Ex-boyfriend accused of violently kidnapping woman, bringing her to pharmacy for drugs

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Michael Santillo

EAST HAVEN, Conn. — A dispute at a pharmacy in East Haven led to the arrest of an ex-boyfriend on home invasion and kidnapping charges, but not before a high-speed pursuit.

Police said they received a call about a domestic dispute at the Rite Aid pharmacy on Main Street just before 10 a.m. on Sunday

A victim told them that her ex-boyfriend, 43-year-old Michael Santillo, had broken into her home, kidnapped her, attacked her, strangled her then forced her to drive to the pharmacy for narcotics prescriptions, according to police.

While at the pharmacy drive-thru, the victim signaled to an employee that she needed help. She was then able to escape the vehicle.

Santillo, of Madison, fled the scene.

Police said they found Santillo in the vehicle traveling on Main Street. However, he kept going and fled onto I-95 northbound. They said he refused to stop and traveled at speeds of over 100 mph. Officers stopped their pursuit around exit 57 in Guilford.

A short time later, officers in Madison located a man matching Santillo’s description walking on Overbrook Road. The suspect was taken into custody without incident at that point.

Santillo’s public defender said they dispute many of the allegations. In court the state’s attorney claimed Santillo used a screwdriver to break into the ex-girlfriend’s house and court papers state he then forced his way into her bedroom door that was locked with a deadbolt.

The report reads officers also found a knife, hammer and two rolls of tape at the scene.

Santillo was charged with home invasion, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation, second-degree assault, first-degree burglary, criminal attempt to possess narcotics, interfering with a police officer, second-degree breach of peace, reckless driving and failure to bring a motor vehicle to a complete stop.

He faced a judge in New Haven court on Monday morning.

“I understand what I did was wrong, a horrible thing, but I was under the influence,” Santillo said. “Alright I won’t say anything.”

Santillo’s public defender quickly told him to quiet down during the court appearance.

Outside the drug store, customers couldn’t believe the allegations.

“Its scary especially in an area where you work, go out for lunch, don’t want to see those things happening,” Leilani Barr, who works in East Haven, said.
Following his arraignment, Santillo is being held on a $500,000 bond. He’s due back in court on April 10.