Police, fire officials release new details in New London homicide-suicide
New London — Police and fire department officials on Friday released details about a homicide-suicide that left a young couple dead Wednesday night in New London.
Arisleidy Batista-Bido, 18, was found unresponsive inside the home she shared with her boyfriend at 48 Granite St., Apt. 7. She was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Nikeuri Rodriguez-Vargas, 20, was found dead inside the apartment, police said.
Fire officials determined that the fire at the home was intentionally set inside their apartment, according to a statement from New London Fire Marshal Vernon Skau.
About 7:56 p.m. Wednesday New London police were responding to reports of a shooting near Granite Street when they learned of a fire at 48 Granite St. The couple was found inside the apartment where the fire was burning and investigators were still trying to piece together the events of the night.
The couple had been living in the apartment together for about four months, according to friends of Batista-Bido.
Janiyah Williams, a close friend of Batista-Bido who was with her at the apartment just hours before the homicide-suicide-arson, said the couple had been fighting. Batista-Bido wanted to break up with Rodriguez-Vargas, she said, and the 20-year-old was threatening to end his life if she did.
The last words Williams heard her friend say were, "What's he going to do, kill me?" as she headed back into their apartment to confront Rodriguez-Vargas about their rent money, which he'd threatened to steal.
Batista-Bido, who had moved here from the Dominican Republic at least six years ago and graduated from New London High School in 2020, was killed just a few hours later. She died of multiple gunshot wounds to her head, torso and extremities, the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Thursday. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Rodriguez-Vargas died of a single gunshot wound to the head and his death was ruled a suicide, according to the medical examiner.
After investigating the scene of the fire, fire officials from the New London Fire Marshal's Office, New London Police Department and Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Unit determined that the blaze was not an accident. The fire was contained to the couple's third-floor apartment and caused "a moderate amount of damage," according to a statement from Skau.
Skau said investigators collected evidence at the scene related to how the fire was started, but did not release any further details.
On Wednesday night, everyone who lived in the building was evacuated and being assisted by the American Red Cross. The large white-and-blue house has nine rental units in total, Skau said, and at least nine people were living there at the time of the fire.
"They were temporarily relocated during the investigation of this tragic incident," Skau said.
As of Friday morning, they had all been allowed to return to their homes.
Police said their investigation into the incident was still ongoing. Anyone with information was asked to contact the New London Police Department at (860) 447-5269, ext. 0, or text NLPDtip plus the tip to Tip411.
If you or someone you know feels unsafe, you can contact the Safe Futures 24/7 Confidential Hotline at (860) 701-6001 or call the Statewide Safe Connect Number (888) 774-2900.
The phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is (800) 273-8255.