Published on March 12th, 2013 | by -swansong-49
Sandy Hook: Cast of Characters – Erin D’Elia
This is the first in a series of articles in which we will take a closer look at the cast of characters that have been a large part of shaping our emotions and perceptions following the events in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. In part one we will focus on a woman named Erin D’Elia.
Of all the aspects of Sandy Hook investigation, by far the most likely to raise the ire and indignation of believers and truthers alike is the topic of actors. One need only look to Florida Atlantic University professor, James Tracy to see what can happen when one dares even mention the existence of a group like Crisis Actors in the same sentence as Sandy Hook.
While not suggested by professor Tracy, we at Insanemedia have pointed out some of the uncanny similarities between some of the participants and suspected crisis actors.
This is the first time I’ve had to update an article before it was even published but in this instance it seems warranted.
Prof Tracy recently published an article “Preliminary Investigative Report: Actors Involved with the Sandy Hook Massacre” that makes my above comment incorrect.
Although, as you will notice, Prof Tracy has re-examined his support of this hypothesis. It seems it may have had as much to do with personalities and methodologies as the actual findings. Regardless, the point is it’s an extremely contentious topic.
I also had my flirtation with examining the concept of actors. Actually, flirtation doesn’t quite do justice to the obsession I developed researching one solitary person in this cast of characters.
The investigation of this person caused me to search more deeply into the backgrounds of as many participants as I could. Unfortunately it has proven most difficult to find any substantial information on many of them.
For that reason some of the information provided in this series of articles will be open-ended but I am open to receiving further information from interested parties wishing to clarify oddities, connections and coincidences. The purpose of these articles is simply to develop a deeper understanding of the people and events surrounding Sandy Hook through the open dissemination of information, not cast suspicion on people unnecessarily.
All errors and misrepresentations will be corrected upon receipt of further information.
Sandy Hook:Cast of Characters – Erin D’Elia
On the night of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting NBC ran a one hour special on the day’s events. This fact on it’s own was quite surprising to me. As you will see NBC somehow managed to find a nice selection of commenters and set up a professionally produced program in mere hours after the shooting.
In this special they spoke with a woman who they identified as a “behavioural therapist” at Sandy Hook Elementary, Erin D’Elia.
3 things immediately stood out to me in this interview. The first was the difficulty she seemed to be having expressing genuine emotion.
The second was her comment that she found out about the shooting when she received a text from her dad. I would have thought that the same reverse 911 call that alerted parents to the events in the school district would have been sent to staff as well. If not then this is a non-issue. I have been unable to confirm one way or the other.
The third was the incredible coincidence of this group of women receiving a phone call about a dead child while the cameras were rolling, the reaction that followed and the fact that it wasn’t our Ms. D’Elia that took the call nor was the woman who did take the call identified…as a teacher…or in any other way.
The entire scene seemed “made for tv”. This is the 1 hour special. Erin D’Elia’s segment can be viewed at the 12:40 mark.
With my curiosity piqued I decide to see if Erin D’Elia really did work at Sandy Hook Elementary. I went to the school’s website and could not find an Erin D’Elia listed as a teacher/support worker, anything.
The schools in this district all have fairly comprehensive websites that include most, if not all, teachers and support staff so this omission seemed out of place.
My next search took me to Linkedin where I found an Erin D’Elia working as a behavioural therapist at Head O’ Meadow School in Newtown.
Take note of the photo.
Behavior Therapist at Head O’ Meadow School
Newtown Board of Education
September 2011 – Present (1 year 5 months) Newtown, Connecticut
A search of the Head O’ Meadow staff directory turned up no mentions of an Erin D’Elia. Odd considering her profile claims she has been there for a year and a half beginning Sept 2011 to present. 1 year and 5 months. 1 year and 5 months from the beginning of Sept 2011 is January 2013.
I contacted Head O Meadow School to see if an Erin D’Elia worked there. No person going by that name worked at the school according to the person with whom I spoke.
I am quite certain that the woman in the Linkedin profile is the same woman from the interview. I found a larger picture on a Google profile that further convinced me.
In her LinkedIn profile she even mentions spending a year and a half at Reed Intermediate in Newtown. Not that I expected to find her there after so long but I checked. No mention of her.
I did find this mention in her LinkedIn resume’ interesting.
Casting Assistant Grant Wilfley Casting
May 2009 – December 2009 (8 months)
o Assisted in casting background actors for several movie / television shows i.e. Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, Remember Me, The Back-Up Plan, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Untitled Nancy Meyers Project and Michael & Michael Have Issues
On the same Linkedin page, under the heading of Education
Master’s, Public Communication
2005 – 2006
Activities and Societies: President of the School of Communications on the Graduate Leadership Council, Assistant to Assistant Professor Gemma Puglisi
Roger Williams University
Bachelor’s, English Literature
2000 – 2004
Activities and Societies: Student Advocate, Public Relations Chair on the Student Senate, Athletics Intern, Blue and Gold Development Committee, Co-Chair of the Campus Entertainment Network, Orientation Advisor, A Break From the Norm Chair on CEN, Chameleon Club Chair on CEN and CEN Special Events committee.
Nothing in her educational background pointed towards “behaviour therapy” which, I assume, requires some form of background in psychology.
Next I ran her through The Conneticut Educator Certification System, although I can’t verify it’s accuracy. I searched generally for all of CT and specifically in Newtown. Nothing.
I ran various other searches turning up various other Erin D’Elias in various areas in and around NY/CT. This is the only one that actually placed her in Sandy Hook but also had a different last name associated with her.
Erin E Hughes, 30
Known also – Erin E Delia
Lived in – West Haven, CT, Sandy Hook, CT, Brooklyn, NY, Arlington, VA , Bristol, RI
I went back and re-checked the school staff listings…no Erin Hughes. No Erins at all.
At this point in my investigation I was no closer…in any way, shape or form…to finding out who this person was that was so easily contacted, on her day off, to appear on NBC with her friends, the day of the event or how she’s connected to Sandy Hook Elementary…if at all.
But then I find this.
Finally, I thought…something that connects her to the school so I can drop this wild goose chase.
I began examining the site. Quite professional looking. A Sandy Hook Elementary background at the top of one page and a personal comment from Erin D’Elia regarding The Roma Elementary School Library Media Center.
So far so good.
There’s even a letter to Erin and another 7th grade teacher about the …wait…the what? The Roma Elementary School Library Media Center?
I thought our Erin D’Elia was a behavioural therapist? And I thought she worked with kindergartners? And where is Roma Elementary School?
I did a search of Roma Elementary School and Roma Elementary School Library Media Centre. The only thing I managed to find was a Roma Independent School District in Roma, Texas but no “Roma Elementary School”.
Now I begin noticing other oddities. None of the information pertaining to Sandy Hook was personalized. It was copied and pasted from various links mentioned at the bottom of this page.
I was able to make contact with a woman mentioned on one of the pages of this site and she informed me that the website I found was part of a graduate level class that she and Erin D’Elia took together. Beyond that she provided no other information.
I set this article aside for almost a week while I tried to come up with a more productive direction from which to approach. Then I started re-examining the info I had gathered. I don’t know if I missed it the first time or if it’s a new addition but on her Linkedin profile I noticed this…
Southern Connecticut State University
MLS w/School Media Certificate
2011 – 2013 (expected)
“Expected”? She’s still persuing a masters. And for what? Library sciences. Now THAT explains the website….but it doesn’t explain how a woman going for a degree in library sciences is a behavioural therapist at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
It then occured to me to try more creative search terms…”Erin D’Elia Engagement”. Good reminder to remember to be creative with our search terms. This is what I found.
Mr. and Mrs. Hughes of Sandy Hook announce the engagement of their daughter, Erin Elizabeth Hughes, to Rocco Anthony D’Elia.
The future bride graduated from Newtown High School; from Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., with a B.A. in English; and from American University in Washington, D.C., with an M.A. in public communications. She is a casting assistant at Grant Wilfley Casting in New York City.
Finally, I found her and she has a school and familial connection to Sandy Hook. I’m thinking this story may be going nowhere…fast. Then I notice the last line of the announcement.
The future bridegroom…is an operations specialist at NBC Universal in New York City.
Her husband works for NBC, the same network that aired this interview? Well that would explain how the network found her so quickly on her day off. I went looking for Rocco D’Elia and found his
The Film Desk
June 2009 – 2009 (less than a year)
Assist in booking crews, locations, and gathering props while also collecting release forms.
Assist director with scripts and help to manage phone calls and daily schedule as well as assist with other duties as needed.
Helped prepare actors for scenes and helped to design set.
Come up with shot lists and designed story boards.
Operate Boom and set up lighting.
Public Company; 10,001+ employees; GE; Entertainment industry
September 2008 – November 2009 (1 year 3 months)
And this from ZoomInfo
Rocco D’Elia – A+E Television Networks, LLC.
235 East 45Th Street
New York, New York 10017
A&E Television Networks, a joint venture of The Hearst Corporation, ABC, Inc. and NBC Universal
Judging by his email address on this page from A&E he was still with A&E in April of 2012.
Please email or FAX your information to our Stamford (Connecticut) office : Rocco.D’Elia@aetn.com
The News-Times is a 30,000-circulation daily newspaper in Danbury, Connecticut, United States. It is owned and operated by the Hearst Corporation, a multinational corporate media conglomerate with $4 billion in revenues.
Until very recently NBC Universal was owned in large part by G.E. the company for whom Peter Lanza works.
Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, will consolidate its control over NBCUniversal by buying out the 49 percent of the media company that it doesn’t already own. Comcast will pay General Electric $16.7 billion for the shares and shell out $1.4 billion for related real estate, including the iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
A little more searching on Rocco shows he tried his hand at acting at least once.
Rocco D’elia – student
Loomis Chafee School – 4 Batchelder Rd., Windsor, Connecticut, USA
I sent Mr. D’Elia an email. I received an automatic response from his account saying the Stamford A&E office is closed today (Jan 21) but would be open tomorrow (Jan 22). It would appear he still works for A&E.
I waited all day for a response from Mr. D’Elia but none came. I decided to send him one more note which read,
Hello Mr. D’Elia,
I assume from the automated reply that I have reached a correct email address.
The reason for my contact is I’m in the process of writing an article about your wife, Erin and her appearance on NBC television the night of Dec 14/2012.
I was wondering if either you or Erin would care to comment before I compose the final draft?
I never received a response.
I made repeated efforts to contact Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Newton School District offices for confirmation one way or the other regarding Erin D’Elia’s employment within the district.
Perhaps this won’t surprise anyone else but it certainly surprised me. Out of all my phone calls (and there were many), I was only able to get a person on the phone (as opposed to an answering machine) once at Sandy Hook and twice at the division office. The person I spoke with at Sandy Hook Elementary would not provide me any information about any staff member for “privacy reasons”. The person I spoke with at the division office explained that no one from the human resources department was available til the next day. I called back several times the next day and got an answering machine each time. I left a message but no one returned my call.
I was able to get someone on the phone at Head O Meadows School who assured me that there was no Erin D’Elia or Erin Hughes working there. I refer you back to her LinkedIn profile where she claims to be currently employed there.
I once again called both Sandy Hook Elementary and the division office again all I got was answering machines. There was an automated option from the division office to speak to a media spokesperson but when I chose that option it didn’t route to anywhere. Not an answering machine, nothing.
After repeated attempts I was finally able to get someone on the phone at the division offices in Newtown. I was directed to the human resources department where I spoke with Suzanne D’Eramo, human resources coordinator. Ms. D’Eramo informed me that the information I required would need to be obtained in writing, so write, I did.
I asked Ms. D’Eramo about Erin D’Elia and any roll she may have played in the Newton school district. This was her reply.
Here is what I can confirm regarding Ms Erin D’Elia’s employment here in the Newtown Public School System:Date of Hire = 9/27/2010
Hired as an educational assistant assigned to Reed Intermediate School. Worked in this capacity through Sept 12, 2011.
On 9/13/2011 became a behavioral therapist assigned to Head O’Meadow School in the pre-school program.
On 8/28/12 she was transferred to Sandy Hook School when a portion of the pre-school program was moved from Head O’Meadow to Sandy Hook School.
On 1/2/13 she was transferred to Newtown High School when the pre-school program was moved from Sandy Hook School to Newtown High School.
Ms. D’Elia resigned effective 1/11/2013.
The dates don’t match her LinkedIn profile but I was able to get confirmation of her roll in the district directly from the human resources coordinator.
I still had a couple of questions for Ms. D’Eramo so I sent another note asking what educational qualifications/certificates are required for the position of behaviour therapist in the Newtown school division?
Ms. D’Eramo’s response.
We require a bachelors degree and the ability to demonstrate knowledge of special education practices.
Realizing from her LinkedIn profile and her lack of mention on the Connecticut teacher’s database that Ms. D’Elia did not appear to have any credentials that would qualify her as a teacher or therapist. I contacted Ms. D’Eramo once more for clarification.
“That would be a bachelors degree in education, correct?”
“Does that position require a teaching certificate from the state?”
And Ms. D’Eramo’s response.
Bachelors degree – does not have to be in education and no the position does not require CT teaching certification.
I am assuming this ends my involvement with this situation as I have already gone beyond the initial request for information.
I apologized for taking up Ms. D’Eramo’s valuable time, thanked her for the information and expressed my surprise that it appears no qualifications are required to work with challenged children in the Newtown school district. Apparently one could have a bachelors in animal husbandry and still get a position.
So, after all this, to where have we gotten, regrettably, perhaps nowhere. We have a woman whose educational background seems better suited for the performing arts than therapy. She resigns shortly after the shootings, her husband works in the television industry and worked for the same company that put his wife on television. Certainly not reason enough to go looking for the pitchforks and lighting the torches.
Not being satisfied with the end point of this investigation I decided to try and go further. That was a bad idea. It provided nothing but frustration. I was unable to find any firm history for the Hughes family in Newtown beyond a mention of Erin’s dad, Michael, graduating from NHS in 1975. This frustration continued for weeks until, just this week, I was able to find the lineage from Erin’s maternal side of the family through her grandmother’s obituary.
Her children are John Braun and his wife Patricia of Glen Mills, Pa, Dr. Kevin Braun and his wife Phyllis of Newtown, Claire Hughes and her husband Michael of Sandy Hook, Thomas Braun and his wife Deirdre of Woodbury, James Braun and his wife Maria of Southbury and Timothy Braun his wife Jessica of Sandy Hook. Her beloved grandchildren are; Teresa, Zachary, Ryan, Jessica, Sean & his wife Melissa, Erin & her husband Rocco, Melissa, Eric, Steven, Gary, Andrew & David.
Having just found these links my searches of family members has been brief and has turned up nothing remarkable but I did manage to find a LinkedIn profile for a Timothy Braun working in Hartford as a mechanical engineer with Pratt and Whitney.
Pratt & Whitney is a U.S.-based aerospace manufacturer with global service operations. It is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Pratt & Whitney’s aircraft engines are widely used in both civil aviation (especially airlines) and military aviation. Its headquarters are in East Hartford, Connecticut, USA. As one of the “big three” aero-engine manufacturers, it competes with General Electric and Rolls-Royce, although it has also formed joint ventures with both of these companies.
I was able to find a search result that seems to provide some of the family connections in Erin’s immediate family.
Searches for the relatives mentioned has turned up almost nothing firm except for one.
Sean Hughes – Vice Chairman and Treasurer Connecticut Young Republicans
Sean also served with the Connecticut Union of College Republicans as their former Chief of Staff, Second Vice Chairman, Communications Director, State Webmaster and Chapter Chairman. Sean was also an intern with the Connecticut Republican State Central Committee from May 2003 to December 2003. Sean is a former member, 2003 Campaign Co-Chair and Communications Subcommittee Chairman for the Newtown Republican Town Committee. Sean is also a former volunteer for the Hamden Republican Town Committee. Sean is a current member of the Waterbury Republican Town Committee.
Sean has experience in legislative matters as well. Sean is a former legislative intern for State Representative (R) Claudia “Dolly” Powers of Greenwich, Deputy Minority Leader of the House Republicans for the 2004 Connecticut General Assembly Internship Program. Sean is a former member of the Newtown Open Space Taskforce.
Sean M. Hughes is a member of Hiram Lodge No.18, A. F. & A. M. in Sandy Hook, Connecticut
Sean M Hughes
Secretary Waterbury Republican Town Committee, Freemason PM, KOFC Waterbury, CT
With an event so steeped in coincidence and oddity you might think there would be little left to be surprised about. Well, this one surprised me. As we noticed earlier Rocco has a listing on IMDB. Well, so does Erin. IMDB
One of these listings immediately jumped out at me.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (extras casting assistant – uncredited)
Any other familiar names involved in that production? Yes.
As far as the D’Elia side of the family the results are even more frustrating. I wouldn’t have guessed there would be so many in the CT/NY/NJ area but there are 100s and 100s.
Many are actors, both television and stage, there are also producers, directors, restaurant owners, funeral directors, restaurant supply company, lawyers, a judge and even a state trooper in CT with the same first name as Rocco’s late father. Trying to figure out which is which and from which family is almost impossible. I have yet to find an obituary that ties it all together.
Perhaps the most infamous person I found in the greater NY area with the same last name…and allow me to stress, I have no evidence connecting this man to the family of Rocco D’Elia..is William “Big Billy” D’Elia the reputed head of the Bufalino crime family.
What I finally ended up trying was a search for any D’Elias connected to Quinnipiac University. The university Rocco attended. I only found 2 that are working in the greater NY area.
June 2012 – Present (10 months)New Haven
Intern at News Channel 8 – Edit for the Sports Department
New Haven Register
June 2011 – September 2011 (4 months)New Haven
Intern at The New Haven Register – Writing for the Sports Department
International Finance Analyst at Sikorsky Aircraft
Previous – United Technologies, CRN International, Warner Music Group
No matter the mission, Sikorsky Military Systems provides dependable products to nations throughout the world. Our goal is to supply state-of-the-art aircraft and the mission systems to maximize their performance.
Flight demonstrations of the Cypher technology demonstrator craft were conducted by the sikorsky craft corporation. Intended for military and civil applications. These demonstrations embrace capabilities like ground and armed service police investigation, communications relay and countermeasures missions, non-defense roles as counter-narcotics, ordnance disposal, forestry, utilities, enforcement and search and rescue.
I may have been tempted to give a pass to this information had I not also found another connection to Sikorsky on Erin’s Google page. She has 7 people in her circle and one of them is this fellow.
Final Assembly Mechanical Inspector, present
Updates will be provided for this article as new information becomes available but for now, thus ends part one of Sandy Hook:Cast of Characters. My searches have shown many surprising connections to media as well as many instances of financial difficulties amongst many participants. All of which will be covered in subsequent articles in this series.
As I mentioned earlier, if you have information contradicting or clarifying any assumptions or findings in this or subsequent articles please forward them to us at Insanemedia. Our goal is to provide the most factual information possible.
A critical thinking and inquisitive commenter named Reagan has reminded me of something I had meant to add in the original posting, namely…
Rachel D’Avino was also a behavioural therapist at Sandy Hook Elementary as noted in her memorial page.
Rachel Marie D’Avino, age 29, a behavioral therapist at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown
She graduated from Nonnewaug High School in 2001, and later received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Hartford, a master’s degree from Post University, and when she was killed she was studying to receive her Ph.D from St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford. Just the week before her death, she had completed her course work to become a board certified behavioral analyst.
The memorial page doesn’t make clear exactly what degress she achieved at those schools but this Hartford Courant article provides further details.
D’Avino, the ink on her psychology degree from the University of Hartford barely dry
I haven’t been able to confirm it but since her bachelors was in psych I will assume that her masters from Post University was also in Psychology.
At the time of her death, D’Avino was living at home in Bethlehem and had completed all her course work for a graduate certificate in applied behavioral analysis from the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford.
In my searches I did find a couple of websites discussing suggested/necessary qualifications for the position of behavioural therapist. They don’t appear to be in keeping with the scholastic direction of our Ms. D’Elia.
This clear discrepancy in educational qualifications between 2 verified behavioural therapists working at Sandy Hook Elementary was another reason why Erin D’Elia stood out as yet one more Sandy Hook anomaly.