A Walton County Grand Jury indicted 50-year-old Shawn Richard Bennett on charges of First Degree Murder and Robbery with a Firearm.
The charges stem from a missing persons case that unfolded in August 2021.
The investigation, spearheaded by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, began with a missing persons report that led authorities to track the victim’s vehicle across various locations in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, according to a release by the District One State Attorney’s Office.
As the trail unfolded, law enforcement officials say they discovered the unimaginable – the victim buried in a freshly dug grave.
The Walton County Sheriff’s and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s collaborative efforts were pivotal in unraveling this complex case.
Okaloosa County Sheriffs arrested Bennett for possessing weapons or ammunition (as a previously convicted felon, Bennett cannot have weapons). Subsequently, they held him for the Walton County Sheriff’s Office on the murder charge.
Simultaneously, investigators uncovered significant evidence allegedly linking him to the deceased victim, including the recovery of property belonging to the tragically departed.
Deputy Chief Assistant State Attorney Josh Mitchell will lead the case’s prosecution on behalf of Ginger Bowden Madden, the State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit.