October death of race fan found near Talladega has been ruled homicide

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Local authorities in Alabama have ruled the death of a 42-year-old woman who vanished during the October NASCAR weekend at Talladega Superspeedway as a homicide.

After she was first reported missing on Oct. 19, the body of Theresa Benn was found on Nov. 22 in the Jackson Shoals area of the Choccolocco Creek in Lincoln, Alabama.

Now, according to AL.com, Lincoln (Ala.) Police Department chief Darren Britton has revealed that Benn’s preliminary death report indicates the manner of death as a homicide. Investigators however have not yet said how Benn was killed.

“We are conducting an active homicide investigation at this time and are pursuing all credible leads,” Britton said. “…Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and loved ones during this time and we want to reassure them that we are, and will, continue to work towards a resolution of this case.”

Benn had last been seen along Speedway Industrial Drive in Lincoln on Oct. 19. Authorities have said that she had been with her husband, Kevin Dulaney, before leaving him behind as she wanted to go to that day’s GEICO 500 and he didn’t.

Dulaney has told investigators that he dropped Benn off near Eastaboga Road in the early morning of that day and last saw her walking toward the track. It has not yet been determined if she made it to the race.

In 2013, two deaths occurred at or near NASCAR’s largest speedway.

On May 4th of that year, 28-year-old Nicholas Bower (Villa Rica, Ga.) disappeared from a campground and was found dead 10 days later in a creek 1.5 miles from the facility. Bower’s death was ruled an accidental drowning.

Then in October, 46-year-old Craig Franklin Morgan (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) died following a carbon monoxide leak inside he and his wife’s motorhome at the track.

His wife, Jami Allison Morgan, was hospitalized as well because of the leak. A deputy coroner said the couple were likely using a gas stove for heat and that there was a problem with their generator’s exhaust system.