Call it a slow-breaking homicide.

In New Britain, Connecticut, a woman whose obituary said she had died on March 1 was revealed more than a week later to have been the victim of a possible murder. The woman, 71-year-old Lauren “Laurie” Gualano, a retired educator, died from blunt trauma to her “head, neck, torso and extremities, with neck compression,” Hearst Connecticut reporter Christine Dempsey wrote on March 11, citing the state medical examiner’s office, which said it was treating Gualano’s death as a homicide.

Dempsey also said on Twitter/X: “This is probably the first time in my career that a police department did not release any information about a homicide. Not even where it happened, or when.” According to her story:

New Britain police did not release any information about the homicide and did not return phone or emailed messages Monday, and in a written response to a call and text message Monday morning, [Rachel] Zaniewski [a spokeswoman for the mayor] said, “this situation is still being actively investigated, so unfortunately, I don’t have any additional updates on my end at this point.”

The city has a policy of directing the media to the mayor’s office, instead of the police or fire departments, for information about public safety matters.

This morning, Hearst reported that Gualano’s son, Nicholas Legienza, 39, was in custody and was under investigation for his possible involvement.

Under public records laws in most states, including Connecticut, the police are not required to release detailed information about a crime if that would impede their investigation. But sitting on a possible murder for more than a week and not confirming it even after the state medical examiner called the death a homicide is a violation of the public trust. For that, the New Britain Police Department has earned a New England Muzzle Award.

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