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GBI identifies mutilated body
Victim's boyfriend arrested, suspected of murder

COVINGTON - In a press release issued Sunday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that the body of the woman whose partial remains were found in Newton County on Oct. 30 have been identified and an arrest has been made in the case.

The victim is 49-year-old Leslyan Williams of Decatur, who was identified from fingerprints taken from one of the hands that had been recovered from a wooded area off Ga. Highway 212.

According to Lt. Bill Watterson of the Newton County Sheriff's Office, the woman had been reported missing in DeKalb County.

Williams' boyfriend, Franklin Benson, 47, was arrested Sunday and taken to the Newton County Detention Center. Authorities said they expect to charge him with murder.

On Monday, WSB-TV reported that the GBI was searching Benson's business, Benson Auto Service and Repair at 4806 Covington Highway in Decatur.

The woman's remains were discovered in the early morning hours of Oct. 30 when a resident returned home from work and noticed her dogs fighting over a human foot.

That find spurred an intensive manhunt during which more than 50 law enforcement officials combed a 5-acre tract of land and dragged nearby lakes. Ultimately, all of the woman's extremities were located, but the whereabouts of her head and torso remain unknown.

The last body part to be found was described as a water logged hand, which authorities said was located by the same dog, a chow-mix named Foxy, that initially found the severed foot.

The remains were described by authorities as cleanly severed, and had apparently not been in the woods for a long period of time.

No other information on either the suspect or victim were available as of press time Monday.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.