UPDATE: Man indicted for July murder of 89-year-old Elizabethton woman

UPDATE: Man indicted for July murder of 89-year-old Elizabethton woman

A grand jury has indicted the man police said raped, robbed and assaulted an elderly Carter County resident last summer so severely that she died days later.

Chad Anthony Benfield, 44, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the July 2017 death of 89-year-old Mary Nolen at her home in the 100 block of Dan Bowers Road in Elizabethton, according to a report issued Wednesday by Sheriff Dexter Lunceford.

Nolen was found by her daughter unable to speak and with significant bruising. The victim was able to nod to investigators and emergency responders when asked if she had been assaulted. She died two weeks later at a Johnson City hospital.

Nolen's autopsy revealed blunt force trauma to her head.

DNA testing conducted by the TBI laboratory revealed elements that traced back to Benfield who had been living directly behind Nolen's residence. Benfield had just been released from a South Carolina prison eight months prior to the incident after serving a 16-year sentence for burglary, the report said.

A former girlfriend told police that after she decided to leave Benfield she discovered unfamiliar bed sheets, a night gown and bath robe stashed in the basement of their home. Those turned out to belong to Nolen.


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