A Loudoun County couple out for their routine early-morning walk over the weekend might have been randomly attacked by as many as three assailants in the Lansdowne area, the county sheriff said yesterday.
William Bennett, 57, was found dead before 6 a.m. Sunday along Riverside Parkway near Rocky Creek Drive by a sheriff's deputy investigating a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area. His wife, Cynthia, 55, was found critically injured about 30 minutes later across the road, beyond a bloodied white fence in a muddy ditch, Simpson said.
"It has the look and feel of a random act," Simpson said. "I'm not sure how much you do to prepare for that. . . . Everybody has the same thought on their mind: 'See, that could have been me.' "
The Bennetts live in the Potomac Station subdivision in the Leesburg area, less than a mile from where they were found, Simpson said. They suffered severe blunt force trauma, but the medical examiner has not yet provided an official cause of death for the husband, Simpson said.
At 5:38 a.m. Sunday, a resident reported hearing a commotion and seeing several people get inside a white panel van that kept coming and going, authorities said. A deputy responded within five minutes and discovered the man's body on a grassy patch along Riverside Parkway, near a walking path that leads to Goose Creek, Simpson said.
Authorities combed the area, and, as the sun came up, investigators noticed blood across the street on a white fence that lines the road, Simpson said.
It was then that Cynthia Bennett was discovered about 50 yards away in a ditch. She was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital and was in critical condition yesterday. Investigators have not been able to talk to her, Simpson said. The couple were wearing jogging outfits when they were found.
Authorities were able to identify William Bennett, who carried no identification, by his fingerprint, which was on file because he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, Simpson said. The couple have two adult children, he said. [emphasis added] ...
Article here. We don't know if Mr. Bennett was carrying a firearm when he and his wife were attacked, but if he wasn't, I'll bet he died wishing he had. Obviously, just because you have a gun doesn't mean the encounter will turn out well for you, but the odds that it will are certainly better with a gun, than without.
From another article we learn that both Bennetts were ex-military, with Mr. Bennett having served as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel:
... Simpson said investigators are also trying to determine whether the retired lieutenant colonel with the Army Special Forces has held any jobs since leaving the CIA.
Bennett and his wife, residents of nearby Potomac Station, were on their routine early morning walk in the Lansdowne area when they were attacked by as many as three assailants, authorities said.
A sheriff's deputy responding to a report of a commotion and a suspicious white panel van about 5:30 a.m. in the Lansdowne area discovered William Bennett's body on the side of Riverside Parkway, near a gravel path not far from Rocky Creek Drive. His wife was found about 30 minutes later in a ditch, beyond a bloodied white fence across the street. Both had suffered blunt force trauma, but no weapon was recovered, and they might have been beaten.
Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the Bennetts were assaulted somewhere else and dumped there. ...
Multiple attackers, versus a 57 year old man and his 55 year old wife. From the news reports the area the couple were found is a relatively "safe" area, with a relatively low violent crime rate:
Bennett's slaying is the first homicide this year in Loudoun, where killings usually register in the low single digits annually. The sheriff's office investigated three homicides last year, up from one in 2007. Authorities described the Lansdowne area as fairly quiet and said crime there is generally limited to "quality of life" issues such as property destruction and car theft.
Perhaps the Bennetts were lulled into a false sense of security by that fact. Lesson: If you carry, you should consider carrying even in "safe" areas, because it will likely be even safer for you if you do.