News spread quickly through Wilton about the arrest of 22-year-old Aaron Ramsey for the , Edward, 73, and residents were generally united in their shock and initial disbelief about the alleged crime.
“When people say, ‘This thing never happens in Wilton,’ I agree,” said Wilton resident Gregg Feldman. “When I first heard about it on Facebook, I was hoping that it wasn’t actually true and we’d find out it was an accident of some kind rather than a murder.”
Eve Donovan, a Signal Hill Road resident and neighbor of the , heard the first news alert about the incident while on the train from New York City, and the proximity of events—and lack of concrete detail—was frightening.
“My immediate reaction was to make sure my husband and family were safe, for fear that there could be somebody out there and the rest of us could be at risk, because they initially talked about it as a suspected homicide," she said.
Donovan said as online news reports continued to provide updates, fear was quickly followed by shock and sadness.
“It is just absolutely tragic for the family to have had something like this happen, for their relatives and friends, for us as neighbors, and for our broader community as a whole. There’s not much more to say than it’s just horribly tragic and I feel awful for the family and what they’re going through.”
Residents interviewed by Patch—including classmates of Ramsey—echoed a sentiment that ‘things like this aren’t supposed to happen here.’
Donovan said, “It’s true, you think that these things can never happen in a small town like Wilton, but the reality is that tragic things can happen anywhere.”
In a small town, however, word of a potential homicide can travel quickly through the schools as well, and it was something about which, as a parent, Donovan was concerned.
“First and foremost, if they hear something about this, you want to make sure they know that they’re safe, that there’s not somebody still out there. All we know at this point that it was something that happened in the family, and it’s difficult to have effective conversation with kids without knowing the circumstances and being able to teach them something,” she said.
Donovan added, “I wonder if the schools are going to be doing something to talk to the kids, knowing that word is going to get out.”
superintendent Dr. Gary Richards did say that the district is routinely prepared when traumatic situations like this occur in town. “When we have tragedies our counseling staff is on alert and I think kids know that if they’re upset about it they can talk to someone. When we recognize any kids that are having difficulties with this, teachers will refer the students to the counselors if they need someone to talk to.”
Richards declined to comment specifically about Aaron Ramsey aside from confirming that he had been a student at the high school, and he referred all other questions specific to the case to the Wilton police.
Through Friday, the homicide continued to be the talk wherever residents gathered across town, over coffee at Starbucks, on treadmills at the Y or sitting side-by-side at the nail salon. Shock and disbelief seemed to be the common thread, even on Facebook, with multiple posts popping up from site members including Wilton resident Amy Burke, who wrote, “Please pray for our neighbors up on Signal Hill... and all those devastated by this tragedy! Prayers help!!!”
Feldman, however, wasn’t surprised that the case would attract so much attention. “I’m sure a lot of people will be asking, ‘Did you hear? Did you know the family? Was there anything anyone thought would have given indication of this?’ And there will probably be the response on the family level that parents are going to hug their kids a little harder and a little longer tonight.”