• Gaston Co. police investigate elderly couple's murder-suicide

    By: Ken Lemon


    MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. - Gaston County police are investigating the deaths of two people found in a home early Wednesday morning as a murder-suicide.

    Authorities released a 911 call Wednesday that was made minutes after a man killed his wife while his 5-year-old grandson slept just feet away.

    The man called his daughter-in-law at 5 a.m. and told her to pick up his grandson because he just killed his wife.

    As she raced to get her son, the daughter-in-law called her husband who was just getting off work.

    The husband was very concerned about his son and police said fortunately, the boy didn't wake up when his grandmother was shot and killed inside the home this morning.

    The boy's father called 911 as he left work on his way to the home on Michelle Lane.           

    The child was out of school for a teacher work day and spent the night with his grandparents Clyde and Terri Benfield.

    Police said the child was asleep when Clyde Benfield, an avid hunter, shot his wife.

    "Probably got over 40, 50 guns in the house," the caller said in the 911 call.

    Investigators said there was a history of verbal abuse between the couple, but no one ever called police.

    "My mom and dad have been having problems, but I wouldn't ever think he would kill her or nothing," the caller said.

    The mother went into the house to get her son but she didn't go into the room where her mother-in-law was killed.

    However, she did speak to the man who police said killed the mother-in-law.

    "(She) did talk to him briefly, but with the situation that was at hand, they got the 5-year-old and got out of the house," said Sgt. Myron Shelor with the Gaston Police Department.

    Police arrived as she drove away and found Clyde Benfield dead inside the home.

    Amy Biggerstaff has lived next door to the couple for 18 years and said they were good people.

    "It is a big shock,” Biggerstaff. “I had no idea. I never really saw them together much.  It was always you know just each one of them separately. So I never knew anything really about their relationship.”

    Police said the Benfields were a quiet couple and few people outside of close family knew they had a troubled relationship.

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