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  1. #1
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    OR - Debbie Higbee Benton, 54, dies in contract killing, Gladstone, 28 May 2011

    I'm curious as to why the LEO's whereabouts are stated right out of the box. The article does not list him/her as a POI nor do they say that he/she's been cleared. The couple shared a last name and the officer is caring for the dogs. Possibly, it is because of a conflict of interest but it seems a little odd to me.

    Rest in peace, Debbie. Sounds like your precious puppies are being cared for.


    http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamasc...stigating.html

    Clackamas County [OR] investigating shooting death of Gladstone beautician

    "The Clackamas County major crimes team is investigating the fatal shooting of a woman in a Gladstone beauty salon late Saturday. Police identified the victim as 54-year-old Debbie Lee Higbee Benton, who owns Gladstone Beauty Salon. Her body was found in the beauty parlor, located at 430 Portland Ave. Higbee Benton had been in a relationship with Gladstone police Sgt. LB [EBM], who was on duty the night the body was discovered...."

    and

    "...Neighbors said the couple had been living together in Higbee Benton's two-bedroom mobile home in the park for at least a year. They said Benton moved out about a week ago but still visited. They said the couple, who kept to themselves, had known each other for many years...."

    and

    Gladstone Police Chief Jim Pryde referred the investigation to the major crimes team to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Pryde declined to comment on the case on Sunday, referring inquiries to the Milwaukie Police Department. Milwaukie Capt. David Rash is overseeing the investigation for the major crimes team.

    Investigators urged anyone in the area of the Gladstone Beauty Salon on Saturday between 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to contact Crime Stoppers at 503-786-7577.

    more at link

  2. #2
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    This clears up the relationship. The two women were domestic partners. Being that the officer is not a POI, I'm not naming her. The death was just ruled a homicide.

    http://www.kgw.com/home/Police-probe...122829639.html

    http://www.koinlocal6.com/news/local....cspx?rss=2638

  3. #3
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    Here's an article from last year concerning LE in Clackamas County. I had no idea they had so many problems within the department:

    http://www.wweek.com/portland/articl...iest_cops.html

    Also, note that in the article linked in the first post there is this statement:

    "....Gladstone police Sgt. LB [EBM], who was on duty the night the body was discovered....'

    It doesn't say that the officer had an alibi for when the woman was estimated to have been killed, just that she was on duty when the body was discovered. I also learned, from reading comments, that Debbie had a surveillance system and that she only dealt in cash, according to her customers. So, a possible robbery?

    Many are questioning why a department would automatically hand off an investigation to another jurisdiction. Many state that that is not typical when a family member of an officer is murdered as the department takes special pride and care in solving the crime for one of their own officers.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missizzy View Post
    This clears up the relationship. The two women were domestic partners. Being that the officer is not a POI, I'm not naming her. The death was just ruled a homicide.

    http://www.kgw.com/home/Police-probe...122829639.html

    http://www.koinlocal6.com/news/local....cspx?rss=2638
    Thanks for the O/T Missizzy, Interesting on the news tonight they didn't mention the officer she had lived with for many years was a female. I assumed it was a male - not that it matters, just interesting.

    I didn't really get much of anything from the news tonight except the bare bones facts and the photo they showed of her. She looks like a Sweetheart of a gal and heard she is highly regarded. That plus she had had the shop there for many years.

    I hope they solve this quickly. xox

    PS: I see they had separated their living relationship a week ago. The timing of that could be curious, eh? That and she was strangled. How awful for her to go thru that.

  5. #5
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    I hadn't seen that she was strangled. This morning, they said shot. Let me check.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamasc...stigating.html

    Clackamas County investigates shooting death of Gladstone beautician

    "....Higbee Benton was well known and liked in the small community. Several people turned up at the Gladstone Beauty Salon storefront on Monday after hearing the news.
    "She was awesome," said RC, a longtime friend whose husband had been getting his hair cut by Higbee for 20 years. "She was an icon. I had to come see for myself." The shop, inside a bright yellow facade, featured two hair stations and American memorabilia from the 1950s on the walls...."

    and

    "....Higbee Benton's last appointment on Saturday was at 3 p.m. Milwaukie police asked to speak with anyone who was in the area of the salon between 3:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday...."

    and

    "....Higbee Benton had lived at Tri City Mobile Home Court in the 19500 block of River Road for more than 20 years. On Monday afternoon, a lone Clackamas County sheriff's deputy guarded her powder-blue trailer, which is shaded by thick shrubbery and tall trees. A vintage pickup truck sat in a sheltered driveway, where an oversized American flag hung on a wall. Neighbors recalled that Higbee Benton was quick to wave as she headed to work in the morning. She didn't have a lot of company, neighbors recalled. "I've never seen anybody over there other than her one lady friend, the police officer..."

    and

    "...."Her big outing was going to the library and renting 'The Sopranos,'" RC said about Higbee Benton. A big camper who loved the beach, Higbee Benton had recently purchased a small motorhome and fixed it, planning on taking trips this summer...."

    more at link (including comments)


    According to this article (updated at 5:12 pm), she was found Saturday evening while her partner, the policer officer was on duty. This article also reports that it was a shooting.

    http://www.kgw.com/news/local/Police...122829639.html

    Gladstone officer's girlfriend found dead in hair salon

    Do you have a link about a strangling, scandi?

    FWIW, Oregon (and I live here) can be so ultra-politically correct, that things get muddled. I don't know why the officer was not identified as female in the first article (not a single pronoun was used) and why is it even an issue if she's not a POI? I can't imagine an article being titled this way if the couple was heterosexual.

    It's the same with race. There was an attack on the Mount Tabor walking/jogging path this weekend and the attacker was described in detail except for his race. That might be helpful.

    Just to be clear, they would be domestic partners in Oregon as we have civil ceremonies.

  6. #6
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    Hi Missizzy, It was in your KGW link: http://www.kgw.com/home/Police-probe...122829639.html


    Snippet from above link:


    " . . . . Investigators have not told the media exactly how they believe Higbee died. People interviewed near the salon by KGW said that detectives told them she had been shot. But another man said detectives told him she was strangled".

    It isn't confirmed tho as it doesn't state the name of the man who was told this by a detective. Thin at best although maybe true. xox

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missizzy View Post

    Snipped for space

    FWIW, Oregon (and I live here) can be so ultra-politically correct, that things get muddled. I don't know why the officer was not identified as female in the first article (not a single pronoun was used) and why is it even an issue if she's not a POI? I can't imagine an article being titled this way if the couple was heterosexual.

    It's the same with race. There was an attack on the Mount Tabor walking/jogging path this weekend and the attacker was described in detail except for his race. That might be helpful.

    Just to be clear, they would be domestic partners in Oregon as we have civil ceremonies.
    Oh, she sounds like a dear person doesn't she? God love her as she was an integral part of her neck of the woods of Gladstone. I've always liked that area of Portland.

    I agree with your comments on the race/ sexual persuasion issue too. The thing is, Portland is one of the more liberal cities re: the sexual issue so I don't know why the media would beat around the bush like that. It must have come from the police dept to play it neutral for now. They had evidently been together for a long time - well now I don't know if I read that or not or just assumed it by the way the media put the story out there. xox

  8. #8
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    I thought I was really losing it as I did not see that. I think I know what happened. I posted that link first at 3 pm. That statement wasn't there at the time (the first version was written at 10 am) and all the other news sources were saying "a shooting". I just checked and that article was updated at 5 pm. When I relinked to it, just to check about the officer being on duty, I must have missed that they added that. It's the only place I see it currently, though.

    Debbie does sound like a sweetie. It was the neighbors who said that this was a long term relationship. Being a mobile home park where she'd lived for 20 years, I imagine that they'd know:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamasc...stigating.html

    "...Neighbors said the couple had been living together in Higbee Benton's two-bedroom mobile home in the park for at least a year. They said Benton moved out recently but still visited Higbee Benton at the park. They said the couple had known each other for many years and kept to themselves....."

    The article linked above was updated at 9:18 pm and the murder is listed as a shooting death. I think that one witness must have gotten it wrong. We'll soon see, I guess.

    The P/C issue is ridiculous as Portland is a very open and welcoming community, as a whole. While I like the Oregonian, this is not the first time they've bungled something trying to be "evolved". Jeesh. A poor woman is dead. Her partner might be involved or might not. If she's not, she must be devastated. I can't decide if it's the media or the press releases which tend to cast some doubt on the officer.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missizzy View Post
    I thought I was really losing it as I did not see that. I think I know what happened. I posted that link first at 3 pm. That statement wasn't there at the time (the first version was written at 10 am) and all the other news sources were saying "a shooting". I just checked and that article was updated at 5 pm. When I relinked to it, just to check about the officer being on duty, I must have missed that they added that. It's the only place I see it currently, though.

    Debbie does sound like a sweetie. It was the neighbors who said that this was a long term relationship. Being a mobile home park where she'd lived for 20 years, I imagine that they'd know:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamasc...stigating.html

    "...Neighbors said the couple had been living together in Higbee Benton's two-bedroom mobile home in the park for at least a year. They said Benton moved out recently but still visited Higbee Benton at the park. They said the couple had known each other for many years and kept to themselves....."

    The article linked above was updated at 9:18 pm and the murder is listed as a shooting death. I think that one witness must have gotten it wrong. We'll soon see, I guess.

    The P/C issue is ridiculous as Portland is a very open and welcoming community, as a whole. While I like the Oregonian, this is not the first time they've bungled something trying to be "evolved". Jeesh. A poor woman is dead. Her partner might be involved or might not. If she's not, she must be devastated. I can't decide if it's the media or the press releases which tend to cast some doubt on the officer.
    I so agree with your thoughts Izzy. We'll have to wait and see what the news brings us on the case. And in the interim simply hold Debbie's life lived with good thoughts.

    Since an officer is close to the person who was murdered {they said it was homicide, right?}, I think we will find extra attention will be given to the case. If it isn't, we'll know why IMO

  10. #10
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    I think there's an awful lot of confusion right now given that the investigation is ongoing and that it's a holiday. The major news source for Oregon, the Oregonian, reported a shooting death but if you look at other radio and TV sources, that's not necessarily the case. I don't have a TV and TV stations run notoriously short news articles so I'm trying to piece things together. There's actually some useful info in the comment section of the Oregonian. Some of the comments caused me to look further and I found that Fox News has updated their article:

    http://www.kptv.com/news/28071803/detail.html

    "A woman was found dead at a Gladstone salon over the weekend and police are now treating her death as a homicide. Paramedics were called to Gladstone Beauty Salon on Portland Avenue at 8 p.m. Saturday after they had a report of an unresponsive person. Emergency crews confirmed the woman was dead at the scene. Officers say the initial investigation did not show that foul play was involved in the woman's death. But an autopsy provided information that made detectives consider the death suspicious...."

    and

    "....Police aren't revealing many details about the investigation, but people who work nearby say Higbee Benton's purse was found on the ground less than a block from the salon. Officers are searching her car, business and nearby trailer for evidence...."

    and

    "....Higbee Benton had a court order against a stalker a couple of years ago...."

    more at link

    I have to say that I think Fox trumped the Oregonian in thorough reporting this time around. I'm reminded of the murder of Nancy Bergeson in Portland in November 2009 (we have a thread). She was the federal defense attorney who was found dead in her home, at her dining room table. Paramedics thought it was a natural death. It was only later, at an autopsy, that it was discovered that she was strangled. Crucial evidence had been lost due to the number of people on the scene. That murder has never been solved. Interesting but I believe that Ms. Bergeson also had a female partner. Oh, how I hope this is not connected in some horrible way.

    ETA: One hour ago, someone commented at the link above that Sgt. Benton was the one to find the body. Also a comment by a person claiming to be family.


  11. #11
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    I cannot remember a time when news reporting was so "scattered" and confused in Oregon. Cause of death? The release of the murdered person's partner's employment? The whole thing is just very strange. How I hope Debbie's friends get some answers soon.


    http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-cit...5/post_20.html

    Memorial grows and questions linger after death of Gladstone beautician Debbie Higbee Benton

    "Bouquets of flowers decorated the doorstep of the Gladstone Beauty Salon and rumors circulated around nearby businesses this morning, three days after shopowner Debbie Lee Higbee Benton was found dead at the parlour.

    Crime scene tape had been removed from the salon, which was closed, but detectives from the Clackamas County major crimes team continued conducting interviews at adjoining businesses. The Milwaukie Police Department, which is the lead investigating agency, described the circumstances as a suspicious death. No suspects have been arrested. An autopsy was conducted, but the state medical examiner declined to comment on the cause of death...."

    and

    "....an investigator on Sunday told her [TR] that Higbee Benton's body had been found by Gladstone Police Sgt. Lynne Benton, who had been in a long-term relationship with Higbee Benton. The sergeant had been expecting Higbee Benton for dinner, an investigator told TR, and with another person went down to the salon after Higbee Benton failed to show...."

    and

    "...According to court records, Debbie Lee Higbee changed her last name to Benton in 2009...."

    more at link

  12. #12
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    An interesting comment by ladymoon2 on May 31st about the prior restraining order:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-cit...5/post_20.html

  13. #13
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    http://www.kptv.com/news/28090384/detail.html

    Investigation Continues Into Salon Owner's Death
    Detectives Not Revealing Much About Investigation Days After Body Found Inside Salon



    ".....Higbee Benton had obtained a permanent court order for stalking in 2008 against BH who lives in Gladstone. “At that time, she said she felt kind of uncomfortable around me,” BH told FOX 12. “I haven’t seen her for three years.” BH said she had not been in contact with Higbee Benton since the order was filed but said she’s shocked to now learn of her death...."

    more at link

    Hmmm. I didn't know one could get a "permanent court order" here in Oregon.

  14. #14
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    Very little new info, but an interesting update. There have been a couple of comments about this detail under some of the earlier articles:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamasc...ne_benton.html

    Gladstone Officer Lynne Benton married hairdresser 7 months before death

    "Police Sgt. Lynne Benton married beautician Deborah Lee Higbee Benton seven months before the Gladstone shop owner was found dead in her salon, according to court documents obtained Thursday. Benton presented herself to colleagues, neighbors and others as a woman but legally changed her middle name last year to "Edward" and listed her gender as male on the couple's marriage license application..."

    and

    "....Neighbors at the Tri City Mobile Home Court said they knew Benton as Higbee Benton's "lady friend." They said she moved in with Higbee Benton last year and then moved out a couple of months ago...."

    and

    "...Benton, 49, a 14-year law-enforcement veteran, went on leave from the police department. Police say Benton is cooperating with the investigation...."

    more at link


    FWIW, a commenter said that Benton has had a sex-reassignment surgery. The officer is still not listed as as a POI but her name is in all the articles about the death.

  15. #15
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    An arrest made!! A lover's triangle? Money? It's awful to say, but Campbell looks to have recently had her hair cut or styled. This is so sad.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamasc...rested_in.html

    Gladstone woman, 53-year-old Susan Campbell, arrested in death of salon owner Deborah Higbee Benton

    "The Clackamas County Major Crimes Team arrested a 53-year-old Gladstone woman on an accusation of murder Friday, six days after Deborah Lee Higbee Benton was found shot to death in her Gladstone beauty salon. Susan Ellen Campbell was lodged in the Clackamas County Jail without bail..."

    "....Authorities described Campbell as an acquaintance of the victim. Neighbors said Campbell was also a friend of the victim's spouse, Gladstone Police Sgt. Lynne Benton, and had cared for Benton's mother in Campbell's home in recent years. Benton visited the home at least twice a week...."

    and

    "....Campbell appears to have no criminal record in Oregon....."

    more at link (mug shot--Campbell is 53??)
    Last edited by Missizzy; 06-04-2011 at 04:45 AM.

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