Joyce Grayson Murder Update, What happened to the nurse in Willimantic? Suspect in custody

Joyce Grayson Murder
Joyce Grayson was murdered by Reese


Willimantic, Connecticut, was stunned by the horrific murder of Joyce Grayson, a visiting nurse whose life was tragically cut short. This terrible incident not only left a family grieving but also spurred discussions about medical staff security and calls for increased protection in the post-pandemic hospital environment. Read on to learn more about Joyce Grayson’s murder.

What happened to Joyce Grayson?

Joyce Grayson, the Willimantic nurse who was a Brooklyn resident was murdered in a cruel way. According to Willimantic Police, the Eastern District Major Crime Squad is launching an investigation after a missing lady was discovered lifeless in the basement of a Willimantic property on Saturday.

On Saturday, October 28, at around 2:00 p.m., the relatives of a woman who had vanished and was thought to be in Willimantic but had not been seen since the middle of the morning contacted the Willimantic Police Department.

Following their search, Willimantic Police Patrol Officers found the missing woman’s car at a nearby business. Willimantic Police Officers responded to the Chapman Street neighborhood. After that, a Willimantic Police K-9 Unit tracked the woman from the car back to her suspected home.

When officers returned to the home, they said a suspect was observed fleeing the area and was apprehended by Willimantic officers. Officers inspected the house and discovered a murdered woman in the basement.

Who is the suspect?

The suspect, Michael Reese, was residing in a neighboring halfway house for sexual offenders and was under probation for a 2007 first-degree sexual assault conviction.

While the investigation was ongoing, the suspect was taken into custody at the site on other charges and brought back to the Willimantic Police Department.

Reese had already served 17 years of a 25-year sentence, with an additional 10 years on probation. Reese was detained on a $1 million bond when he appeared in the state Superior Court in Danielson after his arrest.

But the problem has become more complicated because he refused to get into a van to be driven to the New Haven courts to be charged with violating his probation.

According to the clerk’s office, Reese has now been ordered to appear in court on November 8; it is anticipated that he will be present in person on that day.

Judges have the authority to order the use of force to bring a defendant before the court, but according to the clerk’s office, no such order was made on Tuesday.

Reese is a suspect in the homicide, but Willimantic and state police, who are in charge of the investigation, have not confirmed this.

Police arrested the suspect:

According to the report, Reese was apprehended while attempting to exit through a back door. How the victim was located was not mentioned in the report. When Reese was patted down after being detained, the report stated that he had her credit and debit cards, a Hyundai key fob, a crack pipe, and a small paring knife with him.

Reese was being held by police as a suspect in the murder of “his visiting nurse after her belongings were found” in his possession, according to the warrant accusing him of violating his probation.

The circumstances surrounding her death have not been disclosed by the police either, although according to court records, she was a visiting nurse who had a Saturday morning meeting with Reese.

About 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, someone asked for a welfare check on Grayson because she hadn’t been showing up to her other appointments, according to a police report regarding the theft and narcotics possession charges.

According to the report, she was supposed to see Reese, who resides in the 100 block of Chapman Street, at 8 a.m. on her first scheduled visit of the day. Thus police tracked the victim at the home and arrested the suspect.

Crime investigation:

According to Willimantic Police, the Eastern District Major Crime Squad was given permission to take on the investigation by Windham State’s Attorney Anne Mahoney.

Willimantic Police Chief Paul Hussey described the case in a statement as “deeply troubling” and among the “worst cases” he had witnessed in his more than 27 years of law enforcement.

The unthinkable crime happened in the basement of the Reach House, a Chapman Street establishment that helps sex offenders with convictions reintegrate into society.

The facility, which can accommodate up to two people, was designed to offer guidance and assistance for people making an effort to reintegrate into society following their imprisonment.

According to the police, this occurrence seems to be isolated and there is now no danger to the public. Anybody with the information is requested to come forward and contact the Connecticut State Police.

About Joyce Grayson:

Joyce Grayson, 63, died abruptly on Saturday, October 28, 2023, in Willimantic, CT, while fulfilling her duties as a visiting nurse. She is survived by her husband Ronald Grayson, her six children—Elliott (Nichole) Ellsworth, Kyle (Brecken) Ellsworth, Kaitlyn Grayson, Evan Grayson, Audrey Grayson, and Shawn Grayson—as well as their spouses.

She also leaves behind four grandchildren—Claire Ellsworth, Jackson Ellsworth, Mia Ellsworth, and Tilly Ellsworth—and eleven siblings.

Born on June 29, 1960, Joyce Elaine Jordan was raised on a dairy farm in Sterling, Connecticut, as one of thirteen children by Robert and Edna Jordan.

Joyce attended Windham Tech’s nursing program after graduating from Killingly High School, where she became a Licensed Practical Nurse. She worked for the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) for 26 years.

It was noted that the Graysons had shown altruistic dedication to adopting and fostering children. In 2017, they were named Foster Parent of the Year.

“The Graysons embodied what it meant to be foster parents, and the Willimantic office was lucky to have them as part of the team,” Dorantes said in reflection on their legacy.

Everyone who knew Joyce will miss her warmth, kindness, and compassion, but her legacy will endure in the innumerable children she touched.

Community’s response to Joyce’s murder:

Following an upsurge in the attacks and violent crimes against healthcare personnel, state senators Martha Marx and Saud Anwar have taken efforts to ensure the security of healthcare workers.

In reaction to the death of a visiting nurse in Willimantic on Saturday, October 28, lawmakers and supporters of healthcare reform will assemble in the Legislative Office Building on Wednesday afternoon to demand that protections for medical professionals and nurses throughout the state be strengthened.

In response to the rise in assaults and acts of violence against physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers in the post-pandemic environment, those in attendance will discuss prospects for legislation aimed at supporting healthcare providers.

The purpose of this legislation is to further House Bill 6741, which was introduced by Senator Martin, passed the legislature and was signed into law this summer.

Public service announcements and campaigns to deter violence in healthcare settings were sparked by this bill, which also increased public knowledge of funding opportunities to improve staff and patient safety. However, more can be done, and in the 2024 legislative session, lawmakers will talk about potential legislation to safeguard workers going forward.

A heartfelt tribute to Joyce Grayson:

The terrible passing of Joyce Grayson has left a void in the hearts of all who knew her. An incredible thirty-five children were placed in foster care by her family between 2002 and 2021.

“Our hearts and sincere condolences are with the family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and the DCF staff who loved and worked with Joyce Grayson, a devoted and compassionate foster and adoptive parent of almost two decades,” said Vannessa Dorantes, commissioner of the state Department of Children and Families, in light of the family’s devotion.

Jessi Bessette wrote,

Joyce was a wonderful, gracious woman, who meant so much to so many. This donation is a way for those of us who feel a bit hopeless right now but want to show the family our love and support during these difficult times. Please share.

Elise Emmi wrote,

My heart literally breaks for her Family and all the many, many people she’s positively touched in her lifetime
May justice be served in her honor.

Christina chase wrote,

So horrible, my thoughts and prayers are with her family  As a visiting nurse myself, we need to be able to protect ourselves in a dangerous situation! Most hospital/agency policies do not allow even pepper spray. I think a visiting nurse should be able to carry pepper spray at the least

Lynne Dole Papa commented,

She was a long time member and supporter to my church. She was known to be a very kind and giving person. My prayers to her family and to all that new and Loved her.

Scott Cartier wrote,

Such a well known and liked family.I am at a loss for words.May our town pull together and show this family some love and support.God bless you Grayson family.We are here for you.


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3 thoughts on “Joyce Grayson Murder Update, What happened to the nurse in Willimantic? Suspect in custody”

  1. As I read this article I cry for her family my heart goes out to them. The scary thing to me is it happened right across the street from me.i never knew that was a set affenders house. I also wonder since it was a set affenders house WHT were they letting females in there.ive lived where I’m at for almost 9yrs and never knew set affenders lived so.close I never locked my doors well that has changed. Can anyone tell us when her services are

  2. My heart hurts , I can’t explain how bad. I’m from Texas and I just feel so bad for this loving family . She did not deserve this . God only you know the answers . How could be handle our souls this way . He deserves to be punished to the capacity of the system . How can sex offenders even be allowed to be alone with a women . The System fails us at hiring and nit taking our lives for what is worth . It’s fragile ‼️ Lord HELP … my condolences 💐. I just know the holidays are about to be rough and there is no excuse . Why wasn’t there 2 people going in the house . How was she left alone with this animal . So many questions

    • Woman ( typo ) but I’m furious .. excuse the typos … my heart is heavy . How could they allow a man like this to be left with any woman . I don’t understand


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