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Search warrant sheds new light in case of missing student, Jessica Benson

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- FOX6 News is learning more about two cases that may be connected. The first, the case of a missing college student. 22-year-old Jessica Benson has been missing since May. The second: A robbery at Benson's workplace, Educators Credit Union -- just days before she disappeared.

A search warrant just unsealed sheds new light on law enforcement's investigation into the robbery, and Benson's disappearance.

Benson hasn't been seen since May of 2013, when she called in sick to work and seemingly disappeared -- just days before her graduation from Mount Mary University.

A search warrant details how investigators focused on Benson's handwriting, searching Benson's personal belongings in her dorm room, inside Carolyn Hall at Mount Mary. There, according to the search warrant, officials recovered items including Benson's notes and school binders.

This, after the Educators Credit Union on Appleton Avenue was robbed on May 7th.

The robbery was captured on surveillance video. A man is seen passing a note that included words used by credit union employees. Law enforcement officials believe there were similarities in the writing between the piece of evidence and what was found in Benson's dorm room.

Benson disappeared days before her college graduation - and, coincidentally, just after her workplace was robbed. Initially, her sister, Judith Beyer, though Benson was missing or kidnapped. In fact, Benson's friends and family had come together to pray for her safe return.

However, court documents and a Milwaukee police search warrant released back in June insinuated that Benson was not kidnapped - but rather involved in the robbery that occurred at her work just before she disappeared.

And now, Benson's sister, Judith Beyer, is not sure what to believe. According to her, Benson had "nothing to worry about." She worked at the Credit Union for six years, had no criminal record and was about to graduate from college.

"It's very, very emotional (and) it's very hard," Beyer said.

However, a police search yielded different results. Prompted by Benson's strange absence, the police did a welfare check and found a vacant apartment where she had stayed with her boyfriend. 

According to court records, witnesses saw Benson and her boyfriend moving furniture into a U-Haul truck after dark, either a few days before the bank robbery, or a few days after - reports vary.

Additionally, a detective spoke with Benson's friend, who said he saw her driving a rental car on Friday, May 10th, three days after the robbery. He also said Benson, who was wearing dark sunglasses at the time, had cut her hair short and dyed it light brown with blonde highlights. The Credit Union said Benson called in sick on May 11th. 

Two people have been charged in connection with the Educators Credit Union robbery on Appleton Avenue on May 7th.

Officials have charged 25-year-old Kevin Blackburn and 31-year-old Ricardo Lorenzo Perkins in the robbery.

The two each face one count of robbery of a financial institution.

The criminal complaint indicates a note was passed to bank tellers demanding 100s, 50s, 20s be put through the drive-through draw window, or a bomb would go off.

The complaint says approximately $6,000 was taken during the robbery.