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Man accused of killing couple who worked at Papa John’s, trying to have sex with woman’s corpse

ELKHART, Ind. (TCD) — A 19-year-old man was taken into custody on suspicion of killing a 22-year-old woman and 37-year-old man and trying to have sex with the female victim after she died.

In a statement, the Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said 22-year-old Haley Smith and 37-year-old Dustin Carr were killed on the evening of Feb. 12. An employee reportedly found their bodies the next morning and called police. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says 19-year-old Jose Benitez-Tilley “had been inside the business as it was closing, and killed the two victims.” The Prosecuting Attorney called the killing “targeted” and said there was no threat to the public.

Carr and Smith were newly engaged, WNDU-TV reports.

According to Benitez-Tilley’s probable cause affidavit, the man who found Smith and Carr’s bodies told Elkhart Police detectives that they had previously had “unspecified issues” with Benitez-Tilley. On the night of their deaths, Benitez-Tilley reportedly came to the Papa John’s where they worked and asked for a job. He reportedly left and then returned and “was milling about and speaking with Dustin.” At the end of the night, Benitez-Tilley, Carr, and Smith were the only ones left in the restaurant.

Video surveillance reportedly showed Benitez-Tilley entering the Papa John’s parking lot, leaving, and returning in a gold Dodge Caravan.

The affidavit says Benitez-Tilley waived his Miranda rights and “advised that during his second visit to the restaurant he used a handgun to shoot and kill both Haley Smith and Dustin Carr.” Additionally, he allegedly told detectives he “partially disrobed” an already dead Smith and “attempted to have sexual intercourse with her.”

He reportedly tried to “dispose of Haley and Dustin’s bodies,” but he was “physically unable to.” Benitez-Tilley reportedly stole Smith’s purse, Carr’s jewelry, and cash from the Papa John’s office.

Benitez-Tilley was booked on two counts of murder and one count of attempted abuse of a corpse.


State of Indiana vs. Jose Benitez-TilleySuspect Arrested in Saturday Night Double Murder at Elkhart Business – Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney’s OfficeCourt docs: Disturbing details of Elkhart double homicide – WNDUUPDATE: Suspect arrested in the killing of engaged couple at Elkhart business – WNDU