One Week After Arrest, Sheriff's Office Issues First Public Statement
The Stafford County Sheriff's Office has been on the scene at 881 Belle Plains Road since March 14.
Keep up with the latest on this investigation at 881 Belle Plains Road.
"On Thursday evening, March 14, 2013, Stafford County Detectives executed a search warrant at 881 Belle Plains Road," Bill Kennedy, Stafford County Sheriff's Office public information officer, said in a press release distributed by email at 4:07 p.m. March 21.
"As a result of that search warrant, the Sheriff’s Office remains onsite in furtherance of the ongoing investigation," Kennedy said.
The Sheriff's Office again confirmed the arrest of Dennis Paul Benzie on multiple charges, which was reported by Patch on March 19.
"We want to assure the public that this investigation does not pose a threat to the Belle Plains community," Kennedy said.
Neighbors in the community of White Oak have complained about the lack of information provided by law enforcement. A Fredericksburg Patch reader noted Monday on Facebook that there was "major police activity" on Belle Plains Road on Saturday, March 16. "But we have heard no news on what was going on," she said. "We in White Oak would love to know."
The FBI confirmed Tuesday to Patch they had provided resource assistance to the Stafford County Sheriff's Office at the crime scene over the weekend.
"You cannot have a police investigation of this magnitude for several days and expect it to be kept secret and for neighbors to not start asking questions," Heather Smith wrote on the Facebook page for Fredericksburg Patch. "There are several websites out there with public information regarding at least one arrest made at this address, and not even a general statement from local law enforcement acknowledging any investigation at the property," she said.
"I fully understand, as well as I'm sure everybody else, that they're not going to give full details of what they are doing so as to not compromise their case," Smith wrote. "But NO law enforcement acknowledgement is what starts rumors swirling. The people of this neighborhood deserve to know what is going on in their backyard," she said.
"The public does have a right to know and the press has every right to ask questions," she said.
Staff in the Stafford County Clerk of the Court's office told Patch on Tuesday that the executed search warrant is sealed. In addition, details of 19 active charges against Benzie have been restricted in the court's database and cannot be viewed.
"In order to protect the integrity of this investigation, we are not in a position to make further comment," Kennedy said in the March 21 press release. "At such time when we are able to release information, you will be notified," he said.
List of coverage:
- Report: Stafford County Sheriff's Search for Bodies on Belle Plains Property (March 20, 2013)
- Investigators at Mystery Crime Scene on Belle Plains Road for Sixth Day (Photos) (March 20, 2013)
- Sheriff's Office Confirms Arrest, Ongoing Investigation (March 19, 2013)
- Mystery: Drug Search Confirmed at Belle Plains Home (March 19, 2013)
- Mystery: Sheriff's Office Hasn't Left Crime Scene Since Saturday (March 18, 2013)
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