ASPEN, Colo. (AP) – A husband and wife who rented the house of a Colorado resort town socialite are accused of killing her and leaving her body in a closet after she returned home from an overseas vacation.
Nancy Pfister, 57, was the daughter of the late Betty and Art Pfister, longtime prominent Aspen residents who co-founded the Buttermilk ski area west of town. Buttermilk Mountain has hosted the Winter X Games multiple times.
On Monday evening, authorities arrested William F. Styler III, 65, and Nancy Christine Styler, 62, at the Aspenalt Lodge in Basalt, where they were staying after apparently moving out of Pfister’s two-garage, two-story Aspen home Feb. 22. Both face first-degree murder charges.
In a recent Facebook posting from Pfister while she was still on vacation in Australia she said the Stylers weren’t paying rent or utilities as they had agreed to do and that she would have to return to Aspen.
The Stylers appeared in court Tuesday and both waived a formal reading of the charges, the Aspen Times reported.
William Styler sat in a wheelchair. His attorney, Sara Steele, told the judge Styler has “mental health issues that need to be taken care of.” Steele didn’t immediately respond to a telephone message seeking clarification.
Beth Krulewitch, the attorney representing Nancy Styler, also did not immediately return a phone message.
The couple were being held without bond. Their next court appearance is March 17.
Authorities said the couple rented Pfister’s West Buttermilk Road home during the fall.
Pfister returned from a vacation in Australia on Feb. 22, and she was found dead four days later. A friend discovered her body in an upstairs closet at Pfister’s home on the evening of Feb. 26. A cause of death has not yet been released.
Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said the investigation is ongoing, and he did not rule out the possibility of more arrests. The sheriff’s office curbed public access in the courthouse and put up barricades to sequester scores of people interviewed in the past several days after Pfister’s body was found.
DiSalvo said both suspects were questioned early in the investigation, but authorities lacked enough probable to arrest them. He declined to discuss the investigation further, and court records were sealed.
“This case has been hard from the beginning on all of us, because of the nature of it,” DiSalvo said. “First-degree murders don’t happen here too often.”
Authorities said it was Pitkin County’s first murder since 2001, excluding deaths ruled murder-suicides.
DiSalvo said he knew Pfister and other members of her family.
“I loved Nancy,” he said. “She was a good person.”
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