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Husband suspected of killing wife dies before standing trial in cold case murder

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Nearly 25 years after a Brevard County woman was killed, her husband was set to stand trial in her cold murder case.

The suspect, 87-year-old Benjamin Reapp is dead.

Eyewitness News learned this may not be the final chapter in Wanda Reapp's murder case because investigators believe Benjamin Reapp did not act alone.

Benjamin Reapp reported that he and his wife were the victims of a kidnapping Friday, Aug. 26, 1988.

"His explanation throughout the whole process was that he and his wife were kidnapped by an unknown black male at a donut shop on U.S. 1 in Cocoa," assistant state attorney Michael Hunt said.

From there, Reapp said his wife was brutally murdered and her body disposed of in a canal.

Hunt said the evidence suggested Benjamin Reapp's involvement in his at the time 52-year-old wife's murder.

"He said things that were inconsistent with the physical evidence," Hunt said.

The agent on the cold case, Joe Martin, said there was a motive for the murder.

"It was financial gain through the homes, through insurance," Martin said.

Martin is also convinced someone else was involved.

When he interviewed Benjamin Reapp before his death, Reapp never made any direct admissions.

Martin said Reapp did speak to a prosecution witness about someone else involved in his wife's murder.

Martin said that would imply Reapp had first-hand knowledge of his wife's murder.

"He was a principal (witness) in the murder of Wanda Reapp and we were desirous of knowing who assisted him. And we may never know," Martin said.

Assistant state attorney Michael Hunt said Friday his office will never give up trying.

At the time of his death, Reapp was serving a 3-year sentence for committing a lewd and lascivious act on a child under the age of 12.