Police: Benton Harbor woman killed by lover of nearly 20 years

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(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

More details have been released about the woman found dead in Benton Harbor, and those details help tell a story of a long-term relationship apparently gone wrong.

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety has identified the victim found in a car at an apartment complex Monday as 38-year-old Novena Mathis.

Officers believe she was killed by a man she was in a long-term relationship with: 38-year-old William “Coonie” Edwards. Officers say the two were in a relationship for around 20 years and had two children in their care.

Edwards and Mathis allegedly have a long history of domestic violence, according to officers.

An autopsy ruled that Mathis died of a gunshot wound via homicide. Edwards was arrested in Kalamazoo and awaits extradition to Berrien County for charges including Open Murder, Felon In Possession of a Firearm, and Felony Firearm charges. He’s facing unrelated drug and weapon charges in Kalamazoo.

Our original story…

A suspect has been arrested after a woman was found dead in a car in Benton Harbor.

The woman had been reported missing when she failed to return home. Her body was found in a car at the Hayward Wells apartment complex and police immediately suspected foul play.

Police say their suspect had been in a long term relationship with the woman. He was arrested in Kalamazoo on unrelated drug and weapon charges, and he awaits extradition on an Open Murder charge in Berrien County.

We expect more information about the victim and the suspect to be released later this week. In the meantime, ABC 57’s Jess Arnold spoke with a witness who spotted the car the day before it was discovered.

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