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    Aide found dead had said she felt ill

    A U.S. representative's aide confided in those who saw her at the district office.

    By BILL ADAIR

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published August 28, 2001


    A congressional aide in Fort Walton Beach told people she was feeling ill the day before she was found dead, according to a police report.

    The Fort Walton Beach Police Department report says Lori Klausutis, an aide to Rep. Joe Scarborough, told a co-worker on July 19 that she was not feeling well, but did not elaborate. She made a similar comment to a mail carrier.

    She was found dead in Scarborough's district office the next morning by two people who came to seek help with an immigration case.

    Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Berkland has said Klausutis, 28, of Niceville, lost consciousness because of an abnormal heart rhythm and fell, hitting her head on a desk. The head injury caused the death, Berkland said.

    The report, which was released Monday, quotes friends and relatives as saying Klausutis was happily married and was known as "Little Miss Mary Sunshine."

    They said she was under moderate stress in the days before she died. She had two assignments due for college courses. She and her husband had recently moved into a new house, and she was looking for a new job because Scarborough recently resigned from Congress, effective in September.

    Relatives told police she was upbeat about a job possibility at a local radio station and had recently received a $6,000 raise.

    Relatives said she had been taking medication for acne and that she suffered a head injury in a traffic accident when she was a teenager that left her in a coma. When she recovered, she had signs of short-term memory loss.

    A mail carrier who came in the office on July 19 said she appeared nervous. He said Klausutis told him she did not feel well.

    -- Bill Adair can be reached at (202) 463-0575 or adair@sptimes.com.

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