Man questioned in licensing auditor's disappearance

| Thursday, June 20, 2002

A Washington truckdriver sought for questioning in the disappearance of a state licensing department auditor who planned to meet with him last week, has been questioned by police. Ralph Benson also was investigated but never charged in the disappearance of a fellow trucker in 1991.

Auditor Roger Erdman was last seen June 12 as he headed from his Spokane office to Davenport. Erdman, who analyzes truckers' records for compliance with fuel taxes and license fees, was scheduled to meet that same day with Benson to gather records for an audit, for which Benson was randomly selected, according to a published report.

Benson was contacted by police in Sparks, NV, according to a published report. Benson, who was out on the road on business, came in willingly and was interviewed and released. Authorities also searched Benson's property in Davenport, WA.

Benson was investigated but never charged in the disappearance of trucker John W. Deetz in December 1988. Deetz's rig was found in 1991 on land owned by Benson in Southern California, but Deetz has never been found.

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