Bay Shore Church issues statementBurton's contract ended when his criminal record was discovered
The church attended by the families of Nicole Bennett and the man charged in her murder has released a statement following the arrest of Matthew N. Burton, an independent contractor working at the church.
"We pray that justice will be done with respect to this tragic event," reads the statement from Bay Shore Community Church outside Gumboro.
"Bay Shore continues to cooperate fully with the authorities with respect to this investigation while also supporting and ministering to Nicole’s family," the July 7 statement reads. "When we became aware that [Burton] had a criminal record which had not been previously disclosed, he was informed that his contract would be terminated. Mr. Burton’s work for Bay Shore Community Church ended on June 14, 2012."
Nicole Bennett worked in the nursery program; Burton, 28, of Dagsboro was employed as an independent contractor to provide janitorial services. Burton was stopped July 6 by U.S. Marshals near Rehoboth Beach and has been charged with first- and second-degree murder in Bennett's death.
During the evening of June 14, Nicole Bennett, a 35-year-old mother of three from Millsboro, was working late at Bay Shore church outside Gumboro. She had missed part of that day because her 15-month-old daughter was sick, so she went to the church to catch up on what she had missed.
When she didn't arrive home by the next morning, Bennett's husband of 15 years, Kevin, called Delaware State Police. An hour later, a man walking along a rural road in Whaleyville, Md., told Maryland State Police he saw the body of a woman lying on an embankment off the road.
Bennett had been asphyxiated, according to Maryland State Police. Police said DNA found at the scene linked Burton to the murder. Police said Burton was at the church June 14, the same night Bennett was working late.
Burton is being held at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown pending extradition to Maryland.
Bennett's family is asking that anyone interested in helping the family donate to the Nicole Reiser Bennett Memorial Fund at WSFS Bank in Millsboro.
Bay Shore statement:
"We understand that Matthew Burton has been arrested and charged with the murder of Nicole Bennett. Mr. Burton worked as an independent contractor for a short time at Bay Shore cleaning the facility during evening hours. When we became aware that he had a criminal record which had not been previously disclosed, he was informed that his contract would be terminated. Mr. Burton’s work for Bay Shore Community Church ended on June 14, 2012.
"Bay Shore continues to cooperate fully with the authorities with respect to this investigation while also supporting and ministering to Nicole’s family. We pray that justice will be done with respect to this tragic event."