Rick Carroll

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April 16, 2014
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Coroner: Nancy Pfister died of blunt force trauma to the head

Nancy Pfister died of blunt force trauma to the head, and her body was not discovered until approximately 36 hours after her death.

That’s according to the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office, which issued a statement Wednesday about the nature of the native Aspenite’s death, which led to the arrests of three suspects on murder charges.

“The manner of death is homicide,” the Coroner’s Office said. “Toxicology testing was unremarkable and showed low to therapeutic amounts of commonly prescribed muscle relaxer and sleep aid.”

Pfister’s body was discovered at approximately 8:14 p.m. on Feb. 26 at her West Buttermilk Road home.

“The time of death is undetermined but approximately 36 hours prior to discovery of the body,” the Coroner’s Office said.

Suspect Katherine Carpenter discovered the body of Pfister, 57. Authorities arrested Carpenter, 56, a longtime Alpine Bank employee and an assistant to Pfister, on March 14 at her employee-housing unit at the Christiana Lodge in Aspen.

Carpenter — along with William Francis Styler III, 65, and his wife, Nancy Christine Styler, 62, who once were tenants at Pfister’s West Buttermilk home — faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. The Stylers were arrested on March 3 at the Aspenalt Lodge in Basalt.

All three defendants are being held, without bond, in separate jail facilities. They are due back in court April 23, when a judge is scheduled to set a preliminary hearing.

The entire case file is under seal. Last week, the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to unseal the case; the Denver law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP, on behalf of multiple media outlets including The Aspen Times, has filed a joinder in the District Attorney’s Office motion to unseal the case.

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The Aspen Times Updated Apr 17, 2014 12:50PM Published Apr 16, 2014 02:50PM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.