Two Arrested For Elderly Vinita Woman's Murder

Thursday, August 13th 2015, 10:59 am
By: Tess Maune

Two people have been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman in Vinita.

Chelsea Marie Raulston, 20,  and Charlee Ray Adams, 22, were booked into the Craig County jail on a complaint of first-degree murder.

The Craig County Sheriff’s Office has requested OSBI investigative and crime scene assistance with an assault and battery that became a homicide investigation, a news release says.

Velma Loretta Bennett, 83, is believed to have died from blunt force trauma to the head, OSBI says.

Bennett was found outside her home in the 16000 block of South 4425 Road north of Vinita just before midnight, according to the OSBI. A neighbor told News On 6 the neighbor found her at about 10 p.m.

She was flown to a hospital where she died. Overnight, two people who lived with the victim were arrested for that murder.

Crime tape wrapped around Bennett's property is what's left of a crime that has shaken the very rural community of Bluejacket.

“It don't make no sense.  It makes ya scared for your kids and everybody else around you.”

Neighbors say most around town knew Velma as the little, old lady who lived on the hill.

“She was good hearted in a lot of ways,” Tooter Blevins said.

Blevins, who lived across the street from Velma for about 20 years, knew her as a hard-working friend.

"She was still mowing yards for extra money and cutting trees and cutting her own firewood with a chainsaw and everything. She was just a real independent little lady," Blevins said.

Blevins says Velma felt bad for Raulston and Adams so she told them they could stay on her property temporarily.

Blevins believes Velma asked the duo to leave, igniting an argument.

“I can't believe they did that to her,” Blevins said.

Velma's daughter says she was on the phone with her mom when she was arguing with the suspects and the phone went dead.

She says when she called back,  a woman answered and hung up on her.

That's when Velma's daughter got worried, called 911, then asked Blevins to go across the street to make sure everyone was OK.

That's when Blevins discovered Velma's badly beaten body.

“So we hurried down here, and she was already on the ground. And I shook her and I said, 'Velma! Velma!' and then I saw, I thought she was already gone,” Blevins said.

She was still alive and was flown to a hospital, but didn't survive.

“She'll be missed. She'll be missed,” Blevins said.

The suspects were gone by the time emergency responders got to the scene. They were caught quickly because a deputy, who was driving to the scene, saw Raulston and Adams walking on a country backroad. The deputy thought it was suspicious and when he stopped to talked with them, he learned they were the suspects.

An autopsy will determine official cause of death.