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Frank Bender

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NEWS
December 9, 1992 | By Edward Colimore, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
There's an intensity in those eyes. A confidence and determination in the set of the jaw. A certain look about him - with his hair blowing and his mouth drawn - that tells you this was a hunter, someone who knew his way around the outdoors. Frank Bender felt that he knew the man he was sculpting. He breathed life into a lump of cold clay, and what emerged, with startling detail, was the face of a 5,300-year-old mountaineer whose frozen body was found by hikers last year in the Italian Alps.
NEWS
May 5, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Janice Lynn Proctor Bender, 61, of Center City, a law firm receptionist who supported her husband, Frank, in his work as a forensic artist, died of cancer Wednesday, April 21, at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse. Mrs. Bender and her husband met when they were working at George Faraghan Photo Studios in Center City - she was a fashion and hand model, and he was a commercial photographer. They married on Halloween 1970. Several years later, Frank Bender began a career as a "recomposer of the decomposed.
NEWS
July 31, 2011 | By Monica Yant Kinney, Inquirer Columnist
When you write about people who have received a death sentence, eventually you must write that they have died. Even those who outdance their grim fate, as Frank Bender did so splendidly. If a city is a quilt of vibrant patches, Philadelphia suffered an irreparable tear with the loss of a colorful character who lived large honoring the dead. Bender was a commercial photographer and painter before discovering a unique gift to stare at skulls and see faces and features. In the emptiness of anonymous crime victims, he found humanity.
NEWS
August 7, 2010 | By DANA DiFILIPPO, difilid@phillynews.com 215-854-5934
THE SIGN on the door into famed forensic sculptor Frank Bender's studio announces: "So this isn't home sweet home, adjust. " It's fair warning, given the sights inside. A rifle hangs suspended from the ceiling. "My father-in-law shot at me with that when I was dating his daughter," Bender says, beaming. "He missed my head by inches. " Handcuffs and two guns dangle alongside pans from a pot rack above the stovetop where Bender used to boil skulls in his pasta pot to deflesh them for reconstruction.
NEWS
July 16, 1998 | by April Adamson, Daily News Staff Writer
EDITOR'S NOTE: A typesetting error yesterday cut significant portions of two stories that were published with Part 2 of the Daily News' examination of missing persons. We are running them here in their entirety. If you did not see Part 1, you can read the entire package at our website, www.phillynews.com. The sculptures are eerily lifelike, busts that record each wrinkle, each wave of hair. The faces are so real-looking they actually begin to seem familiar. But they are faces that belong to no one - at least not right away.
NEWS
January 17, 1991 | By Gene D'Alessandro, Special to The Inquirer
A few more pieces of the puzzle involving the disappearance of Lauren Jackson from her East Vincent Township home might be put into place with the responses to a national television show that last week aired details of the case. Jackson, who was 5 when she was last seen in October 1988, was featured Friday on a one-minute segment of the Fox network's America's Most Wanted. "We've received 20 calls" since the program aired, said Jack Breslin, a publicist for the show. East Vincent Township Police Chief James Cote, who originally investigated the case, said he was "optimistic that the national attention will help (us)
NEWS
January 18, 1995 | By Tom Avril, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Burlington County prosecutors have hired renowned forensic sculptor Frank Bender to help determine the identity of a man whose badly burned body was found in a Dumpster in Willingboro nearly two weeks ago. Bender, who works in Philadelphia, specializes in making clay models of heads, using information from photographs, investigators and even human skulls. He has received the head of the Willingboro victim and has already begun preliminary work on a model, according to Sgt. Jack Smith of the Prosecutor's Office.
NEWS
October 5, 2009 | By LARRY McMULLEN
THIS IS A story and a lesson. The story is of a killer who would have hated to know his brutal life helped to inspire a Philadelphia artist to become a crime fighter. The lesson is on the value of the death penalty. True justice never did catch up with multiple murderer John Martini. He died of natural causes. He was pronounced dead at 2:21 a.m. on Sept. 10 in the infirmary at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. He was 79. He had been sentenced to death for the murder of Irving Flax, a New Jersey businessman, in 1990 and was on death row until 2007, when the state abolished the death penalty.
NEWS
January 26, 1988 | By JOE O'DOWD, Daily News Staff Writer
The seventh body found in the home of suspected mass killer Harrison "Marty" Graham has been identified as that of a North Philadelphia mother who disappeared last April. The medical examiner's office said yesterday that the skeletal remains - found in Graham's home on 19th Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue last Aug. 9 - were those of Valerie Jamison, 27, of 18th Street near Montgomery Avenue. She was the mother of boys aged 11 and 7, police said. Graham, 28, told police he had killed the seven - all women.
NEWS
March 7, 2009 | By Peter Mucha INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
John Walsh of America's Most Wanted isn't forgetting the case of a young Philadelphia man apparently murdered for his iPod. On Tuesday, the Fox show's host will walk the route taken June 15 by Beau Zabel as he headed home from his job at a South Street Starbucks store. The segment is slated to air at 9 p.m. next Saturday in the hope of stirring up new leads to the killer's identity. The same program will also include the mystery of a girl's bones found in a wooded area of Monmouth County.
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NEWS
July 31, 2011 | By Monica Yant Kinney, Inquirer Columnist
When you write about people who have received a death sentence, eventually you must write that they have died. Even those who outdance their grim fate, as Frank Bender did so splendidly. If a city is a quilt of vibrant patches, Philadelphia suffered an irreparable tear with the loss of a colorful character who lived large honoring the dead. Bender was a commercial photographer and painter before discovering a unique gift to stare at skulls and see faces and features. In the emptiness of anonymous crime victims, he found humanity.
NEWS
July 29, 2011 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, morrisj@phillynews.com 215-854-5573
FRANK BENDER, who helped identify hundreds of victims of violence and bring many of the perpetrators to justice over a long career as a forensic sculptor, was confronted by his greatest challenge that fall of 2000. He had to sculpt a face where there was no face. The skeletal remains of a woman had been found in a wooded area of Manlius, N.Y., a town near Syracuse. The skull was a shell and there was no face. Told it was impossible to create something out of nothing, Bender rose to the challenge.
NEWS
May 14, 2011 | By DANA DiFILIPPO, difilid@phillynews.com 215-854-5934
FRANK BENDER doesn't have much time left. A world-renowned forensic sculptor who's cracked countless cold cases by building busts of unknown murder victims and fugitive killers, the man whose prolific professional life has been all about death is now closer to death himself than ever. Doctors gave him mere months to live when they diagnosed him with pleural mesothelioma in late 2009. But on the eve of another summer he never thought he'd see, the ailing 69-year-old Southwest Center City resident is still a busy guy. Cancer has melted away four of his ribs, pain pills are part of his daily diet, and he needs naps and occasionally a few puffs of oxygen to restore his energy.
NEWS
September 8, 2010 | By Monica Yant Kinney, Inquirer Columnist
Frank Bender lives. This I consider news, since the forensic sculptor wasn't supposed to see summer, let alone gallop into the fall. "Come check out my tan," he teased Tuesday, which seemed as good a reason as any to ditch my leftovers and buy us both lunch from Cafe Lutecia. When Bender greeted me at his South Street home/studio, he looked a bit like Vladimir Lenin in spray bronzer. "I still go up the stairs and run to catch the bus," quipped the energetic Dead Man Walking.
NEWS
August 7, 2010 | By DANA DiFILIPPO, difilid@phillynews.com 215-854-5934
THE SIGN on the door into famed forensic sculptor Frank Bender's studio announces: "So this isn't home sweet home, adjust. " It's fair warning, given the sights inside. A rifle hangs suspended from the ceiling. "My father-in-law shot at me with that when I was dating his daughter," Bender says, beaming. "He missed my head by inches. " Handcuffs and two guns dangle alongside pans from a pot rack above the stovetop where Bender used to boil skulls in his pasta pot to deflesh them for reconstruction.
NEWS
May 5, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Janice Lynn Proctor Bender, 61, of Center City, a law firm receptionist who supported her husband, Frank, in his work as a forensic artist, died of cancer Wednesday, April 21, at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse. Mrs. Bender and her husband met when they were working at George Faraghan Photo Studios in Center City - she was a fashion and hand model, and he was a commercial photographer. They married on Halloween 1970. Several years later, Frank Bender began a career as a "recomposer of the decomposed.
NEWS
November 8, 2009 | By Monica Yant Kinney, Inquirer Columnist
Frank Bender lives for the dead. For 30 years, the forensic sculptor has peered into skulls and seen souls. With no scientific training and no college education, he became an internationally heralded "recomposer of the decomposed," an artist who solves crimes while providing comfort to strangers. His first commission, in 1977, called for him to re-create the image of a woman shot three times in the head and dumped near Philadelphia International Airport. Because of Bender's tender rendering from her skeletal remains, the victim was identified as a missing woman from Phoenix, Anna Duval.
NEWS
October 5, 2009 | By LARRY McMULLEN
THIS IS A story and a lesson. The story is of a killer who would have hated to know his brutal life helped to inspire a Philadelphia artist to become a crime fighter. The lesson is on the value of the death penalty. True justice never did catch up with multiple murderer John Martini. He died of natural causes. He was pronounced dead at 2:21 a.m. on Sept. 10 in the infirmary at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. He was 79. He had been sentenced to death for the murder of Irving Flax, a New Jersey businessman, in 1990 and was on death row until 2007, when the state abolished the death penalty.
NEWS
March 14, 2009 | By Peter Mucha INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Standing in front of a painted killer in a cowboy hat and a Bob Marley with wilder hair than Medusa, John Walsh stared into the TV cameras, explaining his mission to identify a girl "thrown away like a pile of garbage. " A new big clue was about to be revealed. Frank Bender, forensic sculptor, stepped forward in the studio of his South Street home. He pulled away a large black cover to display a tiny head - one with large brown eyes and a gently rounded nose amid a soft, brown complexion.
NEWS
March 13, 2009 | By Peter Mucha, Inquirer Staff Writer
The embargo is over, and the face can finally be revealed. It's the face of a mystery girl, probably 5 to 8 years old, whose charred skeletal remains were found in a wooded area of Monmouth County, N.J., in 2005. She probably disappeared at least a year before that. If you think you recognize her, call the America's Most Wanted hotline at 1-800-274-6388 (1-800-CRIMETV), or the tipline of the N.J. State Police, 1-866-657-7411. The bust was unveiled Tuesday as the cameras of America's Most Wanted rolled in the South Philadelphia home of renowned forensic sculptor Frank Bender.
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