Court document provides grisly details of Griswold triple murder, arson

Get the weekly rundown
Sign up to receive our weekly Legal Insider newsletter

Matthew Lindquist, named a person of interest in the Dec. 20, 2017, murder of his parents in Griswold before his own remains were discovered close to their property, conspired with a Hartford man to set up his parents for a burglary, according to a document unsealed Tuesday in New London Superior Court.

But when Lindquist, 21, became "fidgety and panicky," the would-be burglar, Sergio Correa, and his sister, Ruth Correa, allegedly bound and gagged Lindquist and stabbed him multiple times in the head, torso and extremities.

In an interview with detectives earlier this month, Ruth Correa said she and her brother left Lindquist's body in a wooded area, then went to the Lindquist home at 70 Kenwood Drive and brutally murdered the parents, Kenneth and Janet Lindquist, before setting fire to their home and fleeing with stolen items. They also are accused of taking Matthew Lindquist's car.

As Griswold first responders attended to the intentionally set fire on Kenwood Drive, Glastonbury police were called to a car fire at a luxury apartment complex. The 2003 Saturn they found was registered to Matthew Lindquist and contained spent shell casings from a .30-06 rifle, such as one owned by Kenneth Lindquist, and keys to Ford and Hyundai vehicles belonging to Kenneth and Janet Lindquist, the affidavit says.

Details of the grisly crimes, including Ruth Correa's confession and text messages exchanged by Matthew Lindquist and Sergio Correa as the Correas drove toward Griswold in the early morning hours of Dec. 20, are contained in a newly unsealed application for an arrest warrant written by Eastern District Major Crime Squad Detective Frank A. Cuoco.

Ruth Correa, 23, was arrested May 12 and charged with three counts of felony murder, murder of two or more persons at the same time, home invasion, first-degree arson and first-degree robbery.

Her adoptive brother, Sergio Correa, 26, is being held in lieu of $350,000 on unrelated drug charges while state police continue their investigation. New London State's Attorney Michael L. Regan, who is prosecuting the case, said he could not comment.

According to the affidavit, Matthew Lindquist, 21, recently had lost his job and resumed a drug habit he had struggled with for the past couple of years. He wanted narcotics, and made a deal with Sergio Correa, whose previous convictions include firearms crimes, assault, larceny, robbery and arson. They hatched a plan for Matthew Lindquist to let Sergio Correa into the Kenwood Estates home where Lindquist lived with his parents and, while his parents were sleeping, steal guns from a safe in the basement in exchange for drugs — referred to as "white fire" in text messages — and money.

But when the siblings arrived in Griswold in the darkness of the early December morning, Ruth Correa told state police that Matthew Lindquist, who met them nearby and accompanied them as they drove by the home to identify it, became "panicky and fidgety" when they parked the car down the street and got out.

"Ruth said the guy tried to run and that was when Sergio ran after him with a machete that he had in the car and hit him in the back of the head," according to the affidavit.

Sergio Correa told Matthew Lindquist he couldn't trust him because Lindquist "moved too much," and he proceeded to use zip ties and duct tape to tie Lindquist up and gag him. When Lindquist started to "yell and scream," Ruth Correa said her brother began to stab him with a knife, continuing even after Lindquist stopped moving and fell to the ground. She said Sergio gave her the knife and told her to "get him," and that when she hesitated, "Sergio grabbed her hand and guided her and she stabbed the guy in the chest 10 times."

Matthew Lindquist, whose remains were found May 5 by a dog walker just 50 feet into the woods and approximately 1,500 feet from the family home, died of stab wounds to the head, torso and extremities, according to the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Ruth Correa confessed that she and her brother left Matthew Lindquist's body and went to the Lindquist home, where they entered through the basement. She said she was armed with a golf club because Lindquist had told them about the family dog. The siblings found the locked gun safe described by Lindquist and went upstairs, where Ruth Correa said Kenneth Lindquist "got up" and went after her brother. She said Sergio Correa began hitting the father with a wooden bat while asking for the key to the safe. The family dog attacked her but ran away after she struck it twice with the golf club, Ruth Correa said.

Janet Lindquist woke up, and Ruth Correa said she took her into the bedroom while her brother continued to attack the husband. She said she told the wife she didn't want to hurt her and that she needed to give them the keys to the safe. She said the woman grew quiet and asked where her son was. Ruth Correa said she explained to Mrs. Lindquist that "the reason why this was happening was because her son had set her up."

Sergio Correa, having obtained the key to the safe, came into the bedroom with a gun and pointed it at Janet Lindquist while Ruth Correa walked around the house grabbing a laptop computer and other household items, Ruth Correa said. She said her brother began to taunt the woman and had her take out her jewelry, even though he didn't take any of it. She said when she returned to the room, her brother had tied a rope around the woman's neck and had his foot on her back.

Ruth Correa said she continued to gather the family's belongings, including a bag of what she said looked like Christmas gifts. On her last trip to the house, she said her brother began choking Mrs. Lindquist again after it looked like the woman was reaching for the phone. She said her brother grabbed a bat and hit the woman in the back of the head about four or five times.

The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Janet Lindquist died from blunt impact injuries of the head and smoke inhalation. Kenneth Lindquist died from a combination of skull fractures, hemorrhaging and cerebral bruising, according to the medical examiner.

Ruth Correa said she and her brother poured a flammable liquid found in the basement onto the floors throughout the first floor. She said Sergio Correa used a lighter on an exercise ball to start the fire. Birds were chirping but it was still dark when they loaded the stolen goods into Matthew Lindquist's car and drove away, she said. She said they retrieved Sergio's car down the road and she drove it back toward Hartford. She described how they stopped along the way, put the stolen goods into her brother's car and drove it back to Hartford.

She said she walked the railroad tracks the next day and burned the clothing she was wearing. She said she put the stolen property in a garbage chute and that her brother came over a few days later to make certain all of the stolen property was out of the house. She said she had not seen the guns they took from the house and was not sure what her brother had done with them.

"Ruth stated that before her brother was arrested, she heard from a family member that her brother was so paranoid about what had happened that he told the family member that he wanted the OK to kill her," according to the affidavit.

State police tracked the activity of cellphones belonging to Kenneth, Janet and Matthew Lindquist after the fire and said they "pinged" over the next 24 hours in the approximate area of the Sands Apartment Complex on Main Street in Hartford, where Ruth Correa lived. Sergio Correa lived nearby on Donald Street.

Detectives learned that the last outgoing call from Matthew Lindquist's phone had been placed at 12:46 a.m. on Dec. 20 to Sergio Correa. On Dec. 28, the Department of Adult Probation, Hartford police and detective Cuoco searched the apartment where Correa lived with his girlfriend, Tanisha Vincento. They seized Correa's cellphone and searched his 2003 Mitsubishi Gallant, finding a gas can, multiple knives, wound cleaner spray, a sledge hammer, assorted clothing, a Hewlett-Packard laptop and hand tools.

The detectives asked Sergio Correa to help them locate Matthew Lindquist but he said it was not his business.

As the investigation continued, an employee of the company that provides security in Ruth Correa's building told state police on Jan. 5 that Ruth Correa approached him in the hallway in late December and admitted her involvement in the crimes. She said, in part, that the police were "stupid" and would never find Matthew Lindquist. She said Lindquist was "rich" and had "pounds of weed and other stuff to steal" at the home.

"Ruth discussed how she has a thing of putting stuff in a guy's drink, 'roofies' them, gets them high, then takes their money or whatever they can get of value," reported the security guard, identified in the warrant as "Witness #1."

k.florin@theday.com

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

TRENDING

PODCASTS