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Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2000

Boyfriend charged with death improves

August 31, 2000

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— Steven Papen, the ailing boyfriend of a Wichita woman whose decomposing body was found in her car at a Colorado Springs airport, was upgraded Wednesday to serious condition in a Seattle hospital, the hospital said.

Papen remains unconscious, said Pam O'Brien, spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

A passer-by discovered him in poor shape Aug. 15 at the Discovery Park on Puget Sound. He is suffering from a lung condition, and had been in critical condition since his hospital admittance.

The hospital declined to release any additional details about his condition.

A charge of first-degree murder was filed against Papen on Aug. 18 -- his 37th birthday. The case was assigned this week to Deputy Dist. Atty. Kim Parker for prosecution.

Parker said Wednesday that the next development in the case will depend largely on Papen's state of recovery.

"At this stage of the proceedings it is ethically problematic to comment on any of the details of this case," she said.

The case has baffled the couple's family and friends. The couple were last seen in Wichita, where they had shared a home for two years, on Aug. 10.

Anderson's 12-year-old son reportedly came home and found blood throughout the house.

Papen's pickup truck was later found at Mid-Continent Airport.

Anderson, 29, was found Aug. 17 in the trunk of her red Ford Taurus in a parking lot at Colorado Springs Airport. The body had been wrapped in a sleeping bag and stuffed into the trunk of Anderson's car, which sat abandoned for five days at the Colorado Springs, Colo., airport before an airport employee noticed a foul smell and alerted authorities.

An autopsy performed in Colorado Springs showed that she had been strangled and struck in the head with a blunt object.

Court papers were filed in Wichita charging Papen with premeditated murder by suffocation, strangulation and blunt force trauma that occurred in Sedgwick County on Aug. 10 or 11.

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