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Man charged after death of woman

Authorities say the 50-year-old New Port Richey man buried the 23-year-old after she overdosed.

By CAMILLE C. SPENCER
Published February 23, 2007


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She'd been missing for a month before her decomposing body was found in a shallow Moon Lake grave.

That late October discovery solved the mystery of where Karlee Althaus was.

Why or how she got there was unknown.

Until Wednesday.

That's when Pasco authorities arrested a man who a witness says gave the 23-year-old drugs, buried her body after she overdosed and kept it all a secret.

Authorities have charged Richard Alford with several crimes.

But none of them is murder.

Alford, 50, of 9135 Maynard Ave. in New Port Richey, faces a felony drug charge and charges of failure to report a death and transporting a dead body without a permit.

Tipsters gave investigators the following account:

Althaus and a friend drove to Alford's house Sept. 28 to buy OxyContin, a prescription pain reliever.

Althaus took drugs and had sex with Alford. Later, she overdosed. She died in Alford's bed late Sept. 29 or early Sept. 30.

Alford told other people at the house not to call 911. Instead, Alford and a few friends went searching for a place to bury her.

They ended up at Nassau Drive and Conley Street. There, the witness said, they dug a hole and covered Althaus' body.

The tipsters' accounts of Althaus' drug use matched toxicology reports that authorities received Feb. 2, said Doug Tobin, spokesman for the Pasco sheriff's office.

"We found that some drugs in her body match with prescription drugs he Alford gave to her, according to a witness," Tobin said.

Alford told investigators that he had sex with Althaus, that she died at his house and that he planned to bury her without telling anyone, according to a Pasco sheriff's report. He denied giving her drugs, the report said.

He's being held at the Land O'Lakes Detention Center in lieu of $5,500 bail.

Alford's arrest record dates back to 1978. He's been charged with an array of crimes from aggravated assault with a weapon to larceny.

On Thursday, Althaus' grandmother, Margaret Althaus, declined to comment.

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at (727) 869-6229 or cspencer@sptimes.com.

[Last modified February 22, 2007, 23:26:15]


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