The suspect in a 2018 double homicide in Woodbury is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Barre.
Manuel Gomez, 32, of Hartford, Connecticut, is expected to appear after 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court for Washington County. Members of the media should call the Court Clerk’s Office prior to arraignment to confirm details of the hearing.
Following an extensive investigation that began more than three years ago, the Vermont State Police Nov. 24 identified Gomez in connection with a double homicide that occurred in Woodbury on Oct. 30, 2018.
A judge on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 24, issued an arrest warrant on charges of aggravated murder and first-degree arson for Gomez 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 U.S. 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.