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Subject: Pageant winner and witness in shooting death dies in Nome


Author:
The Associated Press
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Date Posted: 09/17/05 1:31:58pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska A woman whose boyfriend was shot to death outside a popular Anchorage nightspot last month has been found dead in Nome.

Angela Button, 21, was a key witness in the shooting death of her boyfriend, Kylan Brown, outside Chilkoot Charlie's, authorities said.

She was found dead on Saturday of an apparent alcohol or drug overdose at a close friend's home, authorities said Thursday.

Button's mother, Jeanie Hayes, said her daughter kept having flashbacks to the scene outside the popular Anchorage bar.

"My poor baby, she suffered so much," Hayes said, sobbing during a telephone interview from Unalakleet with the Anchorage Daily News. "It was too traumatic."

Hayes read Button's diary entry from the day before her body was found.

"This month has been one long nightmare. My whole insides hurt," Button wrote. "I like to sleep only during the day because it hurts too much to live. I think about all the things I should have done differently."

Nome police declined interviews and said no foul play is suspected in Button's death. Dr. Franc Fallico, the state's chief medical examiner, said no autopsy would be performed.

Button was the mother of a 3-year-old girl and a former beauty pageant contestant, high school basketball player and student youth leader.

She had been dating Brown, 30, for several months before the shooting. On Aug. 10, the couple got into a tense dance contest with another couple at Chilkoot Charlie's, according to court documents.

Button told authorities she had heard Steve Lapitre, the man from the other couple, insult them and told Brown. The argument escalated into a fight outside the bar.

Lapitre, 25, pulled out a gun and shot Brown, according to police and charging documents. He has been charged with first-degree murder.

Lapitre was out on bail for weapons charges at the time of the killing.

Button received crank calls from people blaming her for her boyfriend's death in the weeks after the slaying, said her friend Lynette Sears.

Button moved to Nome to live with her mother. Hayes said a counselor had diagnosed her daughter with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I didn't really understand the trauma she was going through," Hayes said.

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