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Colorado couple arrested in murder of ski resort socialite

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A former physician and his wife, tenants of an Aspen ski resort socialite found dead in her home, have made their first court appearance after being arrested on suspicion of her murder, authorities said.

The body of Nancy Pfister, 57, daughter of the Buttermilk ski area's co-founders, was found a week ago, the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Authorities did not say how Pfister died nor did they disclose a possible motive for the killing, which the sheriff's office said was the first homicide since 2001 in the chic resort town southwest of Denver that serves as a getaway for Hollywood celebrities and other wealthy visitors.

The suspects, William Styler, 65, and his wife, Nancy, 62, were arrested on Monday in a motel in the nearby town of Basalt, the sheriff said. They were booked on suspicion of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and made their first court appearance on Tuesday, Pitkin County Deputy District Attorney Andrea Bryan said.

"We anticipate a successful prosecution in this case," Bryan said.

The Stylers moved to Aspen from the Denver area last November and rented Pfister's home there while she was traveling, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said in a statement.

Pfister was in Australia in January when she posted on Facebook that she was returning to Aspen because her tenants were not paying rent and utilities, according to the Aspen Daily News.

Nancy Pfister's father, Art, was a rancher who in 1958 co-founded the Buttermilk ski area with his wife, Betty, according to a obituary published by the Aspen Times newspaper in 2007. Buttermilk is one of four mountains that comprise the Aspen/Snowmass ski resort complex.

William Styler's license to practice medicine in Colorado expired in 2005, the state's Department of Regulatory Agencies said on its website. Formal charges against the pair are expected later this month, Bryan said.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Gunna Dickson)

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