Man suspected in teen’s death found dead in vehicle
RANDOLPH COUNTY, North Carolina (WGHP) — A man suspected of killing a 19-year-old woman whose body was found in a rugged area of Randolph County, North Carolina in October 2017 took his own life afterward, according to a press release.
At about 11 a.m. on Oct. 24, authorities found the body of Victoria Scofield in an area off Pisgah Covered Bridge Road.
Scofield was last seen at a bar in Randleman on Oct. 21. She was seen on surveillance video getting in a car with 41-year-old Benjamin David Smith, who was in a relationship with Scofield’s mother.
On April 4, an autopsy determined that Scofield died from blunt force trauma to the head and asphyxia due to neck compression. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Detectives say that Smith drove Scofield to the area where her body was found and killed her before attempting to conceal her death. They also believe that Smith killed himself because an investigation would “uncover his involvement.”
Update on the Scofield Homicide Investigation
The body of 19 year old Victoria Elizabeth Scofield was located near 3890 Pisgah Covered Bridge Rd after a 911 call was made on October 24, 2017 around 11:05 am,
Scofield was last seen at a bar, Nitro’s in Randleman, NC on the night of October 21, 2017. She was witnessed on surveillance video getting into a vehicle and driving away with 41 year old Benjamin David Smith. At that time, Smith was in a relationship with Scofield’s mother, Jonie Gardner.
Smith returned to his home on October 22, 2017 in the early morning without Scofield.
On October 24, 2017 at 7:22 am, Smith was found by his co-workers in a vehicle with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Joni Gardner told investigators that she had planned on reporting her daughter missing with the Randleman Police Department that morning and that she & Smith discussed it prior to him leaving for work.
The cause of death at the time of Scofield’s discovery was unknown and she was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh, NC for autopsy.
On April 4, 2018, the results of Scofield’s autopsy became available to Detectives. The primary causes of death were detecrmined to be blunt force trauma to the head and asphyxia due to neck compression. Also, attributing to her death were her toxicology results showing cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol consumption. Scofield’s death is officially listed as a homicide by the OCME.
During the course of this investigation, Detectives recovered key pieces of evidence directly implicating Smith in the murder of Scofield. Smith remained the primary suspect in this homicide investigation. No additional, viable suspects were developed by Detectives in this case and none are being sought at this time.
In conclusion, Detectives believe that Smith drove Scofield to the Pisgah area where her body was found after leaving Nitro’s, that Smith assaulted & killed her, then attempted to conceal her death. Detectives also believe that Smith took his own life, knowing that a thorough law enforcement investigation was beginning and that the subsequent investigation would uncover his involvement in Scofield’s death.