- Written by AMANDA ULRICH
- Published: 10 October 2017
Several weeks after a man’s body washed up on the rocks of The Moorings in Road Town, police have officially identified him as 66-year-old Richard Alan Benson.
Though Mr. Benson’s ex-wife, Linda Worthington, announced his death on a GoFundMe page in late September, police said a family member was not able to identify the body in person until Sunday night.
Until Monday morning, police and government officials referred to him as “Mr. John Doe” — the last of four confirmed Hurricane Irma victims to be named.
Mr. Benson, a California native, lived and worked in St. John as a charter caption.
He is thought to have left the island on his boat, the Goddess Athena, in an attempt to escape Irma.
His body was found the day after the storm.
“Richard’s body was found in the British Virgin Islands and we have a ton of red tape and paperwork to complete before we can even transfer him back to US soil,” Ms. Worthington wrote on his memorial page. “I am helping our son Daniel and his sisters with this horrific job. It is his [family’s] wish that his remains be cremated and his ashes returned to the sea that he loved so dearly.”
Dozens of people commented on the GoFundMe page, remembering boat trips around the Virgin Islands with Mr. Benson.
His daughter, Jessica Benson Perez, thanked friends and strangers alike for their condolences.
“These words aren’t truly enough to express my gratitude for your gracious support,” she wrote. “Total strangers have helped, prayed and have the most gratitude of having even met my dad and how he’s touched their lives.”
Police Information Officer Diane Drayton said the Coroner’s Office has been informed and a postmortem will be scheduled to determine the cause of death.