Violent Crimes Hitting Too Close to Home


From left, Jennifer Dulos, Sterling Jette, and Della Jette are recent victims of violent crimes in Connecticut suburbs. (Photos courtesy of the New Canaan Police Department and Facebook)

Izzy DiNunzio, Reporter

WOODBURY — Is Woodbury really safe?

Jennifer Dulos, Della Jette and Sterling Jette, and Rachel Sebetlela, and Louis Vasquez are just a few names of recent victims of violent crime in Connecticut. These crimes all happened relatively close to Woodbury, a town people call safe.

“Woodbury is a safe town,” said Woodbury resident Lisa DiNunzio, a mother of three. “I moved to the Bethlehem/Woodbury area because it’s rural and I felt safe. Yeah, you hear about violent crime happening everywhere else but you never really think it’ll happen around you.”

Jennifer Dulos, a mom of five, went missing in May 2019. Her case captivated the whole nation. Her case started in New Cannan and has made its way through Connecticut. Her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, was charged with her murder and subsequently took his own life. Jennifer is still missing. Her disappearance sparked walks such as “Purple with Purpose,” a memorial for Jennifer’s 52nd birthday to end domestic violence.

Della Jette and Sterling Jette Jr. were Watertown teenagers who attended Kaynor Tech High School in Waterbury. Both were shot and killed by their mother’s boyfriend, Paul Ferguson, in December 2019. According to Eyewitness News 3, Della had gotten into an argument with Ferguson over smoking. Sterling intervened after Ferguson got his gun. After shooting Della and Sterling, Ferguson shot and killed himself.

“All this makes me feel like it’s right outside our door,” DiNunzio said. “You don’t know who’s living next door to you. You don’t know what they are capable of. It makes you feel like you have to be on guard. You have to be more aware of your surroundings.”

Rachel Sebetlela’s remains were found in Black Rock State Park in Watertown on Sept. 12. She had been reported missing July 13. A Waterbury couple has recently been charged with her murder. Miles Johnson and Casandra Nazario the two suspects have been placed on $1 million bond. According to Eyewitness News 3, Sebetlela and Johnson had been romantically involved for the past two years. Nazario was his girlfriend at the time and eventually found out he was seeing Sebetlela. This was a love triangle that ended in blood. Nazario and Johnson went to Sebetlela’s apartment. In a confession, Johnson said after a confrontation with Sebetlela she tried to charge him with a knife. After a struggle he stabbed her in the neck and Nazario stabbed her in the back.

Luis Vasquez was killed in a shooting in Waterbury on Oct. 7. According to NeighborhoodScout, the possibility of becoming a victim of violent crime in Waterbury is 1 in 225, while the overall chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Connecticut is 1 in 482.

With Woodbury being just a few minutes away from Waterbury and some other communities that have recently seen violent crimes, it gives reason for some local residents to worry.

“It’s kind of scary,” Nonnewaug freshman Kaitlyn Monteiro said. “I think Woodbury is safe. It makes me worry a little bit and it’s so sad because any of this could happen to anyone anywhere.”