Last month, 90-year-old Earl Olander was found beaten to death inside his Carver County home. Until a few days ago, the brutal death of this lifelong farmer had the quite, rural community on edge.
On May 9, Carver County sheriff’s deputies arrested Edson Celin-Dominguez Benitez, 29, and the next day, took Reinol Godiness Vergara, 35, into custody for the murder.
The pair were hired by Olander to paint his house, and the bloody crime appeared to be one of opportunity, as Vergara said he knew that the old man would be “an easy target,” according to detectives.
Benitez and Vergara walked into Olander’s home, and found him asleep on the sofa. They wrapped a blanket around his head and beat the 90-year-old repeatedly with the butt of a shotgun.
Olander bled to death with his hands duct-taped behind his back, as the assailants burglarized his home. Rare coins, silverware, savings bonds and a foreign language Bible were stolen, among other items.
KARE 11 reported:
It was that stolen bible that eventually lead investigators to crack the case. Police received a call from a citizen who was cleaning out an apartment in St. Paul when he found the bible and two savings bonds issued to Earl Olander.
The man searched Olander’s name on the internet, found he had been the victim of homicide, and called authorities. Detectives then learned the apartment had been rented by Edson Benitez, located the suspect, and arrested him at his place of work.
He admitted that he had been in possession of the bible, and had left it behind when he moved out. At the time of his arrest police say Edson was wearing a Croc shoe,similar to one that left prints on the murder scene.
Apparently, under questioning, Benitez told investigators of Vergara’s role in the murder.
Both Benitez and Vergara have been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree murder while committing a felony.
Vergara is currently being held at the Carver County Jail on $1.5 million bond.
Benitez is currently being held at the McLeod County Jail, also on $1.5 million bond.
Both suspect’s required the assistance of a Spanish language interpreter during their arraignment.