Nicole Bennett’s body was found along a dirt road in Worcester County, Maryland, last summer; more than a year later, Delaware State Police have charged 29-year-old Matthew Burton with the Millsboro woman’s murder.
Burton, 29, of Dagsboro has been in custody since July 2012, but in Maryland, since Bennett’s body was found there. However, upon further investigation, state police said the evidence indicates the crimes were committed in Delaware.
An autopsy conducted at the office of the chief medical examiner in Baltimore revealed the 35-year-old mother of three had been asphyxiated. The autopsy also indicated Bennett was already dead when her body was left in the embankment off of Swamp Road.
Bennett’s husband, Kevin, reported her missing, June 15, after she did not return home from the Bay Shore Community Church in Gumboro, Del., where she had been working late the night before. State Troopers learned Bennett had been alone inside the church with Burton, a custodian at the time.
Working alongside Maryland State Police, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Investigation, DSP says DNA evidence eventually connected Burton to the crime, leading to his arrest on July 6, 2012, near Rehoboth Beach.
Maryland has since dropped their charges against Burton, who remains behind bars on a fugitive warrant from Delaware. Once he’s extradited to the First State, he will be formally charged with the murder and rape of Nicole Bennett.
According to news reports, Bennett’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the church a few months ago, citing negligence on the church’s part, claming it knew about Burton’s violent past, which includes multiple counts of rape, yet failed to inform Bennett about his criminal history.