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Suspect in Colorado Springs murder found dead in stolen Utah plane

Officials working on an unusual case say that a Colorado Springs woman was found dead on July 13 with multiple stab wounds. Her boyfriend, a pilot and fellow Colorado National Guard member, was the prime suspect in the homicide.

Authorities found his body on Tuesday in the aisle of a plane that had apparently been stolen at a Utah airport and crashed into parked cars there before it could leave the ground. The man had a gunshot wound to his head.

Officials say the Sky West pilot used a rug to climb over a St. George Municipal Airport fence topped with razor wire. The small airport was closed at the time and the 50-passenger plane was empty.

A St. George police captain said officials are trying to figure out how the man stole the plane and when he was shot.

"Did he shoot himself at the beginning and the plane went on a ride on its own? We don't know."

The captain said he didn't know if the plane had been locked and the airline declined to say.

The airline had deactivated his access cards and placed him on leave after Colorado officials declared him a suspect in the woman's murder.

The man had been a pilot for Sky West for seven years, officials said, and had many times flown the type of CRJ200 aircraft in which his body was found.

The plane has a range of 1,700 miles, according to reports.

An Alabama congressman said the incident shows that U.S. airports have "major security weaknesses...that need to be addressed."

Source: Associated Press, "Police probe death of pilot who stole aircraft," July 19, 2012

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