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Detectives investigating death of 100-year-old man in SeaTac as homicide

"There is a story in the news today that just broke my heart," said KIRO Radio's Dori Monson. "A 100-year-old man has been found dead in SeaTac and homicide is expected. This is a guy who lived through World War I, World War II, all the history of the last 100 years, and they think that homicide is what ended his 100 years on earth."

The King County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of 100-year-old Robert O. Benson as a homicide. Benson's body was found in his SeaTac home last Friday.

"Mr. Benson is a longtime resident of this neighborhood in SeaTac," said King County Sheriff's Sgt. DB Gates. "He's lived there right around 46 years, moved into that house in 1968. He had lots of friends."

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The King County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of 100-year-old Robert O. Benson as a homicide. (Image courtesy King Co. Sheriff's Office)

Gates said it was actually a missed coffee date with a friend that led authorities to his home. Benson had failed to keep a long-standing coffee date he and a friend had maintained for 40 years.

"He failed to show up at that get-together Friday morning, so the friend went over to the house and that was when we discovered that he was there deceased."

After authorities investigated, they believe Mr. Benson's death was not a result of natural causes. One suspicious item Gates noted was Mr. Benson's wallet was not with him, which would be very unusual.

"I think we probably all know some older folks who are pretty set in their ways, and the family is telling us that that wallet is always with him, and that wallet is missing, and there's no good reason for it to be missing."

The front door, which is not regularly used and typically locked, was also unlocked.

"Detectives think Mr. Benson probably let in whoever it was, he let that person in willingly and then whatever happened to cause his death happened inside," Gates said.

Sgt. Gates said Mr. Benson was living independently and in good health for a man of 100 years. He had social meetings with friends and was well known around town.

"One of the places that he would go for coffee regularly was a nearby McDonald's, and I know when the detectives were going out trying to canvass the area, everybody in that McDonald's immediately said, 'Oh Bob, I know him,'" Gates said. "He's just a longtime fixture in the neighborhood."

Sgt. Gates said anyone with information either about Mr. Benson or things happening in the community, like people going door-to-door, should call the King County Sheriff's Office. She said no information is too small.

"Detectives would love to just get that little piece," she said. "I know sometimes people think what I know isn't important or is just a tiny seemingly non-important thing that I'm not going to call. But honestly, I've worked on homicides before where it's all those tiny little seemingly unimportant details that put together is what allows us to solve a case."

Jamie Skorheim, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.
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