Kidnappers slaughter top doctor’s family

TWO men were charged with burglary, arson and sexual assault for allegedly breaking into a doctor’s home, forcing a hostage to withdraw cash at a bank and setting the house on fire several hours later, killing the doctor’s wife and two daughters.

William Petit Jr, a prominent endocrinologist, was severely injured and was the sole survivor of Monday’s attack.

The suspects were caught fleeing the burning home, which they apparently set on fire to cover their tracks, authorities said.

Joshua Komisarjevky, 26, of Cheshire, and Steven Hayes, 44, of Winsted, were due in court last night on charges of assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery and arson.

State police said that additional charges were likely.

Bank employees contacted police when one of the suspects accompanied a female hostage, who was not identified, to make a withdrawal on Monday morning.

Dr Petit’s wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, were found dead in the home, a law enforcement official said.

The attack rocked Cheshire, an upper-middle class community.

“In Cheshire we’re not used to this type of event,” town Police Chief Michael Cruess said. “It’s a very unfortunate, tragic event that’s probably going to reach right down to the core of the community.”

Hayley Petit was a fundraiser for multiple sclerosis and captain of the basketball and crew teams.

“She was such a good, good person,” said Ms M Burch Tracy Ford, headmistress at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington.

Jennifer Hawke-Petit was a nurse and co-director of the health centre at Cheshire Academy, a private boarding school.

“They’re just a lovely family,” said the Rev Ronald A Rising, a neighbour for more than a decade. “You don’t think about those things happening.”

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox