Mexican authorities have arrested Dylan Bennett, the 22-year-old man charged with murdering his parents in their Long Prairie, Minn., home, after a four-day manhunt led them to his hotel in Cancun.
Bennett withdrew a large sum of cash from the couple's bank account Monday morning and fled the country, investigators say. He was charged in Todd County District Court with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Barry Bennett, 63, a former NFL player and Long Prairie physical-education teacher, and his wife, Carol, 66.
"It's incomprehensible," said Dave Gibson, Barry's longtime friend and former high school teammate. "I don't know what the demons were stirring around in his mind and heart that would drive him to this point."
Barry and Carol, who were devout Christians, raised four biological children before adopting two young brothers from difficult backgrounds. Those close to the Bennetts say they admired them for taking on the challenge.
"You've gotta be pretty motivated by love, care and compassion for kids," said Gibson, who was tapped to write the couple's eulogy. "They were trying to salvage a couple of lives."
Dylan Bennett appeared to struggle with his self-confidence throughout his teenage years, Gibson said, but the extent of his mental health issues weren't clear until years later.
Although he has no criminal history, family members raised red flags about Bennett's violent ideations last December.
Barry Bennett reported to the Todd County Sheriff's Office that Dylan, who had been in a mental health treatment facility, had expressed thoughts about killing his parents.
The husband and wife were found shot to death Wednesday in their home after a friend became concerned when phone calls and texts went unanswered. An autopsy indicated that they were killed sometime on Monday.
In his effort to escape, Dylan Bennett traveled to Columbus, Ohio, where he boarded a flight Wednesday to Atlanta and then to Cancun, according to criminal charges filed Friday. State investigators went on to track his cellphone use and credit card purchases in Mexico.
On Saturday morning, Bennett contacted Todd County Sheriff Steve Och announcing his intention to turn himself in to the FBI, authorities say.
But Mexican law enforcement captured Bennett around noon, before Och had a chance to relay that information.
Bennett remains in the custody of the FBI and will be transported back to Todd County in the coming days to face charges.
News of the brutal murders shocked Long Prairie, a town of about 3,500 people two hours northwest of the Twin Cities.
Many knew Barry Bennett, a standout Minnesota athlete at Concordia College who went on to play 11 years in the NFL — including a brief stint with the Vikings. After retirement from his football career, Bennett spent another decade teaching high school physical education and became an active member of First Baptist Church with his wife.
"He was a man's man with a teddy bear heart," said Gibson, recalling his competitive nature. "Any rough edges Barry had, [Carol] smoothed them over."
"That was the most important thing in their lives: faith and family."
Funeral services are expected to be held later this week.
Staff writer Mary Lynn Smith contributed to this report.