Deputies identify woman, man found dead in Nocatee home

ME rules Lynn Bender's death as homicide, Simon Hanley's death as suicide

By Brittany Jones - Reporter, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

NOCATEE, Fla. - A woman who was fatally shot and a man who shot and killed himself in a Nocatee home have been identified, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

According to the medical examiner’s office, the cause of death of the victim, 53-year-old Lynn Michele Bender, was ruled a homicide and the cause of death of the suspect, 60-year-old Simon Patrick Hanley, was ruled a suicide. 

According to St. Johns County court records, Bender had filed a petition for an injunction against a man named Simon Hanley on Dec. 5, 2018. Court records show the protection against stalking injunction was granted Dec. 12, 2018, and was valid through Dec. 12, 2020.

"She had taken out a restraining order against someone and the particular person was the one that I know now was odd and we should've cautioned her against spending time with him, but she had a big heart and she couldn't help but want to help others," said neighbor Jane Amorim.

Deputies said Bender and Hanley were found dead Saturday afternoon in a home on Southern Oak Drive in Nocatee. 

Facebook profile picture of Lynn Bender and previous St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Simon Hanley

Neighbors told News4Jax that Bender worked as a realtor for Re/Max. They said she was supposed to host an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and when she didn't show up, that's when people started making calls.

One neighbor said another neighbor called her boss, who called her family member, who then came to check on her and found her and the man dead inside a home. 

Neighbors said they will change the way they look out for each other. They also said they wished they would have been able to help before it was too late.

"I'm hoping all of us are more alert in the future and that we will not allow this to happen in the future again to our friends and family or neighbors in this community and that we will all be more vigilant and we will all be more vocal," Amorim said.

People are posting on Facebook, saying Bender was a kind woman and they are sending prayers to her loved ones.

“I want to say that Lynn was a beautiful person and I will remember our interactions and the kindnesses that she offered,” Amorim said. "She gave of herself always. She will teach us to be more outspoken with love towards the people around when us when we feel something is amiss."

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