Craig police officer found dead in Glenwood
Autopsy expected to take place today to determine community service officer's cause of death
October 15, 2009
A Craig Police Department officer was found dead Wednesday in Glenwood Springs, a Garfield County deputy coroner said.
Kathie Johnson, a police department community service officer and wife of former police detective Ken Johnson, was found Wednesday afternoon in her room at the Hotel Colorado.
A cause of death has not been determined, deputy coroner Thomas Walton said, and an autopsy is scheduled to take place today.
Johnson, 51, was reportedly in Glenwood Springs to attend an annual animal control officer conference.
The Glenwood Springs Police Department and Garfield County Coroner’s Office is investigating the death.
Walton said Johnson’s family has been notified of her death. He said he could not release additional information while the investigation continues.
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Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said a Glenwood Springs Police Department detective informed him about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday that Johnson was found in her hotel room.
The detective, Vanatta said, reported that the door to Kathie Johnson’s room was found closed, and that there were no signs of foul play.
“Absolutely no signs of anything out of the ordinary,” he said the detective told him.
Johnson was scheduled to attend a class Wednesday at the conference and didn’t show up, Vanatta said. Someone went to her hotel room looking for her, Vanatta said, and found the body.
Local law enforcement officers spent part of Wednesday notifying Kathie Johnson’s family, including Ken Johnson, who resigned from the police department Sept. 8 and has been the subject of an ongoing criminal prosecution.
Vanatta said he told his department of Kathie Johnson’s death shortly after he heard the news.
“One, shock, and two, extreme sadness,” Vanatta said of his officers’ reaction to the news. “They were all devastated. She was a really, really nice lady.”
Ken Johnson has been charged in Moffat County Court with attempting to influence a public servant, accessory to crime and embezzlement of public property.
Ken Johnson had worked for the police department for nine years, and also worked with the All Crimes Enforcement Team task force.
The charges against him stem from a 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office investigation. Prosecutors suspect Johnson had a sexual relationship with local woman Tausha Merwin and shared confidential police information with her.
She is facing a charge of attempting to influence a public servant.
Both had first court appearances Tuesday morning.