Stolen bible, Crocs footprints lead to Carver County murder suspects

Carver County sheriff's officials credited a citizen tip that led them to stolen property from a slain 90-year-old farmer's home, which was ransacked after he had been beaten and bound with duct tape a month ago. That stolen property happened to be a bible containing savings bonds issued to the victim, Earl Olander, and now, two men have been arrested and charged in connection to his death.

Olander's family said he had no enemies and would do anything for his loved ones and neighbors, but rumors circulated about the bachelor's money as a motive. He still worked at his 320-acre family farm, bailing hay to sell in Belle Plaine, Minn. once a week. 

Reinol Godines Vergara, 35, of Richfield, Minn. and Edson Celin Dominguez Benitez, 29, of St. Paul are both in Carver County Jail on second-degree murder charges. Bail was set at $1.5 million each and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials put detainers on both of them, which means they are suspected of being illegal immigrants.

Rubber glove, Crocs footprints left behind

According to charges, police responded to call of a possible death at Olander's San Francisco Township family farm and found Olander face down on the family room floor, badly beaten on April 11. The entire home was ransacked, but during the investigation, police only recovered a black rubber glove on the driveway and Crocs shoeprints inside the home.

Bible with savings bonds recovered

On May 9, a citizen called police and said he was cleaning out a recently-vacated apartment in St. Paul and found a large bible written in "a European language" with two $1,000 savings bonds issued to Earl Olander inside. He searched Olander's name online and learned he was the victim of a homicide. Benitez had recently occupied the apartment and he was arrested, in Crocs, on May 9. He admitted the having the bible and left it behind when he moved.

Police believe Benitez and Vergara drove to Olander's house -- Vergara had previously painted his shed and told police he knew Olander would be an easy target as a man who lived alone and had money. They entered the unlocked home through the back door, and Olander was sleeping on the couch when the pair put a blanket on his head and attacked him. They stole coins, silverware, $2 dollar bills and the bible.

More - Family remembers slain farmer as selfless, humble

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