Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police: Murder Suspect Tried Incinerating Body

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police: Murder Suspect Tried Incinerating Body

Article excerpt

LIVE OAK -- For days, a dying man returned again and again to

dump diesel fuel and wood on the burning body of a woman shot on

the ranch where he lives, police said.

"I've never seen a human torso totally burned up," said Maj.

Les Hall, chief deputy in the Suwanee County Sheriff's Office.

"He kept pouring diesel fuel and wood on her and kept the fire

stoked up."

Kelley Melinda Wynkoop, 28, was shot Sept. 26 on the ranch in

Wellborn, a rural community 15 miles east of Live Oak.

Donald Robert Benoit, a terminally ill patient she had

befriended, was charged Sunday with murder.

Hall said Benoit, 40, was the last person to see Wynkoop alive.

Investigators said Benoit told them he shot Wynkoop while the

two were shooting bullfrogs with a .22-caliber rifle in a pond

behind the ranch.

Hall said Benoit told police he shot Wynkoop in the back of the

head with the rifle because he "wondered what it would be like

to shoot somebody."

Benoit said he then went to his trailer for three hours and

returned to the pond to find Wynkoop dead. He told police he

used a tractor to drag Wynkoop's body to a burn pit and torched

her body for three or four days.

Benoit was under guard at Shands Hospital in Gainesville

yesterday, not in jail, because he has AIDS and is dying, police

said. Police said Benoit has thrown urine and feces at hospital


Hall said Benoit told investigators he has AIDS and it was

confirmed by Wynkoop's roommate and doctors at Shands at

Live Oak hospital, where he was treated before being

transferred to Gainesville.

Wynkoop's slaying has crushed her friends and relatives,

especially her sister in New York who was helping her become

independent. Kathy Wynkoop said her sister had a learning

disability and was mentally slow. But what made Kelley Wynkoop

so charming and at the same time vulnerable was that she was

naive to the sometimes wicked ways of the world. …

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