What appears to be a human head was discovered Tuesday morning in the yard of a residence once occupied by a man being investigated in the grisly slaying and mutilation of an unemployed free-lance writer.
Sheriff Pete Hayward said the head, wrapped in plastic and bound with tape, was found buried about 10 feet from where detectives on Monday night unearthed a decapitated, armless torso believed to be that of Larry Duane White, 52, whose severed legs were found nearly two months ago.The victim's arms have not been found.
"We're still digging," said Hayward. "We're excavating that entire property."
The property is at 664 E. King's Lane (2980 South), which is where Robert Eugene Bennett lived from December to February.
Bennett, 51, is in the Salt Lake County Jail awaiting trial on a federal social security fraud indictment. Detectives planned to meet with state prosecutors Tuesday afternoon to discuss evidence in the homicide. After discovering "soft earth" at Bennett's former residence, detectives, with the permission of the property owner, began digging. About 8 p.m. Monday, they found the torso, wrapped in plastic bag, wedged between a pipe and septic tank about 30 inches underground. Hayward said the torso, clothed only in white shorts, had two bullet holes in it. They also unearthed work gloves, a penny and a small neck chain, he said.
Detectives were led to the residence after discovering license plates that were stolen from a neighbor. The license plates were just part of the evidence found over the weekend by Salt Lake County sheriff's detectives in Las Vegas, where Bennett was arrested April 6. Detectives also found some of White's identification cards, a post office box used by Bennett but registered under White's name and a .38-caliber revolver. The gun will be compared to bullets recovered from the torso, the sheriff said.
Bennett, who is White's last known acquaintance, was being sought for questioning in White's death shortly after a pair of legs, severed at mid-thigh, were found Feb. 22 in a trash bin behind a store at 851 E. 45th South. Articles of clothing found with the legs as well as a scar on one of the legs led detectives to identify the limbs as those of White, who was reported missing by his father two days earlier.
Since his arrest, Bennett has been questioned numerous times about White's death but has refused to talk.
"I'm convinced that we've got the person responsible for the death of White, but we're not done," said Hayward. "We've got a lot of work to do yet. This (fills) a lot of blank spaces."
White, originally of Indiana, was an unemployed writer living with his elderly father in an Avenues apartment. White and Bennett, who was also known as Roy William Anderson, frequently played chess together and were planning to start work at a telemarketing firm the week White disappeared.