Police on Friday arrested a Connecticut man accused of brutally murdering his 11-month old daughter, culminating a two week-long manhunt involving the FBI in a case that one police official called “horrific and gruesome.”
Officials arrested Christopher Francisquini, 31, in Waterbury, Connecticut on Friday afternoon, a city about six miles north of the town of Naugatuck, where he was accused of killing his then-11-month-old daughter, Camilla, who was found dead of neck compressions and stab wounds and dismembered on Nov. 18 in Francisquini’s home, police said.
Naugatuck Police Chief Colin McAllister told reporters Friday night that Waterbury Police took Francisquini into custody shortly after 3 p.m., after a citizen who believed he recognized Francisquini at a bus stop, at 400 Grand Street, called police to report the sighting. Francisquini had altered his appearance but was still recognizable, McAllister said.
A video shared by the Naugatuck Police Department shows armed officers encircling Francisquini at the bus station and demanding he get down on the ground before they moved in to arrest him.
Francisquini is being held on $5 million bond, McAllister said, adding that he will appear in Waterbury Superior Court for a hearing on Monday morning.
Two week-long manhunt
The Naugatuck Police Department obtained an arrest warrant for Francisquini on charges of murder with special circumstance and risk of injury to a minor two days after Camilla was found dead. The FBI said the child was stabbed to death and offered $25,000 for information leading to Francisquini’s arrest and conviction, noting that he “should be considered armed and dangerous and mentally unstable.”
It was not immediately clear whether the person who called in the tip on Friday would receive that reward money. A spokesperson for the FBI New Haven field office did not immediately respond to an inquiry.
McAllister told reporters authorities can’t rule out additional charges or further arrests given that they are still investigating Francisquini’s whereabouts over the past two weeks.
“We can’t rule out that there may be additional arrests if we can determine that somebody was assisting or helping him,” the police chief said.
McAllister said officers on the case were “driven by their commitment to the cause of bringing justice to baby Camilla.”
“They are going to continue to carry with them, this case, probably for the rest of their lives — this is something that isn’t going to be forgotten by any members of this agency, just due to the nature of this case,” he added.
Authorities also credited community members with helping to facilitate Francisquini’s arrest.
“Francisquini’s capture is a clear example of what can be accomplished when community members work with law enforcement to take dangerous individuals off the street,” the department said in a tweet Friday night. “Within 28 hours of asking the public’s help he was taken into custody without incident and will face now justice.”
An ‘extensive criminal history’
Before his arrest, Francisquini was believed to have last been seen on Nov. 18, when police say security video captured him walking down Quinnipiac Avenue in New Haven. Police also said Francisquini had abandoned a gray 2006 Chevrolet Impala he was driving on Interstate 91 in New Haven near Exit 8 shortly after the alleged murder, NBC Connecticut reported.
McAllister has said Francisquini and Camilla’s biological mother were in a dispute in Waterbury on the morning of the alleged murder, and that authorities believe Camilla was killed before the dispute.
He also said earlier in the investigation that police arrived at the grisly scene of the alleged murder after someone in the house called 911 to report that Camilla was dead.
Francisquini, who McAllister has said has an “extensive criminal history,” was out on special parole when he is alleged to have committed the crime, and he was wearing a court-ordered tracking device he is believed to have cut off the day of the alleged murder, McAllister said. Special parole is a period of additional supervision that a judge can order someone to serve as part of their sentencing after they have served out their maximum prison sentence, according to information from Connecticut’s Office of Legislative Research.
Court records show that Francisquini was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years on special parole on a first-degree felony assault charge in 2013. He has also been arrested on several other charges since then, including a misdemeanor charge of interfering with an officer this year, for which he was sentenced to unconditional discharge.
It was not immediately clear how much prison time Francisquini had served prior to the Friday arrest.
‘She mainly just smiled’
Camilla was laid to rest in a private ceremony on Nov. 26 “surrounded by her family and loved ones,” police posted on social media that day, along with a photo of Camilla.
“We recognize that a loss such as this has a profound impact on both our officers and our community,” that post said.
Saturday — the day after Francisquini’s arrest — would have been Camilla’s first birthday, according to a tweet posted by the Naugatuck Police Department. Locals gathered at a vigil in Naugatuck in the baby’s honor, NBC Connecticut reported.
“I’ve been trying not to cry and everything, because I just want to keep my baby’s smile and laughter,” Camilla’s mother, Kristyl, said at the vigil, according to NBC Connecticut. “That’s all she did. She hardly cried. She mainly laughed. She mainly just smiled.”