Family of American accused of killing Anguilla hotel worker says vacation became 'chilling nightmare'

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The family of a Connecticut financial adviser charged with manslaughter in the death of a hotel worker on the Caribbean island of Anguilla said Thursday that "our dream vacation turned into a chilling nightmare — a literal fight to survive."

Authorities in the British territory have accused Scott Hapgood, 44, of killing 27-year-old Kenny Mitchel, a worker at the upscale Malliouhana resort. Hapgood spokeswoman Kelcey Kintner claimed in a previous statement that Mitchel came to Hapgood's hotel room on April 13, saying that he needed to fix a broken sink, then showed a weapon and demanded money before attacking the Hapgood family.

Thursday's statement from the family included a photo taken after the alleged attack that showed Hapgood with blood and bruises on his face and chest. The family's statement said Hapgood "was bitten multiple times by the attacker, including on his face." The statement also denied that the Hapgood family had ever seen or spoken to Mitchel before he came to the room and denied that they had submitted a maintenance request during their stay.

Scott Hapgood.
(Hapgood family)

"Scott and our family cooperated fully with local authorities in Anguilla following the attack, and our first-hand accounts of the events were taken by them," the statement read. "Court proceedings in Anguilla have been scheduled for August. While we wait, a fair and just process for Scott must be ensured as his future hangs in the balance."

An autopsy report shows Mitchel died of positional asphyxia and received blunt-force injuries to his torso and other areas. The Hapgood family's statement pointedly denied that Hapgood choked Mitchel, but did say that "the attacker was restrained by a security guard."

The Royal Anguilla Police Force initially announced that Hapgood had been denied bail after his arrest and remanded to prison. After attorney Thomas Astaphan appealed to the High Court, Hapgood was released on $74,000 bond and returned to his home in Darien, Conn.

Scott Hapgood with his wife and children
(Courtesy the Hapgood family)

Hapgood's family said Thursday that he spent the night of April 13 in a local police station giving a statement. The family said they spent the next two days in rooms booked for them at the Four Seasons hotel by the Malliouhana before Hapgood was arrested, handcuffed and charged.

"This detention was one of the most grueling events of his life. Then, as soon as he could, Scott returned home to the United States, said the statement, which added, "Scott's wounds will heal, but the trauma of this incident will be with our family forever."

A hearing in the case has been scheduled for Aug. 22 in Anguilla. The Anguillan newspaper reported that Astaphan ensured the High Court during the bail hearing that Hapgood "has every intention to return to Anguilla to clear his name."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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