Report: Carnival mafia member orders killing of Wichita couple

ULYSSES, Kan. (KWCH/AP) Update: Thursday, August 16, 2018

Sonny Carpenter/Facebook

Arkansas police say one of four carnival workers accused of dumping the bodies of a slain Kansas couple had ordered the killings while posing as a carnival mafia member.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that carnival workers Kimberly Younger, Michael Fowler, Rusty Frasier and Christine Tenney were charged this week in Crawford County Circuit Court. The charges include abuse of a corpse in the deaths of Alfred and Pauline Carpenter.

Van Buren police say Younger posed as a carnival mafia member named "Frank Zaitchik" and texted others last month to kill the Carpenters on the fairgrounds at Great Bend, Kansas, where the couple was a vendor.

Police say Fowler told investigators that the killings were an initiation into the carnival mafia.

Fowler's daughter told KWCH the four suspects stayed at her apartment.

She said, "I'm so sorry for what happened to Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter. If I had any idea I would have never allowed my dad to be around my family."

She said Younger threatened her family.

Younger, Fowler and Frasier are being held on a $1 million bond. Tenney is being held on $250,000 bond. All have pleaded not guilty.

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Update: 1:30 p.m.

A probable cause affidavit released Thursday reveals new information in the death of a Wichita couple.

According to the affidavit, The Van Buren Police Department received information that a woman had been kidnapped by a couple who also kidnapped and murdered an elderly couple in Great Bend, Kansas.

Police were also told the couple was staying at the Vista Hills Apartments in Van Buren.

Officers went to the location where they found the woman, as well as Myrna Khan, Rusty Frasier and Michael Fowler.

A 1-ton pickup truck that belonged to Alfred and Pauline Carpenter was also found near the apartments, but the couple was not with it.

The affidavit says due to the lies Khan told to police about the whereabouts of the Carpenters, all three were taken to the police department for an interview.


According to the affidavit, during his interview with police Michael Fowler admitted to shooting and killing the couple in Great Bend.

Fowler also admitted that Frasier and Khan were with him when he shot the couple.

The affidavit says the suspects then loaded the couple into their truck and drove to Van Buren, Ark. Two days after arriving in town, the three suspects, the woman they kidnapped and Scott Spencer drove to a secluded area on Star Road where the couple's bodies were buried and covered with bedding out of their camper along with rocks and limbs.

During police interviews, Frasier and Khan also admitted to bringing the couple to Arkansas after they had murdered them.

Eyewitness News is in Van Buren, Arkansas continuing coverage on this story. Be sure to tune-in to Eyewitness News at 4, 5 and 6 for the latest.

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Update: Thursday, July 19, 2018

Authorities have arrested three carnival workers in the deaths of two vendors who disappeared from a fair in Kansas and were found in a shallow grave in an Arkansas forest.

Police Cpl. Jonathan Wear says the three are jailed without bond in Van Buren, Arkansas, on suspicion of abuse of a corpse, felony theft and tampering with physical evidence in the deaths of Sonny and Pauline Carpenter of Wichita, Kansas.

No charges have been filed. The bodies were found Wednesday in the Ozark National Forest.

Wear says authorities believe the couple was killed Friday after meeting the carnival workers at the fair in Barton County, Kansas.

He says the suspects on Saturday drove the bodies 320 miles (515 kilometers) to Arkansas in the couple's recreational vehicle.

8:54 p.m.

Police have identified a Wichita couple found dead near Van Buren, Ark. as Alfred "Sonny" and Pauline Carpenter from Wichita.

They say the two were vendors working at the Barton County Fair where the disappeared.

The couple's bodies were found around 2 p.m. north of Natural Dam.

Authorities believe the couple was killed Saturday - the woman in a camper and the man outside of it. Their bodies were buried in a shallow grave but have since been removed.

Three people told authorities where the couple's bodies were buried.

Kimberly Younger (whose alias is Myrna Khan) of Texas, Rusty Frasier of Texas and Michael Fowler of Florida, have all been arrested and charged with abuse of a corpse, theft of property and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the couple's deaths.

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4:04 p.m.

The bodies of a man and woman believed to be from Wichita have been found in Arkansas.

CBS-affiliate 5 News in Fort Smith, Ark. reports the bodies of the couple were found in Crawford County, Ark. in a shallow grave that was covered by a mattress.

5 News reports authorities believe the woman was murdered inside a camper and the man outside of it.

The Barton County Attorney says law enforcement officers in Arkansas had been investigating the disappearance of two people from the county fairgrounds, located west of Great Bend.

Arkansas police then contacted Great Bend police who launched their own investigation. Great Bend Police Chief David Bailey said investigators believe the couple was a vendor at the Barton County Fair.

A spokesman for the Wichita Police Department says the couple is from Wichita.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the crime. Myrna Khan, Rusty Frasier and Michael Fowler have been booked for abuse of a corpse, theft of property and tampering with physical evidence.


Van Buren police say this camper belonged to Sonny and Pauline Carpenter.
Van Buren police say this camper belonged to Sonny and Pauline Carpenter.