Body found Tuesday ID’d as NC mom missing for nearly a year

North Carolina news

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – On Thursday, the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office said it positively identified remains found on Tuesday as the body of Kristen Ashley Bennett, who was reported missing on Aug. 16, 2018.

Trey Branche

According to a statement released Thursday by Maj. Jason Wank, chief detective of the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, detectives attended Wednesday’s autopsy of a body found Tuesday on property owned by the family of Trey Branche, who was arrested on Sept. 4, 2018, for the murder of 24-year-old Kristen Ashley Bennett.

During the autopsy, the statement said, “Vidant doctors and a team of pathologists were able to positively identify the remains as Kristen Bennett through dental records.”

A small-caliber bullet was also found during Bennett’s autopsy, and her death was ruled as a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to the head.

bennett k 45_1534627033933.JPG.jpg
Kristen Bennett in a photo released by deputies.

The statement also says funeral arrangements for Bennett have not yet been finalized.

Investigators say Bennett was reported missing by her mother on Aug. 16, 2018, two days after she was last seen with her boyfriend, Trey Branche, at their home on Hibbs Road in Newport.

Branche was arrested on Sept. 4, 2018, and charged with one open count of murder, and one count of failing to report a death, for the murder of Kristen Bennett.

Detectives said the investigation into Bennett’s homicide is ongoing and no further information will be released at this time.

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