Family wants review of police response to fatal hostage-taking of W.Pa. native, family in Connecticut
HARTFORD — Six years after a deadly home invasion, officials still refuse to answer questions about the emergency response, and — unlike other communities where notorious killings have occurred — there apparently has been no formal review of the police department's actions.
Two paroled burglars broke into the Cheshire home on July 23, 2007, and killed Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, after holding them hostage for hours. Hawke-Petit's husband, Dr. William Petit, was severely beaten with a baseball bat but survived.
Hawke-Petit's family has been seeking answers from police ever since. They want to know why officers didn't enter the home before Hawke-Petit was strangled and the intruders set a fire that killed Hayley and Michaela.
“All I've ever wanted is for the truth to come out about this,” Hawke-Petit's sister, Cynthia Hawke-Renn, said Thursday. “This was like our own personal 9/11. If 9/11 had happened to our country and there were no reviews that were done ... it's like 9/11 happened and everybody walked away and said ‘oh well.' ”
Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, is the daughter of the Rev. Richard and Mary Belle Hawke of Slippery Rock. She met her husband in 1985 on a pediatric rotation at Children's Hospital when he was a third-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh and she was a new nurse.
Questions about the police response resurfaced this week after HBO aired a documentary on the killings Monday and The Hartford Courant reported about audio recordings of police dispatch and phone calls it recently obtained.
Police Chief Neil Dryfe and Town Manager Michael Milone declined to comment about the police response.
“To say anything about this is not going to serve any constructive purpose,” Milone said.
The recordings obtained by the newspaper showed that a town hostage negotiator was told not to report to the Petits' home and that a police official initially had doubts about whether the family was in danger.
The Courant also reported, citing Milone, that police have never reviewed their response to the home invasion.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Study a surprise: Commercial bees unfazed by pesticides
- Hostages slain in CIA drone strike in Pakistan, Obama tells nation
- Baltimore resident’s death in police custody draws hundreds in protests
- Senate ends five-month wait, confirms Lynch as U.S. attorney general
- $10B private-physician program serves few vets
- Popeyes offers to rehire fired mom
- New York’s ‘smart grid’ research could influence other areas
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Sen. Sanders slows down “fast-track” trade bill
- Alarm at George H.W. Bush’s home broken for 13 months, watchdog says
- Arizona Sheriff Arpaio investigated wife of judge in racial profiling lawsuit