Police, Fire, Courts

September 26, 2013

Saranac Lake man drowns in Marcy Brook



Some years ago, Benham faced kidnapping and assault charges in Arizona, after he abducted a young woman out for a walk.

She was able to kick out the back seat and jump from the moving vehicle, suffering multiple injuries.

His attorneys argued that his behavior was caused by the cognitive symptoms of Huntingdon’s disease.

On Wednesday, his mother, Patricia Pillis, expressed that same conviction to the Press-Republican, calling the disorder a horrible disease.

In March 2005, Benham pleaded guilty to kidnapping and aggravated assault. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

He was required to register as a sex offender, and his entry on the New York State Sex Offender’s Registry was up to date on Wednesday.


Benham graduated from Lake Placid High School and earned associate’s degrees in environmental studies and culinary arts from Paul Smith’s College, according to his obituary.

He was a chef at a number of restaurants in Lake Placid, it said, until his physical condition no longer allowed him to work.

Mrs. Pillis and her husband, Paul, live in Gabriels. Benham also leaves a brother, sister and two nieces.

His birth parents, Frederick and Claudette Pinkerton; adoptive father, Reginald Benham; and his brothers, Shane Benham/Pillis and Michael Young, died before him.

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