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Probe into grisly death continues
Suspect in dismemberment remains jailed in Newton

COVINGTON - Authorities with the Newton County Sheriff's Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation continue to search for the head and torso of a Decatur woman, whose dismembered remains were discovered in a sparsely populated area of Newton County last month.

According to John Bankhead, spokesman for the GBI, investigators were able to identify the victim, Leslyan Williams, 49, along with her boyfriend and suspected killer, Franklin Elliot Benson, 47, of Atlanta, after connecting them to the area where the parts were found off of Ga. Highway 212.

"(Investigators) connected them to the property where the parts were found and went back to check on people that had connections and found out that Williams was missing and then were able to identify her from fingerprints," he said. "They executed a search warrant ... where both (Williams and Benson) lived and we were able to obtain fingerprints and make a comparison."

Family members of Williams from Michigan told authorities that they last heard from her on Oct. 28, two days before a resident found her dogs fighter over the victim's foot during the early morning hours.

Williams' family later reported her missing in DeKalb County on Nov. 6, according to Bankhead.

Authorities announced on Sunday that they had arrested Benson in connection with Williams' death.

Benson has been charged with murder, concealing the death of another and unlawfully removing a human body from scene of death. He made his first appearance before a magistrate judge on Monday and is being held without bond at the Newton County Detention Center.

Authorities have not disclosed where they believe Williams may have been killed and dismembered.

"The law in Georgia, until (investigators) find a definite scene ... (the suspect remains in custody) where the body is found," Bankhead said. "That is subject to change. (Benson) could remain in Newton County, but if they find a scene, then the venue could change."

Bankhead said that authorities have executed search warrants at Benson's business, Benson Auto Service and Repair at 4806 Covington Highway in Decatur, as well as several other places. He declined to comment on exactly what types of evidence authorities had thus far recovered.

The investigation is ongoing and authorities ask that anyone with information call the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS or the NCSO at 678-625-1403. Tips can be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through the Web at www.newtonsheriffga.org and clicking on "anonymous tip line." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com