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Police Apprehend Man Suspected of Killing His Estranged Wife in South Royalton

  • Police offers search the area near Happy Hollow Road in South Royalton, Vt., for a shooting suspect on March 4,2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Police at the scene of an investigation on Happy Hollow Road in Royalton, Vt., on Sunday, March 3, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • A Hartford, Vt., police officer keeps her eye on woods along Happy Hollow Road in South Royalton, Vt., on March 4, 2018. Police were searching for a man involved in a shooting on the road. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Todd Hosmer watches police search along Happy Hollow Road in South Royalton, Vt., on March 4, 2018. Hosmer said he and his family were staying at his sister Wanda Sanville's home when her estranged husband, Frank Sanville entered the home and shot her. Hosmer said he managed to then get the gun from him. Family member Gail Shute of Springfield, Vt. waits with Hosmer and other family members while police search the area. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • An Orange County Sheriff deputy approaches a car on Happy Hollow Road in South Royalton, Vt., on March 4, 2018. Cars were being turned around because of a search conducted for a suspect involved with a shooting on the road. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Vermont State Police Officers walk down Happy Hollow Road in South Royalton, Vt., on March 4, 2018. Police were looking for a suspect involved in a homicide on the road. Residents were asked to stay in their homes. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Sunday, March 04, 2018

South Royalton — Police took a 70-year-old Royalton man into custody on Sunday afternoon in connection to the fatal shooting of his estranged wife earlier in the day.

Frank Sanville was found hiding in a barn on Deerhaven Lane, near the Happy Hollow Road residence where police said he shot and killed Wanda Sanville in front of family members, including a young child.

He was taken into custody without incident after an hours-long search, according to Maj. Glen Hall, commander of the Vermont State Police Criminal Division.

Sanville, who is completing a sentence for domestic assault, was living in a residence in Hartford on a pre-approved furlough when the shooting occurred, Hall said.

Under Vermont law, inmates sentenced to incarceration may be furloughed into the community for up to 90 days prior to the completion of their minimum sentence. Those inmates must be free of disciplinary infractions and complete a risk assessment prior to their release.

When he left jail, Sanville also was ordered not to contact his wife, Hall said. He could not provide the date when Sanville was furloughed.

Family members said Wanda Sanville, 48, had been receiving constant threats from her estranged husband for some time, and they allege the authorities refused to act.

“He kept threatening her on the phone every week, every day,” Wanda’s brother, Todd Hosmer, said on Sunday. “Probation, parole (officers) didn’t do anything about it.”

Wanda Sanville became so afraid that she asked Hosmer to move in with her at her Happy Hollow Road home.

That’s where he was when Frank Sanville arrived just before 10 a.m. on Sunday.

“My five-year-old son was sitting right next to her playing a game on the tablet,” Hosmer said.

Frank Sanville entered the house and opened fire with a rifle without warning, striking Wanda Sanville, he said. “Then he cocked the gun and said ‘you’re next.’ ”

Hosmer said he wrestled the rifle away from Sanville and hit him in the head until he appeared to be unconscious.

Hosmer said he then grabbed his son and called 911.

Sanville came to and fled the scene before police arrived, Hall said.

Vermont State Police troopers, game wardens and officers from Hartford and Randolph quickly converged on the scene, closing a portion of Happy Hollow Road and combing the woods with weapons drawn.

By 12:30 p.m., police closed off the entire road, citing concern for the safety of those watching the scene unfold.

Frank Sanville was ultimately located around 2 p.m., and was taken to Gifford Medical Center in Randolph for treatment from injuries obtained in the scuffle with Hosmer.

“Certainly it’s a horrific situation that I can’t imagine anyone being in, let alone with a child present,” Hall said on Sunday evening. “I certainly feel for (Hosmer) and the child.”

In response to the family’s allegations that authorities ignored the risk to Wanda Sanville posed by her ex-husband, Hall said officials haven’t determined whether corrections or probation officers actually knew Frank Sanville was making threats.

“That’s something obviously we’re looking into as part of the investigation,” he said. “We’re still doing a lot of interviews.”

Hall said Frank Sanville did get a ride to Royalton, where he walked to Happy Hollow. Police are in contact with the person who drove him, he said.

Troopers also recovered a rifle from the scene, Hall said it is a traditional long gun, not an assault-style rifle like those used in recent mass shootings.

Hall said it’s not yet clear how Sanville secured the weapon. Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence from obtaining a firearm.

It was also too early to determine which charges Sanville would face, Hall told reporters at a news conference on Sunday evening.

“He’s currently in the hospital. I don’t know what his medical status is or how long he’s planning to be there,” Hall said.

Upon his release from the hospital, Sanville will continue to be held for violating the conditions of his release.

“(Charges) could be forthcoming as we get going through the investigation throughout the night,” he said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.