Body Found Buried in Somerset Co. Identified as Missing Delaware Woman

MANOKIN, Md. (April 3, 2011) — Maryland State Police recovered the body of a Delaware woman who has been missing for four months and have arrested two Wicomico County men as their investigation continues into what caused the death of the woman.

An examination today at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore identified the body as Whitney L. Bennett, 23, of the 36000-block of Susan Beach Road, Delmar, Delaware. Although the body was identified, the medical examiner said the cause and manner of Bennett’s death remains undetermined. Additional forensic examination and tests will be conducted.

State Police investigators last night arrested two men in connection with the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Bennett. They are identified as Steven L. Akers, 36, and Claude H. Hill, 49, both of the 400-block of South Camden Ave., Fruitland, Md. Both Akers and Hill are charged with accessory after the fact and obstruction of justice. They are being held in the Wicomico County Detention Center on $100,000 bond. They are believed to have known Bennett and others with whom she associated.

Bennett was reported missing by her mother to the Delaware State Police on December 9, 2010. Delaware State Police investigators determined Bennett had last been seen alive in Wicomico County on December 4, 2010. The Wicomico County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) assumed the investigation into Bennett’s disappearance and began an intense search for her which has continued through this weekend.

During this past weekend, WCBI investigators received information indicating a possible location of a buried body that could be Bennett. Investigators obtained a search warrant for an unoccupied property of several acres located in the 29000-block of Pond Run Drive in Manokin, in Somerset County. WCBI and Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators served the search warrant yesterday morning. With the assistance of State Police crime scene technicians, investigators recovered the body from where it was buried in a wooded area on the rural property.

The state’s attorneys from both Wicomico and Somerset counties worked with investigators throughout the weekend. No one has been charged with the death of Bennett and it has not officially been ruled a homicide.

The investigation is active and ongoing. Investigators are working to develop information on when and how Bennett died and if anyone was responsible for her death. Anyone with information is urged to contact Maryland State Police at the Salisbury Barrack at 410-749-3101. Persons with information may also call Wicomico County Crimes Solvers at 410-548-1776 and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Source: MSP HQ

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