Mother Allegedly Murdered Feet Away From Her Children In Custer County


Tuesday, April 23rd 2019, 10:26 pm
By: Bonnie Campo


Newly filed court documents reveal disturbing details involving a brutal murder in the town of Arapaho. Investigators believe the victim was killed by her ex-husband as her children sat just feet away inside the suspect’s SUV. 

“When officers arrived at the scene, they found a female victim inside her car,” said Brooke Arbeitman, of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Heather Park (formally Heather Benevento) had been shot multiple times. It happened around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20 at the Dino Mart convenience store.

See Related Story: Man Accused Of Murdering Ex-Wife, Mother Of 5 In Custer County

The suspect's vehicle was described by witnesses as a black GMC Yukon, that jumped the curb pulling into the parking lot.

After the gunshots, court documents state, "a young child was seen trying to get out of the black GMC, but was made to get back inside the vehicle."

A witness got the suspect's tag number. It was a Cheyenne/Arapaho Tribal tag bearing the number 024902.

Park was taken to a hospital in Clinton, and later flown to OU Medical, where she died.

 “She is going to be greatly missed by so many of us, family,” said her cousin Gerri Hicks.

By 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Park's ex-husband, Brandon Benevento, arrived at the Clinton Police Department.

Investigators say Benevento was in the same GMC Yukon they had been searching for, and that a gun was found in the vehicle. The caliber matched the evidence found at the crime scene.

Law enforcement said the couple's daughters, ages 8 and 7, were inside Benevento’s SUV.

Benevento reportedly told police he "blacked out" and didn't remember anything that happened. However, he said Park "made his life hell" and discussed rumors of paternity involving one of their children.

Police and deputies stated looking for more evidence to establish a timeline.

Benevento texted and called a friend before and after the shooting. The text messages reveal he promised that person money if they took care of his kids.

Hours before the shooting, around 2:22 p.m., Benevento allegedly wrote, “If anything were to happen my kids would have nobody I would ever trust, there is 50K coming you can have been plus ss for l***. She has a disability and you would be able to get about $1,200 a month till she is 18. Plus, the 50K owed which will come off the sale of the house.”

The suspect and victim were officially divorced in February. Park had even filed for a VPO before against Benevento.

At 6:25 p.m. Saturday, investigators say Benevento called his friend and told them he just shot and killed Park. He reportedly said the girls were with him. He also asked this person to meet, so he could surrender his daughters before turning himself in.

By 6:53 p.m., investigators said the Benevento sent a series of selfies to this friend. The photos allegedly showed him with his shirt off with his two daughters.

“All I know is that they are in the custody of DHS, the two little ones,” said Hicks.

Park was a substitute teacher in Thomas. Family says her funeral will be held Wednesday, April 24.

Benevento is being held without bond. 

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