Cold Case Solved: College Student’s Murder Linked to Deceased Man Through DNA

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More than three decades after the murder of Cathy Sposito, a 23-year-old college student, the cold case has been solved. Sposito was attacked while hiking on Thumb Butte Trail, Prescott, Arizona, in 1987. Officials have identified Bryan Scott Bennett, then a 16-year-old high school junior, as the assailant. They believe he ambushed Sposito, assaulting her before fatally injuring her with a rock, wrench, and a .22 caliber gun.

DNA advancements in 2017 linked Bennett to a 1990 attack on the same trail, which subsequently connected him to Sposito’s case. Further investigations revealed Bennett sexually assaulted three other women in subsequent years. Notably, two cases from 1990 and 1993 involved allegations of sexual assault; he was arrested for both but was not convicted.

Bennett relocated to Kentucky in 1994 and later died by suicide. In a recent development, authorities exhumed his body in November 2022. By March, they confirmed that DNA on the wrench from Sposito’s crime scene matched Bennett’s.

Renee Sandoval, a survivor of Bennett’s attacks, expressed relief at the case’s resolution. Officials now urge any additional victims to step forward.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

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