A Murdered Infant ‘Left As Garbage, Completely Dehumanized,’ A Plea For Justice, Can You Help?

Lake Mohegan
Crime scene from Lake Mohegan open space in Fairfield, March 14, 1986. The infant was found wrapped among the plastic on the ground just to the left of the green garbage barrel.

Connecticut has experienced unimaginable horror against children that will never be forgotten. It’s difficult to think about, whether in mass killings or in isolation, the slaughtering of innocents. Fairfield Lieutenant Mike Gagner and Detective Kerry Dalling spend their days probing, poking, interviewing and analyzing the events from March 14, 1986 to ensure the gruesome discovery of an infant boy just one day old is not forgotten, or in the name of the boy “Victor” that judicial victory is within reach. Case evidence leads back to Bridgeport and the possibility a member of the ruthless drug gang The Number One Family was involved.

Fairfield town workers that day discovered the gruesome remains of a day-old boy who had been suffocated, his jaw broken, in what police say included a sacrificial Santeria-like religious practice, at the town-owned Lake Mohegan. The newborn was draped in pajamas with pieces of fruit, coins and food signifying a religious ritual traditionally performed on chickens. “Left as garbage, completely dehumanized,” according to Detective Dalling.

In 1986, where Sym’s clothing store now stands on Commerce Drive at the Fairfield and Bridgeport border, a red brick building housed a bank data-processing center. Police investigators believe a baby was born in a bathroom stall there, according to witnesses.

Just minutes away, the leading symbol of arrogance in those days, Mariano Sanchez had built a ruthless drug empire called “The Number One Family.” Law enforcement officials believe responsible parties had knowledge of Santeria-like religious practices associated with the drug gang that gravitated to the Lake Mohegan area.

St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church in the West End of Bridgeport became the flashpoint for violence in the city.

Monsignor Francis Campagnone and Father Nick Villamide were taunted ruthlessly by the gang members in 1986. They pelted the monsignor with eggs, blocked his entrance into the parking lot of the church. Helpless neighborhood citizens were beaten, roughed up, shot at. Many neighbors were captives in their homes as streets became drug markets for buyers. One day the monsignor stuck his phone outside the window of his church so the cops could hear the gunfire.

It led Mayor Tom Bucci to call for a community meeting at the church to address neighborhood concerns. Gang members had the temerity to taunt the mayor and police from the back of the room and leave packets of cocaine and human feces on the floor of the church bathroom. Bucci wasn’t convinced, with all the crime, murders and violence, he had the local resources to take out the drug gang. He arranged a meeting with then U.S. Attorney Stan Twardy, members of the local field office of the FBI and Connecticut’s Drug Enforcement Administration. In front of about 20 federal agents Twardy assured his office would make an unprecedented showing. Twardy and federal agents were true to their word.

City police officers Billy Chase (now retired) and Ron Bailey (still active) were key local law enforcement officials who worked with federal agents to bring down loads of bad guys and bring some peace to the neighborhood.

Violence from that era still remains unresolved including baby Victor, the identity of his parents and those responsible for his murder. Law enforcement has a tool today–DNA–that was unavailable in 1986. It’s helping police along the way, but police still need public assistance.

The governor’s office has authorized a $25,000 reward in this case for information leading to an arrest in the unsolved murder of baby Victor. Anyone with information regarding the 1986 homicide is asked to call the Fairfield Police Department’s Detective Division at 203-254-4840. All calls will be kept confidential. Interview with Detective Dalling follows:



  1. UNBELIEVABLE. I believe Kerry Dalling will solve this case. I AGREE WITH HER IN QUESTIONING THE SANTERIA RITUAL. I WOULD HOPE THAT WASN’T THE CASE. Was the Church in question the same church where Mayor Paoletta got shot in the leg in 1994? The story is disturbing at any rate. I hope there is peace for “baby Victor.” I am certain the guilty will pay one way or another.

  2. Steve, do the math! 1994 is 8 years after 1986.
    Mariano Sanchez was raised on State Street, the same area where I grew up. When I was in my teens, Mariano used to sell marijuana on the State Street area like what seems hundreds of others did. By 1983, I was on my third year of high school at Bassick. That summer, Tony Montana’s movie “Scarface” hit the screens. This was during the period Pablo Escobar ruled the cocaine market worldwide. Mariano, like many other street dealers started selling cocaine some time after Scarface. In 1986 I lived at 83 Clinton Avenue precisely on the main spot where just about all the dealing took place. There were four six-family houses that are no longer there. Out of the about 2 dozen teens growing up in this area, I was one of the few who graduated high school and by that time, all or most were selling for Mariano. Mariano wasn’t a violent person when compared to others dealing in other spots. From Hancock Avenue down State Street as far as Park Avenue, there was drug dealing from weed to heroin. Even on side streets like Hanover, Yale, Wordin. If Mariano and his organization was so violent, there wouldn’t be others competing for the cocaine market like it was. For years, I’ve heard people say drug dealing is easy money.
    It’s fast money with extreme danger. When fast money comes and the stick-up kids know it, they eventually come to take it. Ruben Ramos and Crazy Eddie come to mind. They were two men who made a career of robbing dealers and they dared to rob Mariano’s dealers. That’s when most of the gunshots rang out. Many of the shootings had nothing to do with Mariano or Clinton Avenue. Mariano used to spend thousands of dollars on just fireworks–so much it would last for four months. I recall one murder that involved his runners and Ricardo Montanez was convicted. The man was beaten and Rick came over to kneecap him and hit a main artery instead and the guy bled to death. Rick was one strong muscular guy and I don’t understand why he used a gun. I didn’t see this as I had moved by then.
    I never heard of Mariano ever turning in anyone let alone a connection or friend. I never heard of Santeria being practice by any one of these guys who sold for him. I can’t see Mariano cooperating especially if he was the father of Victor. He could get any girl if he wanted as he had power that came due to the money. By 1987, there were quite a number of people dealing and Mariano wasn’t around most of the time. While the affiliates of the Vatican weren’t happy with Mariano, the Italians in the North End of Bridgeport worshiped him. He would gamble ’til dawn and if he lost 100 grand he would leave and come back with more. There were a few real assholes who didn’t respect the neighbors and caused trouble for the heck of it and Mariano took the blame. I had never hear of this case until today and this turns my stomach just thinking anyone would do such a thing. If the authorities have reached out to Mariano for DNA and he refused, I like many would wonder why not. Even if he were the father, I don’t see how he can be held accountable as he didn’t carry and give birth to Victor. He could support dozens of children with the money he had. But like I said, it’s in his nature not to cooperate and turn in a friend.
    I wish I knew who the mother or father was. This is the most shocking blog topic I’ve ever read and posted. My 5 year old turned 6 yesterday. It’s like my mom used to say, “Even bitches take care of their puppies.”

    1. *** I must say the “imagination” put forth in this Mariano story is better than any of the four or was it five Harry Potter movies I’ve seen! The different plots, characters, and mind-altering special effects are better than even Goodfellas or Casino! Only thing missing is some elves and a few hobbits, no? *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  3. OMG … Joel, you could write a book. Fascinating story about the dark side of Bridgeport. Getting back to my math. I was just wondering if the church in question was the same as the church that Mayor Paoletta was attending and got shot in 1994. DNA has been responsible for solving many cold case files. Your recollection of all the players is astounding. Happy birthday to your 6 year old.

  4. I don’t think the church Auerbach suggests is the church where Paoletta was shot in 1994. That church, I believe, is located adjacent to Washington Park, which I think is regarded as the East Side?

  5. yahooy, there are parts that aren’t frightening or sad. Here is a little part regarding Ricardo shooting and killing the man. Obviously everybody left the block for weeks and Ricardo turned up to be the triggerman. No one knew where he was hiding. You are familiar with the handle of our OIB friend FollowTheMoney–it is a creative handle.
    Imagine if someone joined the blog with the handle of FollowTheFurniture. What the hell would he mean by that? Months later, the Bridgeport Homicide unit–those bastards–heard of or watched Ricardo’s residence on Clinton Avenue and noticed his furniture was being moved. They followed the furniture to Camuy, P.R. where they arrested Ricardo Montanez and charged him with murder. I once suggested to Lennie we should write a sequel to his Chase book. Maybe we can title it Speedy Chase.


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