UPDATE: Police arrest three as search for suspected murderer continues

Published on Friday, 8 February 2019 20:03
Written by Charles Paullin


NEW BRITAIN — A woman reported missing and linked to alleged murderer Benjamin Morales has been found safe, while three other people have been arrested in the search for Morales, New Britain police said Friday.

Morales, 42, is suspected of shooting his girlfriend Alice Marie Figueroa, 28, to death Monday afternoon at their apartment at 39 Elam St. He is still at large.

Virgen Figueroa, who is not related to the dead woman, was reported missing Wednesday by family and was with Morales until she turned herself in to police, Acting Deputy Chief Jeannette Portalatin said Friday.

Portalatin said Virgen Figueroa is talking with police but was unable to say if she was with Morales voluntarily or against her will. Morales was dating Virgen Figueroa, in addition to being in a relationship and living with Alice Figueroa, Portalatin did say.

Two family members of Morales, Odalys Morales, 18, and Ramon Morales, 48, both of 17 Chapman St. were arrested Thursday, by police after allegedly misleading and/or providing assistance to the murder suspect.

Odalys Morales was charged with interfering and Ramon Morales was charged with second-degree hindering prosecution and interfering.

Portalatin said the warrants for their arrest have been sealed and she declined to explain how they aided Morales.

Later Friday night, Putnam police released info saying a Sharod Pipkin, 29, of Putnam, was arrested for allegedly to have provided aid and assistance to Morales. Putnam is in the northeast corner of the state along the Rhode Island border.

Pipkin was caught after brief foot pursuit, and found in possession of handgun ammunition, police said. He is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing ammunition, police said.

Pipkin was charged with first-degree hindering prosecution, interfering with an officer, criminal possession of ammunition and possession of marijuana less than ½ ounce.

The two family members were arraigned in New Britain Superior Court Friday and bonded out for less than $100,000. Pipkin was held at Putnam Police headquarters on a combined bond of $200,000.

“We’re trying to send a message,” Portalatin said. “If you’re helping him, we’ll arrest you too … how he’s getting his means to get from place to place, he’s got to be receiving help from somebody.”

New Britain police said Friday they believe Morales may still be in the Hartford area, particularly the south end, and operating an unregistered older model red Subaru Forester. He is still considered armed and dangerous, and was in the local area as of two days ago, Portalatin said.

Hartford police are assisting in the search.

“(Morales) is watching,” Portalatin said. “His best option is to turn himself in.”

Alice Figueroa was described by a neighbor as a working mom with two kids under 5 years old. Portalatin would not elaborate on the children.

The New Britain and Berlin YMCA’s were placed on lockdown the day after the shooting in case Morales went there, Portalatin said, and an officer remains on patrol in the area in case he returns because at least one of the children was in a daycare program at the Y.

Anyone with information on this case or on the whereabouts of Morales is asked to contact Lt. Adam Rembisz at 860-826-3131. Anonymous tips can be called in to 860-826-3199 or submitted via newbritainpolice.org.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Friday, 8 February 2019 20:03. Updated: Friday, 8 February 2019 20:56.