A memorial service was held Wednesday evening for Christine Ponthieux, the office manager of the Tampa-based Benz Model & Talent Agency who shot and killed herself inside the owner’s private office last month after sending an angry letter about him to some of the agency’s clients.
Called to the agency’s offices on April 25, Tampa Police found her dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the office of owner Steve Benz. The door was locked from the inside and had to be busted open. Benz was not present when it happened, nor was he present for the memorial service.
Her three daughters spoke lovingly at the celebration of life ceremony, held at the Wedding Retreat in rustic Plant City, FL. There was country music and horses neighing nearby, and a barn shimmering with stringed lights. “It was really beautiful,” said one of the invited guests. “She was kind of a country girl, and it was a perfect tribute to her. She was really loved. It was a nice group of people who really loved her.” She would have been 51 in October.
About 50 close friends and family members, including a few from the office and about a dozen actor-clients, remembered her fondly. At the tables, they told stories about her life, but there were also questions about her death.
Tampa Police declined to provide a police report, saying that “the case is still open.” There is no indication, however, of foul play.
A message posted on the agency’s website says: “Christine worked for us for close to 20 years and will be greatly missed. She was an integral part of our success. There are so many things we will miss about her and will cherish all of the memories. Our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends. May she rest in peace.”
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