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Man Who 'Always Saw The Good In People' Found Murdered In The Arizona Desert
The body of Benjamin Anderson was discovered in the desert the same day that he canceled breakfast with a friend — and one day before his car was found burned out.
The body of an Arizona man who vanished on New Year’s Eve had been found in the desert and investigators are treating his death as a homicide.
Benjamin Anderson, 41, was last seen on Friday in the Uptown neighborhood; early that morning, he had canceled having breakfast with his longtime friend Daniel Stahoviak, The Arizona Republic reports.
That evening around 6:00 p.m., Anderson’s aunt called Stahoviak, saying she couldn’t reach her nephew; another friend called and said that Anderson wasn't picking up the phone either, according to the Arizona Republic. Both Anderson's aunt and Stahoviak noticed that calls and texts to his phone weren’t going through, so Stahoviak went to Anderson’s apartment in Phoenix to check on him and found his home in disarray.
But by that point, reports suggest, Anderson was likely already dead.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office tweeted on Tuesday that they had responded to a remote area off West Table Mesa Road and west of I-17 — about 34 miles north of Anderson's last known location — for a report of a body found in the desert some time on Friday.
“The MCSO Homicide Unit assumed the investigation, and identified the decedent to be 41-year-old Benjamin Anderson,” they stated.
The statement did not make clear exactly how Anderson died.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told Oxygen.com over email on Wednesday that no other information is currently available.
"MCSO detectives are investigating, and we will have more information for release when available," they stated.
"Ben always saw the good in people… he took care of his parents, he took care of his aunt and he did everything for them and nothing for himself," Stahoviak told AzFamily.
Around 4:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day, a car that Anderson drove — a 2020 Lexus owned by his aunt — was found badly burned in a nearby parking lot of the local UEI College, a for-profit trade and technical college.
Just hours earlier, Anderson’s friends had contacted Lexus, who was able to track the car to a Super 8 Motel located in an area full of motels and hotels, the Arizona Republic reports.
Anderson’s friends and family went to the area and searched that motel as well as nearby hotels, and claim they spotted his car around 12:25 a.m. in the parking garage of a Sheraton less than 2 miles north of the Super 8 — with two people they didn't know standing outside it and one person inside. The friends left to call 911 and alert the Sheraton's security guard but were spotted by the people with Anderson's car.
The three individuals then took off with the vehicle, and the friends gave chase until it appeared that the people might use the car to run them down. The police showed up 20 minutes later, according to Stahoviak.
One of the three people seen with his car was a slim woman, standing 5’11”, with blonde hair, and a pink beanie. A second individual is described as a man of average height. He is supposed to have dark curly hair, and is either light-skinned Latino or white. There is no description for the third individual.
This investigation is actively open, the sheriff’s department noted on Tuesday. They ask anyone with information to call them at 602-876-TIPS or 602-876-1011 and reference MCSO report # (IR21-037309).