It's been more than ten years since Cheshire, CT residents Jennifer Hawke-Petit and kids Hayley and Michaela were murdered in cold blood by two men who broke into the family home in the middle of the night and held them hostage for hours. Only the father, Dr. William Petit Jr., survived after having been beaten with a baseball bat and tied to a pole in the basement.
On Monday night’s episode of People Magazine Investigates on Investigation Discovery, People Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle and Jennifer’s sister, Cynthia Hawke-Renn, recounted a particularly disturbing moment — when Jennifer went to the bank to cash a $15,000 check hoping to pay off her family's captors.
Dr. William Petit, speaks to the media on Nov. 8, 2010, after a jury sentenced Steven Hayes. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Before taking the money, however, Jennifer managed to inform the bank employees about the family’s situation with something written on a slip of paper. "My sister took out the picture in her wallet of her two daughters and showed [the bank manager] and said, 'These are my two girls,'" Cynthia remembers. "And she [the manager] said that looking at my sister, from one mother to another, she knew that she was telling her the truth."
Since then, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky were caught and convicted of the murders and other crimes — including extortion and sexual assault — and sentenced to life in prison. Meanwhile, William, the sole survivor of the attack, started The Petit Family Foundation, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars toward scholarships for young students and aid for families affected by violence. He also devoted much time to raising money for multiple sclerosis research, in honor of his wife, who suffered from the disease.
In 2012, William remarried to Christine Paluf — with the blessing of his late wife’s family — with whom he has a young son. Last November, he was elected to the Connecticut legislature. "I used to have awful weeks and awful days," he said back in 2014. "Now most of the time, it's awful minutes and hours."
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