Two charged in death of pregnant Melvindale woman

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Two suspects have been charged in connection with the death of a pregnant Melvindale woman whose body was found in an abandoned house in Detroit last week, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jacob Barnes, 23, of Lincoln Park and Jeremy Lee, 16, of Detroit were expected to be arraigned Thursday in 36th District Court on charges of felony murder, first-degree murder, assault of a pregnant individual causing death of a fetus and mutilation of a dead body, officials said. Lee has been charged as an adult.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, at 3:30 a.m. Sept. 26, Barnes and Lee allegedly fatally assaulted Amanda Lynn Benton, 29, at Woodmere and Cabot in Detroit. Benton, who was five months pregnant, was beaten, officials said.

“It is further alleged that the defendants placed her in the trunk of her car and drove her to an abandoned house in the 8000 block of Vanderbilt in Detroit, where they set her body on fire,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a release Wednesday. “The defendants drove off in her car and abandoned it in Southwest Detroit.”

Benton had four boys, ages 4, 6, 9 and 11 and was pregnant with her first girl, according to her family.

She had been struggling with drug addiction and had tried to get into rehab, her family said.

“Amanda was a great mother and did whatever she could for anyone,” said Diane Benton, her sister, who said Amanda Benton regularly fed the homeless and offered clothing and toiletries to girls on the streets.

“I miss her so much and it still just doesn’t seem real,” Benton said. “I hope my sister and unborn niece get the justice they deserve.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover funeral expenses. More than $7,000 had been raised as of Wednesday evening.

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