Sheriff says Benefield's family key in capturing her killer - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Sheriff says Benefield's family key in capturing her killer

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Harrison Co. Sheriff Tom McCool Harrison Co. Sheriff Tom McCool
Crime scene in Marshall where Alicia Benefield's body was found Crime scene in Marshall where Alicia Benefield's body was found
Rodris Webster, 25 in a photo from a previous arrest. (Source: Harrison County Sheriff's Office) Rodris Webster, 25 in a photo from a previous arrest. (Source: Harrison County Sheriff's Office)
Alicia Benefield, 19 (Source: Harrison County Sheriff's Office) Alicia Benefield, 19 (Source: Harrison County Sheriff's Office)
MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) -

Harrison County Sheriff Tom McCool says family members played a key role in the capture of Alicia Benefield's accused killer, Rodris Webster, 25, of Elysian Fields.

"They continued to encourage him to talk to authorities," McCool says. "The family gave us a great deal of information..we followed up on that in a planned pattern of attack on every physical geographical location..people to talk to and other things.. What really lead this case to a conclusion was the family's support of our investigation and their support of finding out the truth about what happened."

KSLA News 12 dug up a list of Webster's criminal history. On it is injury to a child and that is the felony that made it illegal for Webster to carry a firearm. The Harrison County Clerk gave KSLA News 12 these records. Back in 2007 Webster was indicted for injury to a child, a felony, that put him behind bars.  Around that same time, he pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault to a child. According to these records, a child is defined as someone under the age of 14 years old. In December of last year he was charged with indecent exposure.

Webster was charged with Benefield's murder Tuesday night after deputies discovered Benefield's body near the intersection of FM 31 and Elysian Fields Rd. in Marshall at around 10 p.m. He was also charged with felony possession of a firearm.

Family members said authorities told them Benefield was strangled and shot to death. McCool said authorities believe Benefield was in a vehicle with Webster traveling from Elysian Fields to Marshall. They left Marshall and headed back towards the Elysian Fields area, where the murder occurred just on the edge of Marshall.

The 19-year-old had been missing since Friday. McCool said Webster was found on the evening after the murder in Waskom, TX., and that investigators found a muddied hoodie and her car keys in a dumpster behind the Food Mart off I-20. Investigators confirmed the hoodie belonged to Webster.

Right now, investigators are awaiting physical evidence from the autopsy report to determine Benefield's exact cause of death. The body has been sent back to the Northwest Louisiana Crime Lab for a forensics autopsy.

During Wednesday's news conference, McCool was asked what the motive was for the killing. "I can't answer that question. I'm not sure the suspect can answer that question adequately either."

McCool said his department had received a call from a resident near Elysian Fields that Benefield couldn't leave a house Friday night because her car wouldn't start, and that one of the deputies helped her and followed her into Panola County.

McCool says it's been a tough five days, but he thinks justice can now be served in Benefield's death. "We have a statement, we have the body and all that evidence led to his arrest."

According to the sheriff, Webster had been in the Harrison County Jail on a number of occasions and had a previous felony conviction.

Harrison County Sheriff's Office Public Information Office Jay Webb says Webster was arrested on January 5 on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The complaint that led to that charge was filed by Benefield. Webster remained in the Harrison County Jail until March 5, when Benefield dropped the charge.

Webster was booked into the Harrison County Jail Tuesday night on a charge of murder related to the death of Alicia Benefield and a charge of felon in possession of a firearm. His bond has been set at $1.015 million.

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