State Patrol seeks help in hit-and-run cold case that killed Kent girl

Recent progress made in 1999 Benson Road incident

Jennifer Bedingfield COURTESY PHOTO, WSP

Jennifer Bedingfield COURTESY PHOTO, WSP

Washington State Patrol detectives are making progress in a Kent hit-and-run cold case from 1999 that killed 14-year-old Jennifer Bedingfield as she crossed Benson Road (State Route 515) on her bicycle.

Because of that progress, the State Patrol has released a photo of the suspect’s car and is asking for the public’s help from anyone that may have information about a blue or brown 1982 Datsun 310 that was owned by someone in the Kent area in 1999 and later dumped in Enumclaw.

“A good lead on a suspect was created a couple years ago and a recent push on those leads created a situation of asking the public for help to identify who could have been driving the vehicle at the time of the collision,” said Detective Stacy Moate in a Tuesday email.

The State Patrol is handling the case because the incident occurred along a state highway.

Bedingfield was crossing State Route 515 (aka Benson Road/Highway) at Southeast 224th Street at about 9:20 p.m. on May 8, 1999, when she was struck by an unknown driver who fled the area, according to a Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound flyer. The vehicle was described as a blue or brown 1980-82 Datsun 310, which detectives later found abandoned in Enumclaw.

Crime Stoppers will pay an award of $1,000 cash for any information that leads to the arrest of the driver. Contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

The State Patrol created a team in 2016 to address the agency’s approximately 100 cold cases.

“The bulk of those 100 cold cases are fatality hit-and-run collisions, which are extremely hard to solve but still deserve attention and efforts of the team,” Moate said.

Moate said the team meets for a couple of weeks a couple of times a year to focus efforts to the selected cold case for that session.

“By holding cold case sessions we are able to focus on the cold case at hand without daily duties and current case load interfering,” Moate said. “Another goal of the WSP cold case team is to attempt to locate the people on the WSP Most Wanted list.”

Even before the cold case team took on the Bedingfield death, detectives had been working on the investigation off and on for about four years and making progress, Moate said.

Detectives also keep in touch with Lance Bedingfield, the father of Jennifer, who supports the continued efforts. Bedingfield, who witnessed his daughter’s death, recently appeared on Q13’s Washington’s Most Wanted show to talk about the case.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

The Washington State Patrol wants help finding this car and the man associated with it. COURTESY PHOTO, WSP

The Washington State Patrol wants help finding this car and the man associated with it. COURTESY PHOTO, WSP

More in News

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

Auburn School District Superintendent Alan Spicciati. Courtesy photo
Students back in Auburn schools? ‘We are not there yet’

Auburn School District Superintendent Alan Spicciati wrote parents a letter to explain delay.

t
Murals dress up light rail station construction fencing in Kent | Photos

57 pieces decorate stretch of Pacific Highway South on West Hill

t
Shooting incidents on the rise in Kent compared to last year

93 shots fired reports so far in 2020 compared to 76 all of last year

t
Kent City Council approves funds for police data analysis consultant

Council also will fund research into mental health co-responder program

t
Boyce named Firefighter of the Year by Puget Sound Fire

Firefighter is former star athlete at Kentwood High School

t
Puget Sound Fire call report

Type, number of incidents

t
King County domestic violence homicides reach 16 so far this year

COVID-19 appears to impact incidents as previous two years had seven each

A Lunar Rover on the Moon surface. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent/Boeing
Lunar Rovers on the Moon slated to become Washington’s newest state historic landmarks

Virtual public hearing set for Oct. 23 on application by city of Kent

Most Read