Kansas City Star, Sunday 10/26/97

Ex-boyfriend of murder victim kills himself

Two days after his former girlfriend was found shot to death in Lincoln Cemetery, Justin Bruton was found dead Saturday near DeSoto in Johnson County. Police said he committed suicide.

Police had been looking for Bruton since Thursday, when the body of Anastasia E. WitbolsFeugen, 18, was discovered about a quarter-mile inside the cemetery, which is in an unincorporated area between Independence and Kansas City. The University of Missouri-Kansas City student died of a gunshot wound to the head.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department said Friday that it wanted to question Bruton, who was not considered a suspect. Bruton, 20, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His body was found by Johnson County sheriff's deputies about 1:15 p.m. Saturday in an abandoned store in the 9800 block of Sunflower Road.

The Jackson County department issued a news release Saturday saying it was too early to speculate on whether Bruton's suicide and WitbolsFeugen's slaying were connected.

But Bruton's father, John Bruton, reached by telephone Saturday night, said conversations with his son led him to think the two deaths were linked.

"They had broken up not too long ago," John Bruton said. "And what I'm told is that they were in the car together (last week), and she asked him why he didn't love her anymore. And he told her he didn't know."

Bruton said he was told that WitbolsFeugen got out of the car at the next stop sign and refused to get back in. She said she would call her parents to pick her up. Justin Bruton left her there.

"It was just two blocks away from that spot where they found her," said John Bruton. "He felt horribly guilty over her death. He made himself feel responsible for her death."

Bob WitbolsFeugen said he was not aware of what happened the day his daughter was killed. Authorities would not discuss John Bruton's version of the events.

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