DANIELSON, Conn. – A man charged with kidnapping a jogger told investigators he accidentally hit her with his car and only tied her up because he was trying to hide the body, found in a shed owned by a "Sesame Street" performer, authorities said Wednesday.
Judith Nilan's husband reported her missing Monday when she didn't return from a jog. The 44-year-old social worker was found dead the next morning with her arms tied behind her back, her jogging pants pulled down and her head bloody where she appeared to have been beaten, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Scott Deojay, 36, was arrested Tuesday and charged with kidnapping. He appeared in court briefly Wednesday in Danielson and was ordered held on $500,000 bail.
Deojay is a handyman who had done work on the Woodstock property of Caroll Spinney, who plays Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on the long-running children's public television show. Police said Spinney had nothing to do with the crime.
Prosecutors said they plan to pursue murder charges against Deojay, but with the shed on the Massachusetts state line, they were still sorting out issues of jurisdiction.
According to the affidavit, investigators found Nilan's headband near a bloody receipt signed by Deojay for items purchased on Spinney's account.
Near the headband were skid marks, and on Spinney's property investigators found a blood trail leading to the shed, according to the affidavit.
"The victim had appeared to have been beaten about the head," investigators wrote in the affidavit. "Her hands were tied behind her back and the rope was passed across the front of her body and then wrapped around her neck and her ankles."
Investigators said Deojay cried when they confronted him and told them he hit the woman with his car, then panicked. He said he dragged her into the car, took her to Spinney's property and tied the rope around her to hoist her into the shed.
Plainfield Deputy Chief Robert Hoffman said Deojay tried to hang himself after police interviewed him. He was arrested as he was being released from a hospital.
Spinney did not return calls seeking comment.