Arrest made in 2007 homicide
From the day Jennifer Bennett's lifeless body was discovered in Deerfield, her family has been left with nothing but questions regarding the 29-year-old's death. That was five years ago. Friday, they finally got some answers. Law enforcement announced an arrest in Bennett's murder. Sarah Blazonis reports.
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ONEIDA COUNTY,. -- "She was a great mother, a loving sister. She'd give her shirt off her back for you," Denise Barrett said of how she'd like her sister, Jennifer Bennett, to be remembered.
But more painful memories were brought up on Friday of the day Bennett's body was discovered behind the Deerfield Fire Department Pavilion in January 2007. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted.
The news finally came this week that her family had been longing to hear.
"As a result of the interview, the DNA match, and other evidence by the Sheriff's Office, Craig Ingersoll was arrested, processed, and charged with the death of Jennifer Bennett," Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol announced at a news conference Friday morning.
Though investigators say many suspects were looked at throughout the years, Ingersoll wasn't on their radar until September. That's when the Sheriff's Office got a hit from the state DNA database. DNA found on Bennett's body was a perfect match for 30-year-old Craig Ingersoll of Utica.
"At this point, we're not going to get into what the connection was. I'll just say that he knew her, so I'm not really going to get into too much as far as what happened at that point," said Sgt. Robert Nelson with the sheriff's offices' criminal investigation unit.
District Attorney Scott McNamara said it was one of the DNA database expansions that allowed for Ingersoll's DNA to be included in the system, and without which he may never have been apprehended.
"We had DNA, we did not know who it belonged to. That was one of the reasons I've been such a major proponent of expanding the DNA database -- because of Jennifer's case in particular," said McNamara.
Bennett's family said while they still have many questions, Ingersoll's arrest also brings some closure to the loss of a loved one still thought of everyday.
"About how kind and gentle and loving she was. You know, she got caught up in the wrong scene," said Barrett.
Craig Ingersoll has been charged with second degree murder and first degree criminal sexual act. He's scheduled to appear in a New York Mills court March 27.