Who Shot C.C. Cipriani?

By: Lauri Martin
By: Lauri Martin

She was shot to death in her own home. 16 years later, police are trying to find a break in the case. Just who murdered C.C. Cipriani Benefiel?

She's the first woman ever to become a lieutenant with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. It was a job she was good at. Gary Brown, a former sergeant with the sheriff’s office said, "She was not only my friend, but my partner. We had a special relationship."

32-year-old C.C. Cipriani was enjoying her new promotion for only 2 weeks, when on November 16, 1990, she had just returned home from work. C.C. was sitting at her dining room table, still in her uniform, gun at her side when she was shot in her face. Her murder has gone unsolved ever since. Sheriff Terry Maketa said, "Most homicides are solved when someone steps forward and provides a spark." And they hope that spark, a break in the case, will happen soon.

A billboard is unveiled off of Platte near Murray, asking the long standing question, who shot C.C.? A $10,000 reward is being offered to the person who can answer that.

At her grave, C.C. is buried under her maiden name, Cipriani. That's because she was murdered just a few days before her divorce was final. Her husband, then Colorado State Patrol Trooper Robert Benefiel, was always under an umbrella of suspicion. "Bob Benefiel has always been a prime suspect, but he may or may not have done the killing," Howard Morton with the Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons said.

Police said there just isn't enough hard evidence to arrest anyone, but they hold onto hope that someone out there knows something. "There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the case. It would give me closure. It may not bring her back, but justice would be served," said co-worker and friend, Sam Washburn, a commander at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators believe C.C. probably knew her killer.

If you know anything about C.C. Cipriani's 1990 murder, call Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP in Colorado Springs or at 542-STOP in Pueblo.

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