70-year-old who claims she was raped says some evidence lost

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. - Martha Bennett, 70, held on tight to the sheets, the bed clothes and under garments she was wearing the night she said she was raped in Chester County.
"I wrapped them up in a pillow case and slept on top of them to be sure no one could take them," Bennett said.
She is angry that some other evidence in her rape case that wasn't inside that pillowcase is apparently missing.
"I want those pictures. They can't find them," she said.
She's referring to pictures taken of her the morning after the alleged attack that were taken by a nurse at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill when she had a rape kit done.
Bennett said the photos show her bruises and injuries from the attack, but no one seems to know where they are.
She chose to speak out to Channel 9 and make her identity known because she's furious about the possible lost evidence.
She said she was staying with old friends in Fort Lawn at a home on Fincher Road when she was raped by their son on March 13, 2013.
Three weeks later Chester County sheriff's deputies arrested Carl Seager, 41, and charged him with the crime. He had fled to Texas and his family convinced him to return home.
Seager was already a registered sex offender, convicted in a 1996 Texas case involving an 11-year-old female victim.  He had served time in prison, then moved back to Chester County when he was released to stay with family.
After Seager's arrest for the rape of Bennett, he was in jail in Chester County until being released on bond this year. His release terrified Bennett, then she learned of the missing pictures in her case.
"I want the pictures, because a picture is worth a thousand words. You cannot dispute pictures," Bennett said.
On Tuesday the Chester County Sheriff's Office said it does not have the photos of Bennett, and in fact, has never had them.
The prosecutor, Chris Taylor, said his office doesn't have the photos either and is actively searching for them.
All this is terrifying to Bennett, who just wants her day in court.
"Nothing’s happening! That's what I’m angry about," she said. "It’s been a year. Somebody's got to do something."
Channel 9 reached out to several agencies Tuesday, but it is not known what happened to the pictures a nurse took of Bennett last march.
Privacy laws also prevent some information from being released to the public. It's not clear why the photos were not placed in a case file and sent to law enforcement.
Taylor said he could not comment on what, if any, impact the missing pictures could have in the case against Seager. A court date for that case has not been set.