Woman tied to cinder block in pond ID'd as pre-K teacher

EAST COVENTRY TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- The woman who was found dead in a Chester County pond, tied to a cinder block, has been identified.

Ryan Stevyn Benjamin, 24, was found in a swimming hole on Pigeon Creek in East Coventry Township, Pennsylvania, on Monday morning.

Benjamin, of Pottstown, was identified by the description of her released earlier this week, including tattoos, jewelry and other physical features, the Chester County District Attorney's office said.

She worked as a pre-K teacher, and was a graduate of Juniata College.

Benjamin was a roommate of one of her mother's friends in nearby East Vincent Township, both animal lovers who looked after each other's pet while the other was at work.

"It was just a great little living situation for both of us, and she had a lot of friends in the West Chester area," said Cheryl Cutillo, roommate.

On Tuesday, Cutillo tells us she saw a news report about a woman found in a pond about a mile away and began trying to reach Benjamin.

"I tried calling her several times, it's gone right to voicemail, and then I started to worry. That night I couldn't sleep, and I started investigating myself.

"She had a boyfriend that they had broken up, but they were in the same circle of friends, I mean it was a bunch of friends," said Cutillo.

Among questions for authorities is where was Benjamin over the weekend and who was she with?

"Sometime over Memorial Day Weekend, she was with different people, and anyone who was with her over Memorial Day Weekend needs to check with the authorities, check in with Chester County detectives, so we can rebuild her entire weekend," said District Attorney Tom Hogan.

By all accounts, Benjamin was very sociable and outgoing and well beloved by a lot of people, except perhaps by the person who dumped her body in the pond, and authorities have a message for him.

"He's out there sweating it right now. The longer he stays out there, the worse it looks for him," said Hogan. "He's gotta come in right now, and tell the authorities what happened."

Benjamin's body was found by a fisherman around 11:15 a.m. Monday in the water off of Zieber Road in East Coventry Township.

Children had been swimming in the pond on Sunday afternoon, local residents told police, so it appears the body was left in the water after that time.

"They dumped the body in water that was only four feet deep, so the body was clearly going to be found relatively quickly," Hogan said earlier this week.

Investigators believe she was dead when she was placed in the pond, saying there was no water in her lungs, indicating that she did not drown.

Her exact cause of death, however, is not yet known. She had no gunshot wounds or blunt force trauma, Hogan said, and there were no signs of strangulation.

The coroner is now awaiting results of toxicology tests.

Anyone with information that could prove helpful is being asked to contact Det. Tom Goggin at 610-344-6866.
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