A 27-year-old Connecticut man has been charged with what authorities say was the "vicious murder" of Evalyce Santiago. The 16-year-old was found dead inside a vehicle after a crash in Waterbury Monday night, People reports. Dominique Pittman was arrested after police discovered that the teen had been shot twice in the head and once in the hand. Pittman initially told police that Santiago had been shot by a third person who ran away after the crash, but he later admitted he'd been alone in the car with her, reports the Hartford Courant. He claimed that she removed his gun from the car's center console during an argument and she was shot as they both struggled for the weapon.
Police say Pittman, who received minor injuries in the crash, told them he'd been in a sexual relationship with the teen—and she had threatened to tell his girlfriend of six years about it. Santiago's relatives say they had no idea the teen was involved with Pittman, who fathered three children with the girl's aunt. "That's when we all realize the tragedy. It was under our noses and we didn't see it," Santiago's grandfather tells NBC Connecticut. Pittman is being held on $3 million bail on a murder charge and weapons violations. A mental health evaluation was ordered after he appeared in court Wednesday. (Read more Connecticut stories.)