Shop Searched in Body Parts Case

9:21 PM, Nov 12, 2007   |    comments
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Investigators converged Monday on a collision shop in DeKalb County in the search for a crime scene in the case of a murdered and dismembered woman. The man who owns the shop, Franklin Benson, 49, was charged Sunday night with killing his girlfriend and then dumping some of her body parts in a wooded area of Newton County. The case broke on October 30 when a homeowner returned from work to find her two dogs in her backyard fighting in the dark over what turned out to be a human hand. After daybreak, several other body parts were found by Newton County Sheriff's investigators and GBI agents. On November 6, when out-of-town relatives reported Leslyan Williams, 49, of Decatur, missing, agents determined that the body parts were hers. They have yet to recover Williams' torso and head. Now, investigators want to know if Williams' murder took place at the auto repair shop on Covington Highway owned by the suspect. "They lived together, boyfriend and girlfriend, and from there investigators were able to develop enough evidence to charge him in connection with the death of Ms. Williams," said GBI spokesman John Bankhead. Investigators said the missing body parts could be the key to determining how Williams died. For now, the suspect has not revealed the reason behind her dismemberment, Bankhead said. The woman's next-door neighbor described her as friendly and always in the yard mowing the lawn. "Just hard to believe she was missing, and then when I thought about it, I hadn't really seen her out there riding that lawn mower," neighbor Linda Mitchell said. Benson is being held in the Newton County jail. Investigators are asking anyone with information on either Williams or Benson to call the GBI Tip Line at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477).

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