A Connecticut Nightmare
A Hard-Working Family
Dr. William Petit is an endocrinologist and in July 2007 was the medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. Studying medicine in Pittsburgh, he had met a nurse named Jennifer Hawke at the Children's Hospital. For their first date he had invited her to dinner—and he also invited his parents and two of their friends. It was a peculiar way to begin a relationship, but it was one which would mature to marriage and endure more than 22 years.
When Dr. Petit took a fellowship at Yale University, Jennifer Hawke-Petit took a nursing job there and became head nurse on the pediatric adolescent floor. She had a compassionate way with patients and a love of children.
When Jennifer became pregnant with their oldest daughter, Hayley, in 1989, they bought the house at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive. As Hayley grew older, she developed a love of basketball that she shared with her father. The two would shoot hoops in the driveway and religiously followed the men's and women's basketball teams at the University of Connecticut.
Besides basketball, Hayley shared something else with her father: a love of medicine. She would follow him on his hospital rounds. She had applied to college at Dartmouth, her father's alma mater. She was accepted and would have attended in the fall.
While Hayley followed her father's footsteps, 11-year-old Michaela was happily developing by her mother's side. Jennifer Hawke-Petit and Michaela shared a love of cooking. During the memorial service after the murders, Dr. Petit joked about having to take the remote control from Michaela because the only television she wanted to watch was the Food Network.
Hayley and Michaela had a very supportive and stable home life in Cheshire, a town that embodied many of the things for which their parents had worked so hard.