Nancy Pfister: Katherine Carpenter, who found socialite's body, joins couple busted in murder
Last week, we updated you on the investigation into the murder of Nancy Pfister, a socialite whose body was discovered in a closet of her tony Aspen home; see our previous coverage below.
Retired Denver-area doctor William Styler and his wife Nancy had previously been arrested in relation to the crime. Now, both have been formally charged with murder, and so has Katherine Carpenter, a bank employee and friendly Pfister associate who discovered the remains. Learn the latest below.
As we've reported, Pfister's parents co-founded the Buttermilk ski area, and she's long been a part of the Aspen social scene. Indeed, the U.K. Daily Mail reports that she was briefly engaged to marry the actor Michael Douglas.
Nancy Pfister in a cropped photo from her Facebook page dated November 2013.
In recent years, Pfister has been best known for her philanthropic efforts, and she traveled widely. However, she reportedly had to cut short a trip to Australia earlier this year because of problems with the Stylers, to whom she'd been renting a house. Here's the screen capture of a Facebook post alluding to the situation:
Click to enlarge.
The Kathy Carpenter mentioned in the note had been hired by Pfister over the years to rent the home where the Stylers had been staying, according to the Aspen Times.
Carpenter, an employee of Alpine Bank in Aspen, is also the person who found Pfister's body on February 26 and called authorities. But while all of the investigative attention early on seemed to be directed toward the Stylers, who are said to have been in at least some degree of financial distress, Carpenter was being eyed for complicity, too.
A screen capture of Pfister's Aspen home.
The Times notes that Carpenter's Subaru was seized by law enforcers along with the Stylers' Jaguar.
On Friday, Carpenter was arrested. She made her first court appearance yesterday, and the Stylers showed up at the courthouse as well. There, the couple, who are in their sixties, were formally charged with first-degree murder.
Look below to see Carpenter's booking photo, followed by our previous coverage.
Original post 9:51 a.m. March 11: Aspen is still reeling from the murder of Nancy Pfister, a member of a famous local family and a familiar face in the community's social scene. And equally shocking is the unlikely couple charged with the crime: Longtime Denver doctor William Styler and his wife, Nancy.
The Stylers' arrest hardly puts an end to the investigation, the speculation or the mourning of those touched by Pfister, including her daughter, Juliana, who is only now speaking publicly about her profound loss. Photos, videos and details below.
The Aspen Times has assembled a fine timeline of the case thus far.
Nancy Pfister's last Facebook profile photo.
The Stylers had been tenants of a home owned by Pfister, whose parents co-founded the Buttermilk ski resort in Aspen. But on February 3, the paper notes that Pfister posted on Facebook that the residence would be available for rent around February 22.
Four days after that, on February 26, a dead woman was found at Pfister's place. The body was in such poor condition that authorities reportedly couldn't immediately confirm it was her.
The investigation rolled forward over the next week, and on March 3, Pitkin County deputies busted the Stylers on suspicion of first-degree murder and related charges.
A portrait of Wililam and Nancy Styler.
Authorities haven't detailed a motive at this point, but it appears the Stylers were in financial difficulties despite William's twenty years as a prominent anesthesiologist; he practiced in Denver between 1981 and 2001. The Times documents a legal struggle with an attorney that ended with Styler tasked with paying $610,000 -- a burden that apparently had him on the brink of suicide last year.
Of course, Aspen is hardly a place that's easily accessible to those who are financially destitute -- and Pfister's home, where the Stylers moved last November, is said to have rented for $4,000 a month.
Another photo of Nancy Pfister, from her Facebook page.
In addition, CBS4 reports that Pfister and the Stylers may have planned to go into business together in Aspen before a falling out.
Did these disagreements lead to murder? Was William, who was transported in a wheelchair and looked haggard and drawn during his initial court appearance, physically capable of such an act? Could the Stylers be innocent? And if not, what led to such a tragic conclusion of the relationship?
A photo of young Juliana Pfister with her mom in much happier days, from Juliana's Facebook page.
Such questions are important to Juliana Pfister, no doubt. But first and foremost in her mind is the struggle to deal with the loss of her beloved mother.
Look below to see her share her feelings with CBS4. That's followed by another report from the station -- this one focusing on the Stylers, and the high regard in which they were held by people they knew in Denver.
But first, here are the booking photos of William and Nancy Styler.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive circa January 6: "Photos: LeeAnn Rimes, Kevin Nealon tweet from scene of fatal Aspen plane crash."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- Report: Taxpayers Not Getting Fair Share of Fossil Fuels, Hardrock Mining
Thu., Sep. 3, 7:00pm
Fri., Sep. 4, 7:00pm
Sat., Sep. 5, 12:00am
Sat., Sep. 5, 12:30pm
- Inside Proposition BB, Which Would Let State Keep Excess Marijuana Revenues
- Another Stabbing Near 16th Street Mall Raises More Safety Concerns