The identity of a victim of serial killer Lyle Wilhelm has been released: Jonathan Benitez, a Colorado native, was murdered in 1998, KTVA reports.
Lindsay Jones, a worker at the Rose Gallery in Anchorage, said Benitez had hired the gallery to put together a scrapbook. The woman said Benitez was “sad and very trusting,” and described the the artist as a friendly person.
The old photographs included Benitez’s sketches, which he made after suffering stab wounds. She said he had worked in a men’s clothing store.
“I was excited to get some new pictures,” Benitez said, according to Jones.
Asked to describe his sketch, he said: “A person in nice clothes on a hand out. They look like they’re a merchant.”
“I’m just really sad and also confused that this happened to somebody who has always been such a nice person,” Jones said.
But police described Benitez, who was described as missing large parts of one ear, as a victim of the killer’s double-murder spree.
Wilhelm murdered 19 people from 1997 through 2000. Benitez died of asphyxiation, police said.
KTVA reported that, on Friday, Fort Augustus police officers, Anchorage police officers and Alaska State Troopers conducted a search in a place where Benitez was likely buried. They recovered a shovel, a bag and a large piece of wood.