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Autopsy: Amanda Strous strangled

Christopher Dornblaser
717-505-5436/@YDDornblaser

An autopsy reports that a former Dallastown resident was strangled in her North Carolina home before it was lit on fire in June.

Dallastown Area High School graduate Amanda Strous was killed June 18, 2016, in her North Carolina apartment, police said.
(Photo from Facebook)

Amanda Strous, 27, a Dallastown Area High School graduate, also suffered extensive burns and blunt-force injuries, the report states. Additionally, Strous' mouth was covered with duct tape, according to the autopsy report from the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office.

A sexual assault kit was sent to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the report states.

Previous reports state she was pulled from her burning apartment June 18 and rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead, officials said.

She was the daughter of Eric and Crystal Strous of York Township.

A grand jury in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on July 11 indicted Mathew Benner, 28, on charges of first-degree arson and murder, according to Charles Keller Jr., community access and outreach administrator for the trial court administrator's office in Mecklenburg County.

Mathew Benner, taken after he was returned to North Carolina from Nevada on July 4, 2016, to face a murder charge in the slaying of Amanda Strous.

Benner and Strous lived in the same apartment complex on Toscana Way in the Steele Creek area of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, according to Benner's arrest warrant. The warrant states that Benner "willfully and feloniously" and with "malice aforethought" murdered Strous and torched her apartment.

Grand jury hands down indictment in Amanda Strous slaying

Strous: Strous worked as a counselor at Central Piedmont Community College's Harper campus for about six months, according to college spokeswoman Kathy Scott Rummage.

Strous graduated from Dallastown Area High School in 2007, then graduated from Shippensburg University in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in art. She graduated from Shippensburg in 2015 with a master's degree in mental-health counseling, according to a news release on the university's website.

Strous played field hockey at Shippensburg from 2007 to 2010. As a senior in 2010, a season in which Shippensburg competed in the NCAA Division II national championship game, Strous served as a team captain and had a career year, totaling 11 goals and five assists, according to the university's website.

Strous and fiance Cory McCleaf planned to marry July 30, according to her loved ones.

Witnesses saw Amanda Strous' alleged killer with blood on him, police say

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.