Quiet Hanahan neighborhood disrupted by apparent homicide of 71-year-old man
HANAHAN — An elderly man who lived alone at the end of a quiet neighborhood cul-de-sac was found slain in his home Sunday afternoon.
Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury identified the victim late Sunday night as 71-year-old Roy Ray Bennett, of 2 Lombardi Lane, and Hanahan police said they suspect foul play. They wouldn't describe how Bennett was killed, saying that some details were being withheld for investigative purposes. An autopsy was scheduled for today, and police said more information would be released.
“It certainly looks like it's a homicide,” said Hanahan police Lt. Michael Fowler. “It did not appear to be accidental or natural.”
Police have been to Bennett's house before.
In 2009, he was charged by the State Law Enforcement Division with second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Police said they found child pornography on a computer in his home.
The outcome of the child pornography case was unclear late Sunday night, according to court records.
Bennett's body was discovered by a neighbor, who noticed Sunday morning that his truck was missing. Police searched for that truck for the remainder of the day, and they asked the public to be on the lookout for a silver 2009 Toyota Tacoma truck with S.C. license plate CBP-692.
“We're thinking the person we're looking for might have taken his truck,” Fowler said.
Police thought the homicide was an isolated incident, and they said residents in the surrounding Otranto neighborhood don't need to be worried about a similar situation cropping up again.
The last time Hanahan had a homicide was near the end of last year; local police asked the State Law Enforcement Division to assist with this investigation.
“We don't have a whole lot of these,” Fowler said.
Police blocked off the part of the street leading to Bennett's house for the afternoon. The flashing lights attracted the attention of most every passer-by, from teenagers riding go-carts to residents driving sport utility vehicles.
Neighbors said Bennett had lived there for years, and that he mostly kept to himself. His one-story, brick house with brown shutters had a U.S. flag hanging in front.
One of his neighbors, who asked not to be identified, stood in her driveway crying while police talked in the street. She said Bennett made her family wooden crafts and exchanged Christmas gifts with them.
She was surprised and saddened to hear about his death, particularly in such a safe area, she said.
“That's why we moved here,” she said. “I don't know what to think about this. He was a good man. He didn't deserve anything like this. We're going to miss him.”
Editor's note: Due to a clerical error, earlier versions of this story incorrectly listed an additional charge against Bennett.
David MacDougall contributed to this story.