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Monday, July 22, 2013

String of high-profile crimes hit Nashua during the last month; many still lack answers

NASHUA – Nashua feels like a city under siege these days.

In quick succession during the last month, there’s been a double murder, an unexplained death next door, a mysterious house explosion that killed a man, a murder-suicide, and a missing woman found dead in her car on a city street. ...

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NASHUA – Nashua feels like a city under siege these days.

In quick succession during the last month, there’s been a double murder, an unexplained death next door, a mysterious house explosion that killed a man, a murder-suicide, and a missing woman found dead in her car on a city street.

And just last week there was a body found in the Merrimack River, a bank robbery in the center of downtown and a man who robbed a woman at bayonet-point. Not to mention the more routine assaults, burglaries and thefts that police respond to every day.

Those stories barely got any notice, given the drama and tragedy that has plagued the city since a double murder on Newbury Street on June 17.

But maybe what makes those deaths weigh heavier is that few have been solved, which makes police clam up and offer limited information.

Nashua Police Chief John Seusing knows it. His detectives are exhausted, and residents are demanding answers.

“Sometimes, it’s feast or famine,” he said. “Unfortunately, over the last two months, we have been very busy with these very significant events. I do think it’s important that we get as much information out as possible. I do think we’ve released as much information as we can on these.”

What police – and, in some of these investigations, the Attorney General’s Office – have released has been limited.

The biggest questions surround the violent slayings of William and Eleanor Grant, who were found stabbed to death inside their 37 Newbury St. home June 17.

There has been no information released regarding how many killers there were, how the home was entered, the nature of the Grants’ injuries or whether police have developed anyone as a suspect. Seusing repeated this week that he simply can’t release any more information about the case without jeopardizing parts of the investigation.

He also repeated that the case is the department’s “top priority” and that detectives have been pulled back from some of their other cases to work on the Newbury Street murders full-time, often around the clock.

“These investigations, they just need to be investigated thoroughly and without any delays,” he said. “I have many detectives who work around the clock. They don’t get a lot of sleep. They don’t see their families much during these times.”

One thing that deepened neighbors’ concerns was an unattended death in the apartment next door to the Grants’ home.

Several residents identified the body that police removed from an apartment next door to the Grants’ home as that of Shawn Burne. So far, neither Seusing nor the Attorney General’s Office has said whether that death is connected to the Grants’ murders, though Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said his office isn’t investigating any other homicides in the area.

The double murder was only the first in a barrage of city crimes and deaths that has picked up recently.

On July 10, an explosion and fire on Carlisle Road killed Alfred Demeusy, 65, and caused fears in that neighborhood that a gas leak may have been to blame.

Utility workers and fire inspectors quickly determined that was not the case, but Assistant Fire Marshal Eric Berube said last week that it will be at least a month, maybe two, before test results by fire investigators and the state medical examiner find more answers about what happened.

Just a few days later, police found another two dead bodies in a residential neighborhood. This time, they were able to say what happened fairly quickly.

Police found the bodies of Reginald and Mary Danboise in their Middle Dunstable Road home. Police soon told reporters that it appeared the couple had died as the result of a murder-suicide. On Monday, an autopsy confirmed that Reginald Danboise had stabbed his wife in the chest, killing her, and then hanged himself, according to police.

Also on July 13, Nashua Police confirmed that they had found the body of 29-year-old mother Sarah McCormack in a car hidden in some bushes off Temple Street.

The car was found a few days after police announced they were looking for the woman, who had been missing since June 26.

Police found McCormack’s gray Saab around 3:30 p.m. across from 103 Temple St., flipped over and obscured by heavy vegetation.

What happened to McCormack in her final days remains a mystery, though Seusing said police are still investigating. Nashua Police Lt. Michael Moushegian said an autopsy was unable to determine the cause and manner of her death because of the condition of her body when it was discovered.

“It’s not that we have that information and we’re not releasing it,” Seusing said. “It’s that we don’t have the answers and it’s still being investigated.”

What would normally be front-page stories have gone all but unnoticed in the wake of all of the deaths and crime.

A man robbed a bank in the center of downtown Nashua on Monday and was arrested Wednesday. Another man was arrested and charged with holding his mother hostage in a bathroom overnight and then using a bayonet to force her to withdraw money from an ATM.

On Wednesday, a body was discovered floating in the Merrimack River near the Sagamore Bridge. Police revealed Friday the man’s cause of death was suicide by drowning.

The man’s death would be the tenth drowning in New Hampshire since early June and the seventh in about two weeks.

Seusing said what he hopes city residents keep in mind is that, although it may seem like a crime wave is plaguing the city, the incidents have been unrelated from one another.

“I think most people would see they’re not related to the other in most cases,” he said. “They probably have the same feelings we do, that we’ve just had a run of some pretty significant incidents in the city. We’ve been busier in this short amount of time than we’ve seen in quite some time.”

Joseph G. Cote can be reached
at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote
on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).