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Sonia Quesada ran to neighbors as husband was attacked in Bedford

BEDFORD — Six weeks after a Bedford husband and wife were brutalized during a violent home invasion last November, investigators got the break they needed to identify the alleged intruder and his accomplice.

Police in Methuen, Mass., told their Bedford counterparts Jan. 7 that a confidential informant knew about the home invasion that happened "near Route 101 or Route 102" in New Hampshire and identified Charles Normil, 33, of Lawrence, Mass., and another man, whose name was not made public, as the intruders, court documents unsealed Wednesday reveal.

What clinched it for Bedford investigators still trying to identify the attackers in the Nov. 24 break-in at 7 Proclamation Court was the tipster knew the woman in the Bedford house had been sexually assaulted with a coat hanger.

The tipster said Normil "was covered in blood" after assaulting the couple and Normil later bragged he "committed thousands of home invasions in the past," police allege in affidavits supporting more than 10 search warrants.

Dr. Eduardo Quesada, 53, was stabbed repeatedly in the head with a screwdriver in the attack. His wife, Sonia Varela, 29, was partially blinded. Their then 2-year-old daughter was unharmed.

Varela was found dead six weeks later in her mother-in-law's home from an overdose of prescription medications.

A Hillsborough County grand jury indicted Normil in September on 13 counts ranging from attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, four counts of forcible rape, burglary and falsifying evidence.

He is being held at Essex County House of Corrections in Middleton, Mass., pending trial in January on an unrelated home invasion and assault that occurred last Dec. 14 in Methuen.

Normil and his accomplice allegedly borrowed two vehicles. One was a 1999 black Nissan Maxima they drove to New Hampshire. Police found no forensic evidence in it.

Normil also often used his Milford girlfriend's 2004 gray Mitsubishi Endeavor. Leah Mead of Westchester Drive, Milford, told police Normil borrowed her SUV one night last November, then vacuumed and wiped down the interior the next morning, court records show.

A woman who lives near the Quesada home spotted a parked vehicle matching that description during the time of the home invasion.

Beaten and bloodied, Varela ran to a neighbor's house crying hysterically that intruders "were killing my husband" and her 2-year-old child was still inside the couple's home.

"My baby, my baby," Varela yelled as the first Bedford police officer arrived shortly after 10:10 p.m. according to 183 pages of police affidavits unsealed by court order.

The intruders appeared to get in the house through a basement window. Quesada said she first encountered the black masked man near the laundry room, the affidavit says. He seemed surprised to see her and asked her "where the safe was."

"Don't look and quiet b----," Varela said the masked assailant told her while "her husband was being assaulted," court documents say. When she no longer could hear her husband, "she thought he was dead," documents say.

When her alleged rapist went into the kitchen, she escaped through the garage door and ran to a neighbor's house for help.

Varela told police she thought her husband had been killed by a large, black male wearing a ski mask and gloves and another man, whom she did not see.

Bedford police and New Hampshire State Police did not enter the house until 11:45 p.m.

Inside, they found Dr. Quesada lying face down in the laundry room covered with a large amount of blood and could hear a "gurgle" sound coming from him, the court records said.

They could hear a small child crying from a room at the top of the main stairwell, the documents said.

The court files were unsealed Wednesday in response to a petition filed by the Union Leader Corp. to make them public. They have been kept sealed by court order since last Nov. 25.


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