Justice still sought one year after death of Jennifer Bennett

By Joleen Ferris

NORWICH CORNERS - It was one year ago today that Denise Saunders got a call at work telling her to come right home.

Her daughter, Jennifer Bennett, had been missing for a few days. And a family sledding behind the Deerfield Firehouse had discovered the body of a young woman. It turned out to be Saunders' 29-year-old daughter.

It's been such a difficult year for Denise Saunders. This week leading up to the year anniversary of her daughter's murder has been tough - dredging up all those painful memories - she tells us her heart has been heavy all week leading up to this day.

Today she visited her daughter's grave at Norwich Corners Cemetery. She brought pictures of her daughter's two oldest children, who now live with her, three white roses - one from each of Jennifer's children -and red roses from her to her daughter.

Denise Saunders was eager to put 2007 behind her, but she says time can only do so much to heal her pain and the pain of three small children who lost their mother, until the person who killed her daughter is caught and brought to justice.

"I thought by this day maybe the killers or killer would be caught," Saunders said. "That's really what I thought by this day would happen. But it didn't, so I just keep going day by day with the children and with myself and it's what I do. It's just day by day when this happens. It's all you can do."

Saunders says her daughter fought so hard to break the hold that addiction had on her, that it breaks her heart that she was so violently killed before she could break free entirely, get her children back and consistently be the kind of mother they saw on the many occasions Bennett would get clean for periods of time.

Lt. Brian Pfendler of the Oneida County Sheriff's Department says this case is not and never will be cold. They've followed up on more than 900 leads and are still aggressively working on leads every day and will continue to do so until the person who killed Jennifer Bennett is caught and prosecuted.

Pfendler is confident that will happen, saying it's just a matter of time.

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