Suspect and Victim Identified in Benton Harbor Murder

BENTON HARBOR, MI – On Sunday January 7th, 2018, the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety responded to a call of a missing person. A young woman was reported to be missing when she failed to return home after being gone for several hours. The family reported Novena P. Mathis, 38-years-old, of Benton Harbor, as an endangered missing person.

BHDPS began an investigation into the complaint, and later located Novena’s vehicle parked in the Hayward Wells apartment complex in Benton Harbor. When officers approached the vehicle, they discovered the body of a female inside. The body was subsequently confirmed to be that of Novena Mathis. Police immediately suspected foul play.

The investigation quickly ascertained the identity of the suspect. He is identified as William “Coonie” Edwards, 38-years-old, of Benton Harbor. Mathis and Edwards had been involved in a 20 year long term relationship. They shared two children in common. There has been a history of domestic violence in the relationship.

The suspect had fled to Kalamazoo, however, he was arrested and lodged by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety on unrelated drug and weapons charges. A warrant request is pending in Berrien County for Open Murder.

The autopsy was conducted in Kalamazoo. It was rule a homicide by gunshot wound.

A warrant was authorized for Mr. William Edwards for Open Murder, Felon in Possession of a Fiream and Felony Firearm. Mr. Edwards is still being held pending his charges in Kalamazoo. A hold has been placed for him to be returned to Berrien County at the conclusion of case there.