The cold case murder of Markia Benson - Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania - March 30, 2016

On March 30, 2016, 36-year-old Markia Benson failed to show up for work at a Chester-based packaging company. Because this was unusual for her, her colleagues immediately thought it suspicious. After all, she hadn't signed off. Her mother couldn't reach her that day either, and as people started to worry, Markia's boyfriend and a colleague decided to drop by her apartment, arriving around 4:30PM. Although her car was parked in the parking lot, the door was not answered. After telling the manager of the complex that it was a health check, he gave them the key to enter.

Upon entering, they immediately saw that something was wrong. There was a steam inside the house, it had been completely turned upside down, and anti-feminist words were written on the wall in lipstick. Markia's boyfriend heard that water was being used in the bathroom and he went straight to it. There he made the most gruesome discovery of his life. In the bathtub lay the naked dead body of his girlfriend Markia Benson, with the hot water tap still on. It was immediately clear that she had been brutally murdered.

Autopsy on Karkia's body
The autopsy performed on the body showed that Markia had died from a combination of blunt and sharp trauma to the head and neck area, aggravated by the immersion in the boiling water. The time of the murder is believed to have been in the morning, when Markia was getting ready to go to work. According to research, the 36-year-old may have been alive when she was placed under a hot tap in the bath. A terrible thought.

Police Investigation
The police investigated the murder at the scene. It was a crime scene that even the most experienced detectives would never forget. The entire house was searched for clues to the perpetrator. It was determined that he was probably let in by the victim himself. Investigators found traces of blood on Markia's walls, mattress and pillow, and the team had specialists investigate whether the murder was committed in the bedroom. They suspected so. It appeared that Markia was initially assaulted in the bedroom, and later laid dead or nearly dead in the bathtub. The bedroom did not show many traces of a struggle. The living room was one big mess. Cupboards were overturned, trash cans tipped over, it was a great havoc. What investigators noticed was that Markia's passport had been torn up among all the junk. An interesting detail..

According to the detectives, the murder reminded them of someone who had a huge anger towards Markia. A random killing is in most cases not very violent, but only effective. Murders committed by acquaintances of the victim are in many cases more gruesome. For that reason, the police suspected that the killer must have been someone she knew. The fact that he was probably let in by Markia, and the shredded passport supported that theory. Why would someone tear up her passport? Was the killer angry because Markia led a wanderlust life? Or did he also want to 'kill' her identity after the murder.

Hoping to catch a glimpse of the killer, Police carefully watched video recordings from the apartment complex's security camera. Anyone walking in and out of the building on the day of the murder was subject to a keen eye, but the detectives saw no suspicious persons.

Persons of Interest
Her boyfriend was questioned. He and Markia had an on and off relationship for about three years. But according to witnesses and himself, the relationship had always been good. Markia's sister confirmed that he was always very loving towards Markia. The boy cooperated very well with the investigation and voluntarily gave his fingerprints and DNA. The police checked his phone records and in the end concluded that the he most likely had nothing to do with the murder. He was never a suspect.

Creepy neighbor
After conversations with family and friends, a neighbor soon came into the picture. Markia had told several people about this rather strange man, whom she described as creepy. Apparently he had shown up at her door one day with a bottle of wine and two glasses. She then had a glass of wine with him as a courtesy. When questioned by police, he denied hanging out with Markia, saying they had only run into each other in the hallway. He also said he didn't even know her name.

The man had come to live in the complex in November 2015 after he and his wife had separated. However, the police believed that the neighbor was lying about the bottle of wine he shared with Markia because he and his wife had made up. Investigators also spoke to his wife, and his employer, and concluded that he had a good alibi. The strange neighbor was also removed from the list.

In many conversations with people close to Markia, the name of her ex-boyfriend immediately came up. The couple was together from 2009 to 2013. It became clear to the police that the man had been physically and emotionally abusive towards her. Despite this, Markia reconnected with her ex-boyfriend a few weeks before the murder.  Investigation showed that the man had angrily left her voicemail a number of times after the murder, asking why she was avoiding him. The police seriously wondered if he staged this, to make the police believe he knew nothing about the crime.

He soon came to police headquarters on his own because he said he wanted to know what was going on with the investigation. The police were amazed at his initiative. The man turned out to be very cooperative and allowed the investigators to check his phone records. He also voluntarily gave his fingerprints and DNA. He gave relatively detailed statements about where he had been at certain times. Indeed, some of these spots could be confirmed by video surveillance cameras. He indicated that Markia had told him that their relationship was over for good, and that the two had been arguing. Still, she wanted to meet him. The communication typified an on-again, off-again relationship, and it's not clear what Markia really intended. According to her family, despite the abuse, her heart was with her ex-boyfriend.

The police couldn't catch him showing any emotion around the death of his ex. The only time he showed emotion was when they told him his statements were incoherent. He offered to take a lie detector test. The result, according to two experts, was ''indicated deception''..
Although the police believe he had a clear motive for the murder, in the end they were never able to collect enough evidence against him.

Information and Tips
The gruesome murder of Markia Benson has not yet been solved. Her relatives are still combative and, together with the police, hope that the killer will be caught one day. This requires help from people who know more about the crime. Is that you? Do you know anything about Markia's murder? Then let us know now. Don't hesitate and get in touch (anonymously) using the form below.

This goes without the interference of the police, and entirely through our editors. If you would like to remain anonymous, do not enter your name and e-mail address. We ensure that your information ends up in the right place with the appropriate cold case team. 

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