BREAKING NEWS: Dagsboro man arrested in Bennett murder case

Maryland State Police homicide investigators reported on July 6 that they had charged a Dagsboro-area man in connection with the murder of Nicole Bennett of Millsboro, who was found dead in the Whaleyville, Md., area on June 15.

Matthew Burton, 28, of Dagsboro, was charged on Friday with first and second degree murder and was being held at the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown, pending an extradition hearing requested by the State of Maryland.

Bennett, 35, was found dead on the morning of June 15, on an embankment off of Swamp Road in Worcester County, Md.  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 in the embankment off of the dirt road.

Bennett's husband had reported her to Delaware police as missing an hour prior to the discovery, after she had not returned home from a church in Gumboro where she had reportedly been working late.

Delaware State Police found Bennett’s vehicle parked in the church lot, locked, with her personal belongings inside.  Police said they learned Bennett had been alone inside the church with a custodian, identified as Burton.  Burton was subsequently located and interviewed by investigators.

According to the MSP, DNA evidence gathered by crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division connected Burton to the crime, and an arrest warrant for Burton was obtained.

About 7:15 p.m. Friday evening, the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force, a warrant apprehension team, located Burton driving on Route 1 near Rehoboth Beach, police said. He was apprehended on a subsequent traffic stop and taken into police custody.

Investigators said they had not yet confirmed the scene of the initial crime.  A motive for the murder remained unclear, police noted. The investigation was continuing this week.

Pick up the July 13 issue of the Coastal Point for more on this story.