Remains Identified As Missing Woman

By: AP
By: AP

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - A set of human remains found in a crude grave have been identified as those of a Salvadoran immigrant missing since her husband killed their four children and himself more than a year ago, authorities said Thursday.

Cindy Feadstein of the state's medical examiner's office confirmed the skeletal remains had been identified as Deysi M. Benitez, 25, who vanished in March 2007.

The remains were found Feb. 29 in a patch of wooded land along a highway near Emmitsburg, about 20 miles north of Frederick, where Benitez and her family lived.

Police found her husband, Pedro Rodriguez, 28, and their children, ages 1 to 9, dead in the home on March 26, 2007. Police concluded he had smothered the three girls and killed the boy with a blow to the head, and then hanged himself.

The mother had not been seen by neighbors since about a week earlier. The couple had been grappling with financial problems and the husband had recently learned he was losing his job, officials had said.

Police officials declined to comment until a news conference.

Retired Frederick City Police Lt. Thomas Chase, who investigated the case before his retirement last year, said he hoped the resolution would bring closure to the couple's families.

"I'm deeply saddened that she was killed as well. I had hoped that she wasn't," Chase said.

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