East Providence Police Chief Tavares updates murder case, discusses domestic violence issues

EAST PROVIDENCE — Nearly a week on, there is no additional news to report on the murder investigation involving the victim and the so-called "person of interest," according to East Providence Police Department Chief Joseph Tavares. According to a press release issued by the EPPD on Wednesday night, Aug. 29, Andrew Jett, the aforementioned "person of interest " in the murder of 50-year-old Metacomet Avenue resident Michelle Busby, turned himself in to Baltimore, Md. police as a parole violator. Chief Tavares confirmed the information and said Mr. Jeff is awaiting extradition by sheriffs back to Rhode Island.

"There is no more I can report on the case except that the 'person of interest' did turn himself in last week," Chief Tavares said Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 4. "Obviously we've located the individual. The sheriffs will be bring him back here at an unspecified date. In the meantime, our people continue the investigation. They're conducting interviews with witnesses. They're collecting evidence to grow our case."

Prior to the arrest of Mr. Jett, the release read, the East Providence Police Department in conjunction with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office and other law enforcement partners had reportedly focused on Baltimore area as a location where Mr. Jett may be heading.

The murder victim’s vehicle has been located and will be returned to Rhode Island. East Providence Police Department detectives responded to Baltimore Wednesday evening and remain in Baltimore furthering their investigation.

Also in the release, the East Providence Police Department and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office wished to thank all their law enforcement partners, the media and the public for their assistance up to this point.

The murder of Ms. Busby was the second extremely serious case of domestic violence to occur in the city in recent weeks. Sometime late Sunday, Aug. 12, or early Monday, Aug. 13, Mario Ponte, 48, apparently left his wife, Lucy Ponte, 54, near death in their home at 6 Larchwood Drive, an area between Newport and Weeden Avenues. Mr. Ponte fled the scene and was later found dead of an apparent self-inflicted wound in a barn at Ferry Farm in Rehoboth, where he worked part time. Mrs. Ponte, according to neighbors, was found assaulted in her home by one of her two sons Monday. She remained in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital for several days after the incident. "It certainly has raised our concern. We've had a couple of these serious situations, actually more than a couple," Chief Tavares said of recent events. "A couple of years ago I predicted our next homicide in the city would be domestic in nature. We don't have the gang violence or the violence associated with nightclubs like they do in Providence. Unfortunately, I saw this coming down the line as an issue." Chief Tavares said the EPPD has attempted to be proactive in the area of domestic violence prevention. Like other crimes, however, local law enforcement can't stop all incidents from taking place. "Domestic violence is a very serious issue without any easy solutions," Chief Tavares said. "Here is East Providence, we've tried to anticipation some of the events, but unfortunately we can't prevent all of them. "We're always asking ourselves questions. Have we been there? What could we have done differently? Did we miss something? Did someone else miss something? It's a very complicated issue. I'm glad to report we've responded in a positive manner in most of the cases, but that's no consolation to victims when we don't." The EPPD, through grants mostly, has access to a social worker, Christine Santos. Chief Tavares said several other avenues are available to both law enforcement and victims, but it's incumbent upon those involved in these matters to report occurrences. "It does no one any good to have victims sit in silence. We need them, their families, their children to report these incidents when they happen. It should not wait," the Chief continued. "Because if we have probable cause we will arrest the suspect even without the victim. But to successfully prosecute the case, we do need the victim to come forward. "Domestic violence is a crime of control, abuse, of victimization. It's not random. It's targeted violence," he added. "But there are more and more resources available out there every day and victims need to reach out." Chief Tavares noted all victims of crime can dial 911 for immediate assistance from law enforcement. For those other case, he urged victims to call the EPPD's non-emergency number of 435-7600 to speak with an officer or a social worker.  


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