Grand Jury Issues Murder Indictment

SNOW HILL — A Worcester County grand jury this week indicted a Dagsboro, Del. man accused of the murder of woman found dead in a roadside ditch in Whaleyville in June.

One week after being extradited to Worcester County, Matthew N. Burton, 28, of Dagsboro, was indicted by a Worcester County grand jury on eight separate counts including first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the death of Nicole Bennett, 35, of Millsboro, whose body was found on a roadside embankment in Whaleyville on the morning of June 15. The grand jury also indicted Burton on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree rape, a third- and fourth-degree sex offense, kidnapping and first-degree assault.

Burton, a registered Tier I sex offender in Delaware, worked as a custodian in the church where the victim also worked and where she was last seen alive the night before her body was discovered. Shortly before 9 a.m. on June 15, Worcester Central received a 911 call reporting the discovery of the body of a deceased woman in an embankment off Swamp Rd., a dirt road east of Nelson Rd. near Whaleyville.

DNA evidence gathered by crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division ultimately connected Burton to the crime. An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore determined Bennett was murdered and had been asphyxiated. Autopsy evidence also indicated Bennett was already dead when her body was left in the embankment off the dirt road in Whaleyville. Only after the grand jury indictment in Worcester County this week did it come to light she had also been allegedly sexually assaulted and raped by the suspect.

After the investigation, including DNA evidence, connected Burton to Bennett’s murder, detectives consulted with the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office and a warrant for his arrest was obtained. Around 7:15 p.m. on July 7, the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force, a warrant apprehension team, located Burton driving on Route 1 near Rehoboth Beach. Burton was apprehended on a subsequent traffic stop and was taken into custody. He was eventually extradicted to Worcester from Sussex County this month.

Following the Grand Jury’s indictment, State’s Attorney for Worcester County Beau Oglesby expressed sincere gratitude to the Office of the Sheriff for Worcester County, the Office of The Attorney General for Delaware, the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation, the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division and The Delaware State Police for their hard work, dedication and tireless resolve.

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