Homicide victim Nicole Bennett of Millsboro was the kind of mom who lived for her children.
Rachel Reiser, Nicole’s sister-in-law – wife of her brother, Craig – said Nicole has a large family in Nebraska ready to help the family and support Nicole’s parents.
With preparations under way for a Saturday funeral in O’Neill, Neb., the family is still waiting for police to reveal what happened to the 35-year-old wife and mother of three.
“As Midwesterners, we tend to be very trusting,” Reiser said. “The police are being helpful, but everybody’s mind always goes to the worst place. We are trying to be prepared for the conclusion.”
Reiser said the police told the family all of the answers they are looking for may not be found before the funeral service.
“I can understand how this is unsettling for residents in Delaware, because police can’t say if this was a criminal or someone who is still getting up and going to work every day,” Reiser said. “I think the police are investigating some good leads, and we are confident that they will figure it out.”
Police mum on cause of death, motive
As of June 21, Maryland State Police have not released a cause of death or motive in Bennett’s murder.
Reiser said Bennett stayed home and didn’t go into work at Bay Shore Community Church June 14 because her 15-month-old daughter was sick.
Bennett headed to the church after her husband, Kevin, returned home from work. Reiser said Nicole wanted to catch up on paperwork.
About 7:40 p.m., Bennett sent a text message telling Kevin she would stay at work a little longer, and then come home. Kevin said he was going to bed, Reiser said. That was the last time he heard from her.
“Kevin is a great dad, but Nicole was the glue that held it together,” Reiser said. “She was everything. She did the birthday parties, meals, helped with homework … she was one of those moms that juggles everything.”
Reiser said Nicole’s parents have been through a death before, but this time is just as hard. In 2003, Nicole's sister was killed in a car accident.
“They’ve been through it before, but that doesn’t make it easier,” Reiser said.
Last week, Bennett’s older children, Lauren, 11, and Emily, 8, were just starting summer vacation from school.
“The youngest doesn’t know what’s going on. The older girls are struggling more, but they are doing OK,” Reiser said. “Nicole has a lot of family here in Nebraska, and they are all here to help.”
Reiser said Nicole and Kevin moved from a Philadelphia suburb to Millsboro because it was quieter. Nicole’s parents visited her at Christmas and told Reiser it had a similar small-town feel to the family’s home in Nebraska.
“Nicole liked Millsboro. It was like where she grew up,” Reiser said. “Kevin told us the church and the community in Delaware has been so supportive and nice.”
Kevin, his three daughters and his parents, Bob and Mary Bennett of Millsboro, are expected to arrive in Nebraska June 14 for Saturday’s funeral services. The family said Nicole will be buried near her sister.