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Man charged with murder of Tabb High School grad in Grenada

Posted at 10:14 AM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 10:16:08-05

A man in Grenada has been charged with murder in Sunday's death of Tabb High School graduate Jessica Colker on the Caribbean island, the Royal Grenada Police Force said Wednesday.

David Martin Benjamin, 27, was due to appear in a magistrate's court Wednesday morning, police said.

Grenada police have said Colker, 39, of Atlanta, was found dead after she was attacked by a man with a machete while she was walking with her husband along a beach just before noon Sunday. Colker graduated from Tabb in 1994, according to the York County school division.

Colker's husband, whom CNN affiliate WGCL identified as a 62-year-old man, was unharmed, Grenada police have said. The husband escaped and contacted police, WGCL reported, citing Grenada police.

Colker's body was found on the beach near where she was last seen; an autopsy determined she died of an "extensive skull fracture and asphyxia," police said.

Police had said Tuesday that a suspect was in custody. Officials did not disclose a motive in the attack. Further details about the attack and Benjamin's background weren't immediately available.

Colker lived in Atlanta and worked at a children's hospital there as a physician assistant in anesthesiology.

"Jessica was a valued member of our children's team," Children's Healthcare of Atlanta said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by this horrific news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this very difficult time."

A neighbor of Colker's said she had a "beautiful soul" and was a good friend.

"She was beautiful, alive and vibrant, and she really loved to dance," Sara Greene told CNN affiliate WSB in Atlanta. "That was her passion. That was how we met several years ago, before she moved here, next door."

Greene told the station that Colker was the kind of person you could talk to about anything and was a good listener. Colker also loved traveling with her husband.

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