LA detectives seeks to question Pepperdine President's son for the death of a Malibu woman

Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department want to question Christopher A. Benton, 27, son of Pepperdine University President Andrew K. Benton, about the death of a 25-year-old Malibu woman approximately one month ago, according to the  LA Times .

The body of Katie Wilkins was found in her parents’ garage on West Moon Shadows Drive on the evening of April 28. According to Det. Tim O’Quinn, of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept., Wilkins is believed to have died of a heroin overdose (the results of the toxicology tests are still pending). The car, which had been missing for nearly two weeks after this death, appears to have been located and is being held at a tow yard for fingerprinting, according to the Huffington Post.

Although O’Quinn said the case is considered “non-criminal,” Christopher Benton was the last person to be seen with Wilkins according to surveillance footage from a McDonald’s restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway. The footage showed Benton getting in Wilkins’ passenger seat. Detectives say Benton was the last person seen with Wilkins.

Pepperdine’s Executive Director of Public Relations Jerry Derloshon released the statement below:

“The University regards this as a personal matter. The event occurred off campus and is unrelated to the University. Law enforcement¹s investigation is still on-going. The facts in this terribly sad case will develop over time, but the result will be the same: a young woman lost her life, and her family lost a daughter and a sister. It is tragic for all involved.”

As reported by the Daily Beast, in a statement released to the media, Andrew K. Benton said: “In this case I am just Andy, father of someone who knew Katie and her family. Pepperdine has absolutely nothing to do with this. To suggest otherwise is merely sensationalism. My wife and I hold the Wilkins family in very high regard and are deeply pained by their loss. Illegal substances are a scourge on society and they have hurt many wonderful families in Malibu.”

Benton continued, “If anything, I hope this devastating situation will underscore the damage that drugs have had on some of our best and brightest. I don’t really know anything. Period. I would like to be helpful, but I don’t really know anything beyond what I am reading in the press.”

More information will be added to this article as it becomes available.

  • Traci

    Thank you for covering this story. The cause of Katie’s death is still unknown. A number of facts indicate there was another person with Katie at the time of her death and that perhaps foul play was involved. Chris Benton was the last person known to be with Katie, just hours before her death. So it is likely he was with her when she died.

    There is no excuse for the Bentons not coming forward with information for the grieving family, especially if Chris is innocent of wrong doing. Instead, the Bentons have hired a lawyer and refuse to share information. Andrew Benton is a well-respected member of the community and his position at Pepperdine makes him a moral role model. He should act like one.

  • C Since

    ASK ANDY….. Will your son be living with you on campus, when he gets out of rehab? The students and parents deserve to know Mr Benton

  • Robert Cashatt

    Part of the LA Times article, but not all of it. Typical of an organization when the one in leadership is crooked and trying with all his might to “protect his reputation”. Why did/does Andrew Benton and his wife allow their Heroin Dealing son to live on Pepperdine Campus in their home just prior to the murder of Katite Wilkins? Here is the newsweek article, which they do not have the backbone to publish in this on line campus paper…

  • Steve

    Chris Benton’s communication with Katie leading up to their time together indicated a number of things.

    Of particular importantance:
    1) Chris Benton was back living at home with his family at Pepperdine
    2) Chris had been in a recent auto accident and was driving around with his father Andy Benton on the day he met with Katie at Mc Donalds in malibu.

    When news of Katie’s death broke, her car missing was a big deal. This indicated somebody fled the scene of a death. Given Chris was without a car and living at home prior to his meeting with Katie, it’s unreasonable to believe that Andy wasn’t able to put together the logical conclusion regarding the importance of Chris’s involvement. Andy chose to never come forward to authorities about his knowledge of Chris, and he chose to ignore private requests from my family for information. Andy claims he knew nothing, yet Chris, with no steady work, was able to retain a high priced lawyer specializing in criminal cases involving murder and drugs and then indulge in time at a rehab instead of coming forward to reveal his involvment with Katie and explain how she died. What takes place when you are without a car, living at your parents home one day, and then represented by a family attorney and placed in a rehab (away from questions) the next. Why would that be done at a time prior to when your invovlment with a homicide investigation was revealed? Chris is hiding and concealing information with the complicit approval of his father Andy Benton. Pepperdine demands much better than to be represented by the character these actions reveal.

    Given Andy’s statements that he knew “nothing” then it’s like father like son.

  • Nick Berg

    truth has nothing to fear from police investigation

  • cathy

    I was born and raised here in Malibu. we raised our 3 sons here as well. It is disheartening to say the least that a Christian school of such stature has such a self serving hyprocrite in it’s highest position. We all here in Malibu have the right to know just what kind of a “community leader” would protect his son at the cost of the truth and at the pain of the innocent victims family. I love my sons as any parent does, however I would not protect them from their own responsibiliy, no matter what the cost. Only you must live inside your conscious, your son who clearly suffers, will suffer forever if you don’t insist he stand up, be a man and speak the truth.

  • Traci
  • Robert Cashatt

    Another article addressing the lack of action from Criminal in Residence PRSIDENT ANDREW BENTON soon to be former President Incarcerated…

  • Robert Cashatt

    UPDATED aricle on my neice’s MYSTERIOUS DEATH IN MALIBU by Malibu Surside News. It addresses how both ANDREW BENTON (President of Pepperdine University) and his son CHRIS BENTON (Known Heroin Dealer) “both CRIMINALS in my Book” keep hiding from JUSTICE through Attorneys. PLEASE READ AND SHARE!!​current_issue.pdf