Concord police investigate five deaths in two-week span

  • The Crutchfield Building on Pitman Street in Concord where Marshall John Villeneuve, 64, was stabbed to death last Friday night. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Edgewood Estates off of Branch Turnpike where the murder of Nathalia Da Paixao took place on Sunday. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The house at 45 Concord Street in Concord on Monday, July 28, 2019 where a woman was found dead on Sunday. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Emerson Jaques Figueiredo —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 7/29/2019 6:46:34 PM

A Concord man accused of killing his wife will remain in custody as police investigate a string of deaths in the city over the past few days.

Emerson Jaques Figueiredo, 42, waived his right to an arraignment and chose not to face a judge in Merrimack County Superior Court on Monday. He is being held without bail in the fatal stabbing death of his wife, Nathalia Da Paixao, 35.

The case is the fifth death investigated by authorities in the Capital City since July 19. That day, a husband and wife were found dead in their home at Concord Gardens of an apparent murder-suicide.

Figueiredo was arrested Sunday after police responded to Edgewood Heights Condo Associates on Branch Turnpike, where Da Paixao had suffered multiple stab wounds. She died later that same day at Concord Hospital, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office said.

Over the weekend, police in Massachusetts arrested a man who is considered a person of interest in a murder at a Concord apartment complex Friday night.

In a fourth case, New Hampshire State Police are leading an investigation into the death of a woman on Concord Street because city authorities are tied up with other homicide investigations.

The death investigations have stretched local resources and detectives thin, requiring Concord police to request assistance for day-to-day patrols and with the investigations.

“What we’ve experienced in the last week or so is nothing short of a nightmare,” Concord police Lt. Sean Ford said in an interview Monday while awaiting the arraignment of Figueiredo. “It’s been a mentally and emotionally taxing week, too. We’ve seen some very tragic and horrific scenes. This is our job and this is what we’re trained to do, but we aren’t immune to the pain of that tragedy.”

The circumstances leading up to Da Paixao’s murder have not been released. Prosecutors filed a motion Monday to seal the affidavit in the case against Figueiredo, arguing that premature disclosure of the evidence in the case could compromise an ongoing investigation.

The state medical examiner was scheduled to perform an autopsy of Da Paixao on Monday.

Figueiredo and Da Paixao shared two children together, ages 10 and 13, and the state’s Department for Children, Youth and Families was contacted as part of the investigation.

Figueiredo has a minimal criminal record in New Hampshire that does not include any violent convictions or domestic violence-related offenses.

More than a dozen family members and friends were in court Monday to attend the arraignment and waited more than two hours outside the courtroom to learn that the hearing would not move forward as Figueiredo had waived his right to face a judge. Those in attendance declined requests to speak with members of the media.

A GoFundMe page created Monday is seeking to raise money for Da Paixao’s funeral expenses and for the children.

“Sunday July 28th we lost a friend, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a soul,” the post reads. “We are in disbelief of what happened. We lost Nathalia to a tragic incident. As her friends, her family, her support, we are coming together as a community to raise money for her funeral costs and all other costs that come alone with such a tragic death.”

Other cases

On the same day that Concord police responded to Branch Turnpike, they also received a report of an untimely death of a woman on Concord Street. Authorities have not released any additional information about the circumstances surrounding her death. New Hampshire State Police are leading the investigation in that case because Concord detectives are “maxed out” with other pending death cases, Ford said.

“In the last two weeks, we’ve had an unprecedented amount of calls that have tapped an already depleted department,” Ford said, citing a high call volume this summer, detective vacancies and patrol shifts that have been difficult to fill as officers are undergoing training. “We’re able to call upon state police who’ve offered invaluable assistance on patrol and at the investigative level. Our detectives are certainly capable but we only have so many of us to go around.”

Less than 48 hours before the calls to Branch Turnpike and Concord Street, police were on scene of a murder at the Crutchfield Building on Pitman Street. Marshall John Villeneuve, 64, of Concord was found stabbed to death in his home. While police continued to gather evidence at the scene, they also released photos of Joseph King Hanright, 29, of Methuen, Mass., who they consider “a person of interest” in the homicide.

Hanright was taken into custody Sunday in his hometown on several charges including failing to stop for police, being in possession of a stolen vehicle, receiving stolen property, interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest. He was also arrested on a warrant accusing him of absconding from the Merrimack County Drug Court. He has since waived extradition to New Hampshire.

Authorities have not said how Villeneuve and Hanright knew each other.

The homicide Sunday on Branch Turnpike was the third domestic violence-related death in the city since July 19. More than one week ago, a family member found Lila and Pal Darjee dead in their home at the Concord Gardens. Investigators say 81-year-old Pal Darjee stabbed and bludgeoned Lila Darjee to death and then stabbed himself once in the heart in a murder-suicide.

Dispatchers received a 911 call for a medcial emergency at the apartment complex off Ormond Street about 4:05 that morning. Authorities have declined to release any additional information about the incident in the past week.

According to the state court system, Pal Darjee has no criminal record in New Hampshire. Before the medical call on July 19, Concord police had not had any prior contact with the Darjees.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319 or at adandrea@cmonitor.com.)

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