of you are aware, there's been a claim that his daughter was in Kaitlin Roig's class that was Room 12, in the front of the school, just left of the lobby doors. This is simply not true. Yes, they were going to make gingerbread houses that day. However, it was scheduled to happen later in the day. Actually, a Reading Specialist was scheduled to be there at 9:45, making it impossible for Manfredonia to be there for Roig's class.

going to make gingerbread houses.png

Below is from her book "Choosing Hope: How I Moved Forward from Life's Darkest Hour" page 83.

Reading Specialist.png

Making it impossible for him to be there for room 12. 

But how do I know he was there specifically for room 52? Unfortunately, it was a lot easier to prove this in 2012 or 2013 than it is in 2023. She used to have an announcement about it on her schooldesk page, which obviously no longer exists. Thankfully I think it should still be easy enough.

 

Manfredonia wasn't the only parent there that morning for the same reason. One parent in particular was already in the building and waiting just outside the classroom when the shooting began.

 

Pam Midlik was the aide for Vicky Kazlauskas who was in Room 50, just next to Monahan's. As you can see below, she claims that she went to inspect the noise (gunshots) and encountered a father who was there to make gingerbread houses. When they realized what it was, she told the father to go back to the classroom and tell the teacher to go in lockdown (meaning, not Kazlauska's class).

Midlik and father.png

In her witness statement, she clearly states that the father was there for another class.

midlik statement.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00258279 p. 1

Monahan's statement confirms that not only was she about to make gingerbread houses, but also confirms a father of one of her students had come in just as the shooting began.

Monahans statement.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 5 --1

In the father's statement, he not only confirms all of this but he also clearly describes the location of the classroom.

father waiting.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00006236

He's clearly describing the east hall. If it were really Roig's room his statement would've said something like "I walked out of the main office, turned right and to the first class on the left."

Furthermore, there was only 2 first grade classes in the east hall. And seeing how we are able to rule out Kazlauskas's class, it means that it could've only been Monahan's. 

Now that we've established that, back to Manfredonia that morning. 

At 9:36:48 he called 911, which can be heard in Exhibit 349 - StartTime 2012-12-14 14-36-48 Logger 45170321 Channel 1 Radi. It ended at 9:38:21. 39 seconds later, McGowan arrives on Crestwood Drive. Sees Manfredonia and begins running towards him along the fence line. As he's doing this, he calls out to Newtown's Sgt. David Kullgren for assistance. 

McGowan asks Kullgren for help.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00179629 p. 3

With the help of Kullgren and Newtown's Chief Michael Kehoe, Manfredonia is apprehended. 

McGowan gets help from Kehoe and Kullgren.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00260187 

According to the State Police's timeline, at 9:42:47, Kullgren cuffs Manfredonia. 

Kullgren cuffs manfredonia.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00184096 p. 9

Kullgren confirms most of this in his statement (except cuffing Manfredonia), and further says that he handed custody over to Newtown's Captian Jose Rios. 

Kullgren hands over custody to Rios.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 --1 p. 3

Here they are on Newtown Officer Liam Seabrook's dash cam (15:02 mark). Obviously that's Manfredonia on the left, and that's Rios on the right. 

manfredonia walking.png

(At some point, it was determined that he was indeed just a parent and not a suspect) and as you can see in Rios's statement, custody is handed over one more time to Oxford Constable Luke Ramirez. 

rios hands him over to ramirez.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00043911 

In Ramirez's statement, he says that he was instructed by Rios to uncuff Manfredonia. 

ramirez uncuffs him.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00167449 

Which we actually get to watch on Seabrook's dash cam footage (16:44 mark). 

uncuffing pic.png

After being uncuffed, he was told to stay back away from the school. But stayed nearby until his daughter was evacuated.

 

So why was he running away from the school though? Short answer.... we don't know. Unfortunately he never gave an explanation in his statement, which you can see below. 

Manfredonia statement 00014498.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 5 00014498

But I theorize that he saw McGowan arrive, and was running towards him for help. And yes, he could see Crestwood Dr. from his location. Below, I have marked where Monahan's room was and Crestwood Dr.

Crestwood.png

From Sec 13 - Aerial Photos #6

In the photo below, Monahan's class is located just right of the photographer, and you can clearly see a home on Crestwood.

could see crestwood.png

Gunsalus - exterior photos #17

Seems to me, what happened was, Manfredonia did indeed attempt to reach his daughter on the east side of the building. Roughly at the same time McGowan arrives on Crestwood Dr. the 4th grade teachers were fleeing from Room 20. The gym teacher sees them while attempting to cover the window to the back door, and reports this to Thorne who then relays this to dispatch. Meanwhile, Manfredonia spots McGowan's cruiser and begins running towards him for help. When dispatcher Nute reports shadows running past the gym, McGowan interprets that as being Manfredonia, who he sees running towards him. He is then apprehended but then let go after realizing he was not a suspect after all.

And this is pretty much reiterated in the States Attorney's final report. 

Mafredonia FR 17.png

page 17

manfredonia phone not gun.png

page 13

I know what some of you might be thinking... "If this means the helicopter footage wasn't Manfredonia, that must mean it was the guy in camo right?" Short answer... no. It was someone else entirely. 

Before we move on, here is a full list of police statements that mention Manfredonia.

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 --1 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00002060 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00002101 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00017426 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00026724 p. 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00028037 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00029085 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00043911 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00044171 p. 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00047345 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00167449 p. 1

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00260187 p. 2

HELICOPTER FOOTAGE OF

SUSPECTS IN THE WOODS

At some point during your research journey, you have probably come across aerial footage of police running into the woods after someone, just west of the school. Here's that footage.

You've probably also seen 2 separate claims that it was either Chris Manfredonia or a guy in camo. They've been made by not only the general public but the mainstream media as well. It's also possible that you've even seen homemade videos on YouTube or other video platforms of the footage being played with the audio from Nute announcing to arriving officers about shadows running past the gym and McGowan's transmission spotting Manfredonia upon his arrival as a means to support either argument. This might piss some people off, but neither claim is true. 

Hopefully, I have already succeeded in proving that the shadows running past the gym were the 4th grade teachers and that not only was Manfredonia not even on that side of the building, but proved that he was apprehended by the first arriving officers. So, making the claim this footage was him is illogical and quite frankly insane. It'd mean that media helicopters were there before the first arriving officers in order to capture the moment they spotted him. 

As far as the guy in camo though, all I can say at the moment is that he had a much earlier timeline and was spotted in a different set of woods. I'll be covering all of that in part 2.

According to the States Attorneys Final Report, what we're seeing is DEEP officers locating 2 journalists in the woods. 

FR 2 journalists.png

My research shows this to be true. Here's how.

Go back to the footage. Notice the door on the shed they pass is open. Luckily, we have footage of that door being breached (at the 0:46 mark in the video below).

I know the video quality isn't that superb, but it's obvious that the officer with a K9 is a female. That would be Newtown K9 Officer Felicia Figol and her K9 Baro. Here is a picture of them in the Newtown Bee.

Figol and Baro.png

Officer Figol arrived on scene at 11:11:34.

Figol arrives.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00179629 p. 17

And possibly seen at the school on Sgt. Bahamonde's dash at 11:14:12. Note that I said possibly because the transcript doesn't specify whether it was Figol and/or other K9 officers. 

Figol on dash.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00079319 p. 4

At 11:14:32, Newtown Officer Chapman mentions the shed.

Chapman mentions shed.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00179629 p. 18

(note, "digital" is just reference to a digital sound that occurred during this point in his transmission).  There's no context about this transmission, but I believe that he was just giving Kullgren an update on his location. But context doesn't really matter here. What does, is that we can watch this moment unfold in aerial footage.

Chapman is on the far right. At 0:05 you can see him use his radio. (You can also hear the transmission in Seabrook's dash cam at 1:41:18 ). Note, that the shed door is closed. 

If you keep playing the 11 hour footage video, at 11:15 am (27:56 mark) we see the shed door, still closed. Then once more at 11:18 am (31:05 mark). We don't see it again until 11:43 am (50:21 mark) with the shed door open.

shed door open at 50-21 mark 1143am.png
shed door open zoom.png

Meaning, it was opened between 11:18 - 11:36.

In Ofc. Seabrook's statement, he noted that after he, Figol and a State Trooper cleared the west exterior side of the building, he and Figol went to the front of the school and then was assigned to search the woods east of the school. They did so, making their way to Treadwell Park.

Seabrook and Figol assigned to search east.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00029085 p. 6

And indeed, we do have footage of them walking east together at 11:36. 

Admittedly, this only helps prove they were walking in an easterly direction at 11:36. However, Seabrook makes a transmission at 11:48:17 stating that they were at Treadwell Park. 

at treadwell.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00179629 p. 25

Here's where Treadwell Park is in relation to the school. 

treadwell.png

From Sec 13 - Aerial photos #1

I believe it would've taken them at least 8 - 10 minutes to get to Treadwell through the woods. Depending on their path, there is a pretty tall hill just before reaching the park. I attempted to explore it myself during my last trip there but decided to abandon it due to not having the proper footwear. (irrelevant side note: I should've abandoned it before ever entering the woods cause less than 24 hours later, I ended up in the Danbury ER with a tick in my neck and a $1,500 bill). 

Seabrook's statement then goes on to say that after they exited the tree line at Treadwell Park, they came across 2 individuals and ran their names. They're cleared and Seabrook and Figol follow the trails back to the school. 

seabrook and Figol 2 stops and head back.png

The stops occurred at 11:59:54.

white jeep names run.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00179629 p. 29

Unfortunately, this is where the Newtown Police audio transcript ends. But you can hear the whole thing via Seabrook's dash cam (at the 4:15 mark). They were both cleared just over a minute later. 

As previously noted, after the 2 individuals were cleared, Seabrook and Figol return to the school. While at the front of the school, Seabrook states that Officer Hull yelled that he heard yelling in the woods and he then ran into the woods where he encountered 3 DEP officers and Newtown Officer Flynn.

Journalists final.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00029085 p. 6 - 7

Officer Flynn confirms it in his statement. (note that he states that when asked why they were there, they said they were "reports". I believe this is a typo and he meant reporters). 

Flynn 2.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00028227 p. 2 – 3

Tpr. Katrenya III also confirms this encounter and that they were reporters in his statement (CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00024911 p. 3). 

 

Even better, we can pinpoint the exact time this encounter took place because the audio from Seabrook's dash cam (at the 28:45 mark). It occurred at 12:24:17. (Note: I have the first transmission cited as unknown because I am unsure if this is someone calling out to Ofc. Flynn or if this is Flynn himself citing his number before continuing). (It can be confirmed that Flynn is D6 in CFS 1200704559 Book 2 oo155856 p. 2). 

(12:24:17)

Unknown: "D6 we got people around back"

(12:27:17)

Flynn: "D6"

Flynn: "D6"

Dispatcher Nute: "D6"

Flynn: "Need a two thirty ten [unintelligible] let me know when you're ready"

Nute: "Go number one"

Nute: "Go number one"

Flynn: "Connecticut 057661825"

Nute: "Received" (or could be "thank you")

(12:28:21)

Nute: "Alright for number two"

Flynn: "Standby"

Flynn: "D6, got the second"

Nute: "Alright D6, just be advised on the first one that you have me, it's coming back valid on Andrew Douglas Sullivan out of Stamford 132 Woodside Green, go with number two"

Flynn: "Alright, the second one is gonna be New York 493347483"

(12:31:29)

Flynn: "D6. No hits on that right?"

Nute: "Roger, it's clean on both"

Flynn: "Roger. Just print and hold that"

Nute: "Received"

They were subsequently let go and exited the woods behind a home on Riverside Rd. How do I know? Because there's footage of them exiting the woods. (at 1:37 in the video below). 

If you pay close attention, you can see that they're carrying cameras. (I have circled them in the screenshot below).

reporters cameras circled.png

We can even pinpoint this exact location using the footage below. Note that the video quality is absolutely horrible. But you can see the one officer at the bottom of the hill and the 2 journalists exiting the woods at the very end of the video. 

(note that the building on the left, the red and white one, is a business by the name of Apex Glass). 

 

Using google maps, you can confirm that this is at 6 Riverside Rd. parallel from where we see officers running into the woods. (I've circled 6 Riverside and starred where we see the journalists exit the woods and where we see officers running to). 

locations of journalists.png

From Sec 13 - Aerial photos #11

So how do we know that this occurred at the same time? For all we know the footage of the journalists happened a couple hours later.. right? 

We know because they exited at the same time officers were on the property looking for teacher Kaitlin Roig's cellphone that was reportedly missing and had been pinged in the area. 

The team began to form up in the school's parking lot and was captured on Lt. Davis's dash cam. It needs to be noted the timestamp on his camera was off by 1 minute 21 seconds, which needs to be added to the time. So for the remainder of this article, whenever I cite his dash cam, I will give the correct time and add in parentheses "adjusted time". They were seen at 12:09:17 (adjusted time) and left to go look for it at 12:20:39 (adjusted time).

search team.png

CFS 1200704559 Book 3 00055705 p. 4

You can view the footage below starting at 1:19:01.

According to all available statements from the search team, they only searched Apex Glass and the surrounding area to include 6 Riverside Rd. 

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00007591 p. 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00017426 p. 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00011399 p. 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00019903 p. 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00028219 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00030931 p. 2 - 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00093048 p. 2 - 3

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00093087 p. 2

  • CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00251204 p. 2

After they were done, they headed back to the scene, many of them arriving back at the school where they were then capture on Davis's dash cam footage beginning at 12:54:56 (adjusted time) starting with MSgt. Gelven. 

Gelven back.png

To recap, they left the parking lot at 12:20. They headed down Riverside Rd. Searched the area before Apex Glass, then the property of Apex Glass, continued to the next property (6 Riverside Rd.) where they concluded their search and went back up to the scene by 12:54. Meanwhile, at 12:24, the journalists were spotted in the woods paralleled to 6 Riverside Rd. Their names were run and they were cleared by dispatch by 12:34 and subsequently let go. Approximating a time around 12:40-ish for them to be exiting the woods. (note that they would've been told to go back the way they came as oppose to being allowed on scene at the school and leave that way). Seeing how this was the last area they looked, the search team should've been arriving at 6 Riverside Rd. at around 12:40. 

 

To help put this into perspective, I put together a short slideshow of photos and video clips with the search team in chronological order (starting from them going down Dickinson Dr., heading down Riverside, at Apex Glass, arriving at 6 Riverside Rd. and ending with the footage of the journalists) using only those that show the officer seen in the footage with the 2 journalists exiting the woods. 

At this point, I feel that the evidence is irrefutable. 

  • The footage had to have occurred after the shed door had been breached, which occurred between 11:18 - 11:36, meaning it couldn't have been Manfredonia who was apprehended at 9:40 on the other side of the building (it also eliminates the guy in camo as well but again, I will be going into his timeline in great depth in part 2)

  • Ofc. Flynn, Ofc. Seabrook (who said he ran into the woods just like the officers seen in the footage) and other officers confirmed in their statements that just after noon, they encountered 2 journalists in the woods on the west side of the building, behind 6 Riverside Rd

  • At 12:24 Ofc. Flynn ran 2 names, who he claims were journalists and they were let go​

  • At the same time they would've been exiting the woods, 2 journalists were filmed exiting the woods behind 6 Riverside Rd. 

Maybe this won't be enough to convince some people. After all, you don't have to go far to support the theory that the footage was of Manfredonia. Even mainstream sources.

This is from The Salon's ironically titled article "Your comprehensive answer to every Sandy Hook conspiracy theory" (while simultaneously spreading conspiracy theories) published January 18, 2013.

Salon debunking disinfo by spreading disinfo.png

You can also find mainstream sources stating that it was the guy in camo. Below is from Business Insider, published on December 17, 2012.

Business Insider 2.png

But I think this is a moot argument. No different than someone trying to argue that there were 14 student victims in Room 8 (not 15) and 6 in Room 10 (not 5) because that's how it was being reported in the weeks after the shooting. It's a crutch to hold onto old but long held beliefs based on early reports that lacked the knowledge and evidence we have today. 

As far as why they were there in the woods, I think the answer is obvious. They were journalists. Getting as close to the scene as possible is their nature. 

CONCLUSION

As inconvenient as they were, these situations are not abnormal. Arriving at a scene during an active shooter is a high stress situation and no matter how experienced you are, or how well trained you are, hypervigilance will always be a factor. They perceived Thorne as a potential suspect with a weapon, when he was just an employee with a phone. Perceived Manfredonia as a suspect fleeing the scene holding a weapon, when he was just a father holding a phone, running for help. Unfortunately we don't know what happened with the guy in the brown jacket, but clearly they let him go too. It's a high stress situation for witnesses as well. A gym teacher perceived a potential threat when she noticed shadows running past the window, when they were just employees fleeing for their life.

What truly is abnormal here, is the lack of transparency. The lack of clarifications and answers. The lack of communication whatsoever to the general public that was genuinely scared. I understand that there is only so much they can divulge during "an active investigation" but they gave us nothing at all. To me, this is inexcusable.

It resulted in a mistrust of the responders, investigators and witnesses, along with an endless whirlwind of theories and speculations that persist to this day. Essentially, our hypervigilance ended up turning on the authorities and witnesses themselves.

Even though our wariness of at least the authorities are still justified, hopefully I have helped put an end to the theories and speculations regarding these particular incidences. Cause underneath all this nonsense, lies a truth we all feared. That there was indeed a person of interest that day, and we need laser point focus to determine whether or not we should be considering him as a possible suspect too. Or at the very least, another witness.

Part 2: An Actual Possible Suspect

RESOURCES:

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