Police probe suspicious death at Comfort Inn

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 5:42 AM EST
By Rachael Scarborough KingRegister Staff

OLD SAYBROOK — A man found seriously injured in the parking lot of the Essex Road Comfort Inn Sunday night died of multiple blunt-force trauma, according to the chief state medical examiner’s office.

The Police Department and the medical examiner’s office are investigating the circumstances of the death of Middletown resident Felix Diaz, 57, which the department is calling suspicious and untimely.

Police have identified a person of interest in the investigation: Elena Hernandez, 49, of Manchester.

Hernandez was not in police custody Monday night, Deputy Police Chief Michael Spera said.

The department seized a car in the investigation, but would not say Monday whether a hit-and-run accident may have caused Diaz’s death.

Spera did not identify the owner of the car.

Police responded to the hotel parking lot at 8:15 p.m. Sunday to find Diaz unconscious, unresponsive and with serious injuries. He was taken to the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center in Essex, where he died.

A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said an initial examination showed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

She did not know where on his body Diaz suffered the injuries.

Spera said Diaz was a registered guest at the Comfort Inn, but did not disclose any information about why he was staying in Old Saybrook.

Spera added that police believe the death was an “isolated incident.”

“Residents who reside in the area of the Comfort Inn should not be concerned,” he said.

An employee answering the phone at the Comfort Inn said she could not give out any information about the events.

Police are being assisted in the investigation by the state police Major Crime Squad, Spera said. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police at (860) 395-3142.

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