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Lodging Couple Charged with Murder of Aspen Socialite

A couple in their 60s who rented a home from a socialite in the posh resort town of Aspen, Colo., are accused of killing their former landlady and leaving her body in a closet.

The body of Nancy Pfister, 57, the daughter of the co-founders of the Buttermilk Mountain ski area west of Aspen, was found by a friend in an upstairs closed of her home on Feb. 26. She had returned from vacationing in Australia four days earlier.

William F. Styler II, 65, and Nancy Christine Styler, 62, were arrested at about 5 p.m. Monday at the Aspenalt Lodge in nearby Basalt, the Pitkin County sheriff said.

According to the sheriff, the two had been staying at the lodge since the time they moved out of Pfister’s home.

Both are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Image: Nancy Christine Styler, 62, and William F. Styler III, 65
Nancy Christine Styler, 62, and William F. Styler III, 65 are accused of first-degree murder. Pitkin County Sheriff's Dept.

According to Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, the couple, formerly from Castle Rock, Colo. Had moved to Pfister’s West Buttermilk Road home in Aspen in November or December of 2013.

Details on Pfister’s death have not been released and court documents related to the case are sealed as the investigation continues, the sheriff said. He said more arrests were possible.

“This case been hard from the beginning for all of us, because of the nature of it,” DiSalvo said in an emotional news briefing late Monday recorded by Aspen Public Radio. “First degree murders don’t happen here too often. That’s good. When they do, we take it very seriously.”

DiSalvo said he personally knew Pfister, who grew up in Aspen, as well as other members of her family.

"I loved Nancy," he said. "She was a good person."

On Tuesday, DiSalvo held another short news briefing to thank assisting law enforcement agencies but he would not answer questions about details on the alleged crime.

Prosecutor Andrea Bryan said the couple was being held without bail until a hearing could be set.

No attorney was listed for the Stylers in court documents.

Nancy Pfister was the daughter of the late Betty and Art Pfister, prominent Aspen residents and co-founders of Buttermilk Mountain ski area, which has hosted the Winter X Games many times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.