Sheriff: 100-year-old SeaTac man is homicide victim

SEATAC, Wash. - The King County Sheriff's Office has launched a homicide investigation after a 100-year-old man was found dead in his home under suspicious circumstances, with his wallet missing.

The victim, identified as longtime SeaTac resident Robert O. Benson, was found dead Friday by a friend who become worried after Benson failed to show up for their weekly coffee meet-up.

The friend went to Benson's home and found him dead. Major crime detectives responded to the scene and determined that Benson's wallet was missing, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sgt. D.B. Gates.

The cause of death is still under investigation, but it is considered a homicide, Gates said.

She said detectives are hoping that someone has found Benson's wallet or perhaps an item from his wallet that would help with the investigation.

The brown leather wallet is scuffed in appearance and contained Benson's driver's license along with cards from Chase, Key Bank and a Discover credit card. Also in the wallet were miscellaneous items, including an AARP card, his proof of car insurance, and his Medicare card.

Gates said Benson had lived in SeaTac for a very long time. His family developed the residential area where he lived and he was fairly well known in his neighborhood, where he had resided for many years.

He lived on his own, got around fine and still drove his own car, Gates said. She said Benson and his friend had gotten together every Friday morning for coffee for more than 40 years, which is why the friend became concerned when Benson didn't show up.

Benson's neighbors are terribly saddened and anxious.

"I feel like evil entered our neighborhood when Mr. Benson was taken from us," said Jeanine Rice. "To live a hundred and live in this neighborhood that long and to have it end this way."

Jeanine and her husband say Benson was a private man, but a fixture in their community who impressed people with his vitality.

"He was the pillar of the community because everybody knew who Mr. Benson was," Jeanine said. "And if they didn't know his name they knew that he was the little man with the walker that walked every day."

Hank Rice said he cried when he heard news of the murder.

"I hope that we can find some justice, hope there is justice, because this man does not deserve what has happened," he said.

Anyone with information on the wallet or Benson's death is asked to call the King County Sheriff's Office at (206) 296-3311.