Eight years after Anthony Hamlin's battered body was discovered in a field in Ledyard, his family members have planned a vigil in the downtown New London area where he was last seen in an effort to help revive the police investigation into his death.
Hamlin's family and friends will gather on the Parade Plaza at the intersection of Bank and State streets at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The purpose of the event, which is expected to last about an hour, is to call attention to the unsolved homicide. The public is welcome.
"Everything is just a bit too quiet," said Hamlin's mother, Darlene Hamlin of Groton. "We want to shake the bushes a little bit. We want some closure on this, and we want those who committed this gruesome and heartbreaking crime to be prosecuted."
The 40-year-old Hamlin, a member of the Eastern Pequot Tribe and a father of five, was last seen in the area of Union Station in downtown New London on the night of Jan. 27, 2006. He had accepted a job as a surveyor's assistant in Hampton, Va., and told family members he was planning to catch a southbound train at 11 p.m. He talked to his sister, Casandra Rookwood, on the phone that evening, telling her he was going to pick up a sandwich at Subway, which is around the corner from the train station at 2 Bank St., before catching the train.
Hamlin's body was discovered in a field off Shewville Road in Ledyard about 8:30 a.m. the next morning. He died from blunt trauma to the head, and his killer or killers left him face down and naked in a former horse pasture.
Darlene Hamlin said she has kept in touch with the state police detectives who are investigating her son's death, including Ryan Luther, the case officer from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad. Two years ago, the state offered a reward of $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Hamlin's death. Hamlin said she would like to see the reward amount increased and more resources devoted to the investigation of her son's death.
New London State's Attorney Michael L. Regan said the investigation remains active. At his request, the coordinator of the New London County/Southeastern Connecticut Cold Case Task Force met recently with members of the state police to discuss the Hamlin case. The task force draws officers from several local police agencies to take a fresh look at unsolved homicide cases.
"We're talking about how the regional resources can be helpful," said Inspector Kenneth Edwards Jr. from the Office of the Chief State's Attorney, who was recently assigned to coordinate the cold case group.
Darlene Hamlin said she is hoping and praying this is the year the case will be resolved. As a spiritual woman, she said she believes there are signs that something is about to happen and that Anthony has visited her and other family members in dreams.
"Every day I'm anticipating the phone to ring or a knock on the door," she said.
This past Saturday, with the support of family members, Hamlin visited the exact spot where her son's body was found, something she never had the strength to do before now. She has participated, at times, in the Survivors of Homicide support group, and has fought to maintain her dignity and composure in the face of the tragedy.
"I've come a long way," she said. "But you're not going to kill anybody, especially someone who was well-loved, and think that this is all forgotten. We are not just going to go on with our lives."
Had he survived, Anthony Hamlin would have become a grandfather for the first time this past fall, when his oldest daughter, Bethany, gave birth to a boy, Blayze.
Hamlin's cousin, Kalia Griffin, said during a recent phone interview that she believes "somebody saw more than they are saying" the night Hamlin was killed. Those people need to come forward, she said.
"We need to let whoever is involved in this know we are united and we have not forgotten," Griffin said.
She said Hamlin told her, in a dream, that the family needs to make a stand.
"He says, Kee, you need to rally the family, put it back out there, because the time is coming," Griffin said during a recent interview.
Anyone with information about Hamlin's death is asked to call state police at (860) 848-6500 or the New London State's Attorney's Office at (860) 443-2835.