On Feb. 22, 1978, Robert Eugene Bennett's wife mysteriously disappeared in Beaverton, Ore.
On that same day 11 years later, a pair of severed legs believed to be those of one of Bennett's acquaintances was found in a Salt Lake County garbage bin.Is it just coincidence?
"I have no idea," said Salt Lake County sheriff's Capt. Bob Jack.
But sheriff's detectives would like to question Bennett, also known as Roy William Anderson, in connection with the case of the severed legs.
Anyone who has seen Bennett, 51, or knows of his whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's office, 535-7441.
Bennett was one of the few known acquaintances of Larry Duane White, 52, who is believed to be the homicide victim whose legs were found Feb. 22 in a trash bin behind Smith's Food King, 851 E. 45th South.
White was a free-lance writer who was living with his elderly father in an Avenues apartment.
Homicide squad Lt. Ben Forbes said Bennett and White played chess together on Feb. 19.
The next day, Bennett called White's father to say he had lined up a telephone soliciting job for himself and White. The job was to have started Feb. 28.
White was last seen by his father about 8 a.m. Feb. 21 in the apartment as the father was going out, Forbes said. It is unknown if White and Bennett spoke with each other after their Feb. 19 conversation.
The day after the legs were found, White's father identified some clothing and other personal belongings that were found near the legs. He also identified a scar on one of the legs.
Forbes said Bennett, originally of Oregon, lived at several different locations in Salt Lake City, staying for short periods of times in low-rent apartments and boarding houses under the name Roy Williams Anderson.
"We're not saying he's a suspect, but we find it unusual that he hasn't sought to contact us or (the victim's) father since this all happened."
Officials in Beaverton, Ore., helped Salt Lake County authorities identify Bennett, who was investigated in the Feb. 22, 1978, disappearance of his wife, Floy Jean Bennett, 36, said Beaverton police officer Mark Hyde.
Oddly, it was on Feb. 22 that White was believed to have been slain. "Certainly, (Salt Lake County's) investigation is interesting to us, but they are two separate incidents as far as we're concerned," Hyde said.
Detectives remain puzzled over White's death. They have no crime scene, no cause of death, no sure motive and still haven't positively identified the victim. A piece of the victim's leg bone has been sent to the FBI crime laboratory in Quantico, Va., to determine what kind of instrument was used to cut the legs, which were severed almost surgically.
Capt. Bob Jack said White had been working on historical novels. White had written a 156-page book called "Exodu Gallioten," set during the French Revolution.
"It's a terrible book, real hard to follow. There's a little bit of politics, religion, architecture. It really bounces around."
Nothing in the book, however, leads detectives to think it inspired foul play. "There's just nothing on him. He's just not interesting."
White, originally of Fort Wayne, Ind., attended Brigham Young University after high school and later moved to Salt Lake City. When his mother died in 1984, he moved back to Indiana long enough to help his father sell the house, after which the two moved back to Utah three years ago.