UPDATE: FOX 46 Charlotte speaks to student counselor's accused murderer

- UPDATE (1:50 p.m. 6/21/2016): Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police confirm Mathew Thomas Benner, 28, was arrested for the murder of Amanda Strous.

FOX 46 Charlotte spoke to Benner who said he has no comment and wants it to go through court first. He was adamant that his image not be used in the media.

Benner was arrested in Nevada and taken into the of custody of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office awaiting extradition. Tuesday morning, he waved extradition and agreed to return to Charlotte. 

Nye County Sheriff's Office told FOX 46 Charlotte Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police has 90 days to arrange transport. Officials said that it usually takes between 14-20 days to arrange a transport for an inmate. 

Benner could feasibly be back in Charlotte by mid-July. 

A 911 call was released Tuesday where the only word you can hear the caller say is, "fire."

Banner faces charges of murder and first degree arson.

Strous, 27, a student counselor at Central Piedmont Community College, was found dead and her apartment intentionally set on fire Saturday in southwest Charlotte.

The investigation is ongoing.


UPDATE (1:20 p.m. 6/20/2016): Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police confirmed a suspect was arrested in connection to the murder of Amanda Strous.

Strous, 27, was murdered and her apartment intentionally set on fire, according to CMPD. A student counselor at Central Piedmont Community College, Strous was planning to get married at the end of July.

More details are expected to be released soon.


Police have released new information on a homicide investigation in Southwest Charlotte that happened Saturday evening.

CMPD says 27-year-old Amanda Strous was murdered and her apartment intentionally set on fire. Strous was originally from Pennsylvania and was planning to get married at the end of July. Friends and even former teachers posted condolences on social media Sunday, heart broken their friend is now gone.

“It shouldn’t be happening in a neighborhood like this. You wouldn’t expect it,” said Christine Grams.

27-year-old Amanda Strous was a student counselor at Central Piedmont Community College, but was living in an apartment complex in Southwest Charlotte. Just after 5:30 p.m. Saturday, CMPD says Strous was killed and her apartment intentionally set on fire.

“Total shock. I mean I have been here all these years and I have never heard of anything like that before,” said Cherie Al-Khatib.

As neighbors wondered what happened, friends left dozens of flowers outside Amanda’s apartment.

Nearby residents were handed a letter Sunday notifying them of a fatal fire, but never mentioning it was homicide.

CMPD says it was not a random act of violence against Amanda Strous. The commotion Saturday evening is still putting neighbors on edge.

“Absolutely it makes me think twice,” said Christine Grams.

Grams was home at the time of the emergency call, but says she didn’t see or hear anything out of the ordinary.

“I am one of the people that because we are here all day if I see something suspicious I always call but this time it was on the other side of the complex,” said Grams.

Still too close to home for many neighbors, who want to see some changes.

“I want to visibly see the police. If they are living on property I want to visibly see them,” said Grams.

Neighbors who live in the same building as Amanada Strous say she kept to herself.

CMPD is asking anyone who may have seen something suspicious on Saturday evening near Toscana Way to call their office at 704-432-TIPS.


A woman is dead following an apartment fire that is under investigation at 12111 Toscana Way in southwest Charlotte that happened around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

When detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Charlotte Fire Department firefighters arrived to the scene, they located and removed a female from the inside the apartment.

The woman has been identified as 27-year-old Amanda Strous who was transported to Carolinas Medical Center- Steele Creek where she died. Her family has been notified of her death.

Officers say the fire was intentionally set while Strous was inside the apartment.

Detectives say the fire was not a random act of violence.

Crews battled the apartment blaze for approximately 15 minutes.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit Detective.  Detective Grosse is the lead detective assigned to the case.  The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600


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