Cape Gazette
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Bennett family launches memorial website

Site features photos, memories of Nicole Bennett
By Rachel Swick Mavity | Jul 20, 2012
Source: File photo Shown is Nicole Bennett in 2010 when she was baptized at Bay Shore Community Church outside Gumboro.

The Bennett family of Millsboro has launched a website in memory of Nicole Bennett, the 35-year-old mother of three found murdered along a rural road outside Whaleyville, Md.

The new site features family photos of Nicole with her husband, Kevin, and their three daughters. It also asks for donations.

With Nicole's death, Kevin has been left with many unexpected needs, including the need to hire a nanny, said Bob Bennett, Kevin's father. The family also faces financial difficulty with the loss of Nicole's salary.

"The purpose of this fund is to help Lauren, Emily, Allie and Kevin support unexpected costs and to help pay off existing debts that Nicole and Kevin were both working toward," writes Bennett on the website. "Funds will also be placed into a college fund for the three girls."

Bob Bennett and his wife, Mary, have been helping care for the children since Nicole's passing. The family is asking for monetary donations, as well as donations of clothing, diapers and other children's items.

For more information or to donate, go to nicolereiserbennett.com.

Background of Bennett case

Nicole Bennett rented a home in the Peninsula at Long Neck with Kevin.

On June 14, she stayed home to take care of her 15-month-old, who was sick. During the early evening, Bennett decided to go into work at Bay Shore Community Church outside Gumboro to catch up on work she missed during the day.

Also working at the church that night was Matthew N. Burton, 28, of Dagsboro, a part-time custodian.

Maryland State Police Detective Sgt. Steve Hall said DNA found on Bennett's body was a match for Burton. Based on this DNA evidence, Maryland police were granted a warrant for Burton's arrest.

Burton, a Tier-1 registered sex offender, was arrested July 6 at 7:15 p.m. outside Rehoboth Beach. He was charged with first- and second-degree murder and is in Sussex Correctional Institution awaiting an extradition hearing.

Hall said the three-week police investigation into Bennett's murder turned up no connections between Burton and Bennett, who worked in the church’s nursery.

June 14 was to be Burton's last day of employment at the church, according to church officials.

An autopsy conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore determined Bennett was murdered and had been asphyxiated. Autopsy evidence also indicated she was already dead when her body was left on the embankment.

Bay Shore church officials said in a statement that they were unaware of Burton's past criminal charges when he was hired as a part-time custodian.

Burton lived in Dagsboro with his wife, Traci, and their two children. The family attorney, John Garey, declined to comment on the pending extradition hearing, which is slated for Monday, Aug. 6.

 

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