Wanted man from Missouri arrested in Luray

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 3:16 PM EST
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LURAY, Va. (WHSV) - A man from Missouri who has been on the run for 15 years was arrested in Luray this week.

Charlie Benfield was initially charged back in 2007 for sexual misconduct with a child. The victim’s mother who was and still is the legal assistant to the Mercer County Prosecutor in Missouri, Hollie Ralston, told WHSV that charge was later amended to felonious restraint, or holding someone against their will.

“Part of his plea was that he would plead guilty if he didn’t have to plead to a crime that he would have to register as a sex offender, otherwise he wanted to take it to a jury trial,” Ralston said. “I told [the prosecutor] to amend it to whatever she wanted because I didn’t want my 5-year-old child to have to testify in court to what happened.”

Ralston explained that her aunt was her daughter’s babysitter, and Benfield was her aunt’s live-in boyfriend at the time.

“When my husband and I got married, he took our pictures at our wedding. We had this family relationship with him, and then he just does what he did,” Ralston said. “They were very close, my daughter and Charlie were very close. He was almost like her uncle.”

She said Benfield pleaded guilty to the amended charge and was sentenced to five years probation, which he violated. That caused his probation to be revoked and restarted. A few months later, in 2008, Benfield took off and had been on the run ever since.

That was until Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

Luray Police Chief Bow Cook said the police department got a call about a suspicious man in the area. After running his name through the database, they found Charlie Benfield was wanted out of Missouri.

Chief Cook said Benfield was arrested on South Broad Street in Luray without incident and is currently being held at Page County Jail waiting to be extradited back to Missouri.

Ralston said she’s relieved that now 62-year-old Benfield will now hopefully face consequences and be held accountable. After all this time, she said she didn’t really know where he might have been.

“15 years have gone by so it’s easier to talk about it now, but it still just tears me up because she was 4. There’s no 4-year-old child that deserves anything even remotely close to something like that,” Ralston said.