A teenager is accused of targeting and murdering a couple employed at a pizza restaurant in an Indiana shopping plaza, authorities said.
On Feb. 12, Haley Smith, 22, and Dustin Carr, 37, were working at Papa John’s Pizza in Elkart.
Multiple witnesses told police Jose Benitez-Tilley Jr., 19, a former employee of the pizza shop, showed up around 10 p.m. and asked for a job, WBND reported, citing court records
Around 45 minutes later, video surveillance allegedly shows a subject in a gold Dodge Caravan outside the restaurant. The person exits the vehicle and heads toward Papa John’s.
The vehicle is then seen without its lights lit driving behind the restaurant at about 11:32 p.m.
The following morning shortly after 10 a.m., another Papa John’s employee arriving for work found the couple’s bodies in an alley behind the pizza shop, WNDU-TV reported.
Benitez-Tilley allegedly targeted Smith and Carr inside the business at closing time, and surveillance video recovered from the restaurant shows the murders, police said.
The suspect allegedly told detectives after the victims were killed he “attempted to have sexual intercourse with [Smith],” and stole her purse and jewelry as well as cash from the pizzeria, a probable cause affidavit states.
Benitez-Tilley Jr. was charged with two counts of murder as well as one count of attempted abuse of a corpse.
Ozzie Weyrick, the owner of the nearby business Red Beard Beef Jerky, expressed his shock about the murder.
“Something on this level? No, never. Never even thought it would, could happen around here,” Weyrick told WNDU-TV. “We’re really hoping police can get to the bottom of this and justice will be served.”
A family friend told the station the slain couple were recently engaged.
“[Haley] loved to read books, she loved sunflowers,” Jennifer Conway said. “Why would you hurt somebody like that?”
The investigation into Smith and Carr’s murders is ongoing.
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