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Police Looking For Male Suspect In Raleigh Woman's Death

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh police have released more information in the murder of a 23-year-old woman found dead in her apartment.

Stephanie Bennett, 23, was found dead inside her apartment near Lake Lynn Tuesday afternoon. Police believe she was killed late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. They also believe a male suspect is responsible.

Bennett, formerly of Rocky Mount, Virginia, was a Roanoke College graduate who moved to Raleigh with a business degree in 2001. She recently worked for IBM. Her father said she planned to move to Greenville, S.C. in July.

Bennett shared the apartment with her half-sister, who called the office of the Bridgeport Apartment complex Tuesday after not being able to get in touch with Bennett at home, at work or by cell phone.

The woman, who was out of town on business, gave permission for a maintenance employee of the apartment complex to check their first floor apartment. Bennett's body was found inside.

Police have released few details of their investigation.

"We're developing new information. I mean we're getting a lot of information from the crime scene itself. We've done a very thorough canvass. We certainly hope to make contact with everybody who's been in this apartment complex in the recent past," said Lt. Chris Morgan of the Raleigh Police Department.

Investigators hope someone saw something then, and will come forward.

"We've always counted on cooperation and help from the community in solving all our cases," Morgan said.

Investigators are also trying to determine if a recent peeping tom incident reported at the apartment complex is linked to the murder. They are not saying whether the murder is linked to series of break-ins in north and west Raleigh.

After Bennett's body was discovered, crime scene investigators gave special attention to a wooded area about 50 yards from the building, but police would not reveal what they were looking for.

Wednesday morning, police checked the identification of residents, as well as took down the names and driver's licenses of people whose cars were parked near the crime scene.

Residents learned of the apparent murder through a letter distributed by the complex management Tuesday evening. The letter also warned them to lock their doors and windows and to look out for their own safety.

Those residents, as well as residents of other nearby complexes and people who frequent nearby Lake Lynn are concerned about their safety.

Erin Stamness said she will not relax until she knows whether this was an isolated incident.

"I was talking to police last night and asked if it was. [The officer] told me to read between the lines and keep your ears and eyes open," she said.


Len Besthoff, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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