Vermont State Police announces arrest in 2018 double killing in Woodbury

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Vermont State Police announces arrest in 2018 double killing in Woodbury

Wed, 11/24/2021 - 4:05pm -- tim

Vermont State Police Following an extensive investigation that began more than three years ago, the Vermont State Police has identified a suspect in connection with a double homicide that occurred in Woodbury on Oct. 30, 2018.

A judge on Wednesday afternoon, November 24, 2021, issued an arrest warrant on charges of aggravated murder and first-degree arson for Manuel Gomez, 32, of Hartford, Connecticut, in connection with the killings of 29-year-old Carol Fradette and 48-year-old David Thompson at their homes on Bliss Road in Woodbury.

Gomez is in custody at the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, on an unrelated federal conviction for illegal possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to be released next week, at which time he will face arrest on the Vermont charges.

A joint investigation by the Vermont State Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began after Fradette, Thompson, and their three dogs were shot and killed, and their residences set on fire late Oct. 30, 2018. Fradette and Thompson lived in separate residences on the same property in Woodbury. Their bodies were found in their homes, which had both been set on fire. Investigators believe the fires were intended to conceal the homicides.

Investigators determined that Gomez was selling large quantities of heroin to Thompson, who might have owed Gomez more than $20,000. Digital evidence shows that Gomez traveled to the Woodbury area from Hartford, Connecticut, on the evening of Oct. 30, 2018, and arrived at Thompson’s residence shortly before a neighbor called 911 to report a fire at the home. According to investigators and court paperwork, Gomez has denied knowledge of or involvement in the homicides. Statements from Gomez regarding his whereabouts on the evening in question contradict digital and physical evidence obtained during the investigation.

The Vermont State Police worked with the US Attorney’s Office and with Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault throughout this investigation. Participating in the case were VSP’s Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Crime Scene Search Team, Narcotics Investigation Unit, and Victim Services Unit; the Department of Public Safety Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit; the Vermont Forensic Laboratory; the Vermont Chief Medical Examiner’s Office; the ATF; and the FBI.

“My office is grateful for the hard work and persistence that went into this investigation,” Thibault said. “The Vermont State Police, with federal partners, invested significant time and resources to develop the evidence needed to support criminal charges in this complex case. The multi-agency collaboration and follow-through by the investigative team is a testament to the skill and professionalism of Vermont’s law enforcement community, and the shared commitment to seek truth and justice.”

Gomez’s arraignment in Vermont is pending his extradition from New York and has yet to be scheduled.

The Vermont State Police is unable to comment further at this time. Additional details about the case are contained in the affidavit of probable cause, which is filed in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in Barre and is expected to be made available following Gomez’s arraignment.

***Update No. 3, 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018***

The Vermont Chief Medical Examiner’s Office has positively identified the victim found at 637 Bliss Road as David Thompson.

***Update No. 2, 6:55 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, 2018***

The Vermont Chief Medical Examiner's Office has positively identified the victim found at 715 Bliss Road as Carol Fradette and determined the cause of her death to be blunt impact and a gunshot wound. The manner of death is homicide.

Positive identification for the victim found at 637 Bliss Road remains pending.

The Vermont State Police investigation into this matter is continuing. Those with information are asked to call the Middlesex Barracks at 802-229-9191.

***Update No. 1, 8:50 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, 2018***

Through investigation, the Vermont State Police has preliminarily identified the victims in this incident. Confirmation of identities is pending further testing from the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Burlington.

The preliminary identification for the victim found at 637 Bliss Road is David Thompson, 48, of that address. An autopsy at the Medical Examiner's Office has determined the cause of death to be multiple gunshot wounds, and the manner of death is homicide.

The preliminary identification for the victim found at 715 Bliss Road is Carol Fradette, 29, of 637 Bliss Road. Cause and manner of death remain pending.

Two dogs found deceased at 637 Bliss Road were each shot once.

The investigation into this matter is active and ongoing, and no further information is available at this time. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Vermont State Police in Middlesex at 802-229-9191.

***Initial news release, 12:20 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018***

On October 30, 2018, at approximately 11:10 p.m., a resident of Bliss Road in Woodbury called E911 to report that the residence across the road was fully engulfed in flames. The Woodbury Fire Department responded, and the residence on fire was determined to be located at 715 Bliss Road. While fighting the fire, firefighters observed that the adjacent residence, at 637 Bliss Road, was also on fire. The residences are approximately 150 feet apart. The Woodbury Fire Department was able to extinguish both structure fires. Inside the residence at 715, firefighters discovered human remains. Inside the residence at 637, they discovered human remains and pet remains. The Woodbury Fire Department contacted the Vermont State Police, and subsequently the Department of Public Safety Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit, the Major Crime Unit, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigations responded to Woodbury. 

This investigation is in its preliminary stages and there is limited information at this time. Work is being conducted by fire investigators to determine the origin and cause of the fire. The Crime Scene Search Team has been activated to process the scene and collect evidence. Detectives are working to determine the names of individuals who live at both residences and to identify the deceased victims. Identification of the victims and the cause and manner of their deaths will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to please contact the Vermont State Police, Middlesex, 802-229-9191. No other details are available at this time.

Source: WOODBURY, Vermont (Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021) — VSP