Memorial endowment established in memory of Linda Lee Bennitt

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Linda Bennitt’s family recently established the Linda Lee Bennitt Memorial Scholarship Fund in the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Inc. This fund was set up to honor the memory of Linda Bennitt and to acknowledge and thank Detective Robert Bridgeman, Detective Tom Huber, and Commander Shaw Spurlock for the countless hours and dedication they put into identifying Linda’s murderer.

Linda grew up in Vevay and was known for her upbeat personality. She was a 1979 graduate of Switzerland County High School, where she was named “Most Likely to Succeed”. She went on to pursue a degree in fashion merchandising and graduated from both Vincennes University and Purdue University. After graduating from college, Linda moved to Merrillville, Indiana, where she began working as a buyer for L.S. Ayres. 

On May 5th, 1984, Linda Bennitt was tragically murdered in Merrillville at the young age of 22. The person responsible for her murder was not identified and eventually the case became dormant. It was not until late last year that the Lake County Sheriff’s Department reopened the investigation. 

Using the DNA samples that were acquired in 1984, investigators began testing those people that were considered suspects at the time. There were no matches; however after running a sample through the FBI’s DNA database, a match was found. In addition, the one finger print found at the scene was run through the FBI’s finger print system and the match identified the same individual as the DNA did. This individual was a man who had resided in the Merrillville area at the time and had later moved to California. He is currently being held in a mental health facility for sexually violent predators, where he has resided for the past several years due to crimes that he had committed in California.

While Linda’s family still has some rough times ahead of them, they do believe that justice is finally being served. Linda’s sister, Bobbi King-Marksberry, said “Linda was a very important part of our lives and we have never forgotten her. Because of the impact she had on those around her, we have established an endowment in the Community Foundation that will forever memorialize her and have an impact just as she did”. She continues, “And because of the excellent work of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department in identifying the man responsible for Linda’s murder, my family and I have decided to award scholarships from the endowment to assist those students pursuing a career in criminal justice.”

Contributions to the newly established Linda Lee Bennitt Memorial Scholarship Fund may be made in any amount and at any time. If you would like to honor Linda and contribute to the fund, you may do so in care of the Community Foundation, P.O. Box 46, Vevay, IN 47043. The Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization and therefore, gifts to the fund are tax-deductible.

If you have any questions about the fund or the Community Foundation in general, please contact Pam or Melissa at 427-9160 or stop in and visit them at 303 Ferry Street in Vevay.