Police say Ore. beauty salon death is homicide

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Court documents show a Gladstone, Ore., police sergeant married a beauty shop owner seven months before the beautician was found slain in her Gladstone salon last weekend.

The Oregonian reported Thursday that Sgt. Lynne Benton presented herself to colleagues and neighbors as a woman but listed her gender as male on the marriage license application filed last October. The sergeant and Deborah Lee Higbee Benton were married Oct. 28. The newspaper says while marriage is valid only between a man and a woman under Oregon law, the county clerk's office doesn't require documentation of gender.

Police announced Thursday that the salon owner's death is a homicide investigation. Authorities have not released the cause of death and have not discussed any suspects.

The Gladstone police chief turned the case over to the Clackamas County major crimes team to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. Lynne Benton has taken leave from the Gladstone department. The Oregonian says Benton has not returned a call for comment.

Gladstone is a Portland suburb.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com