Friend of Suspect and Victim in Murder Suicide Case

A woman who knew both the suspect and the victim in the Wapiti, Wyoming murder suicide case says they were both very nice to her. Suzanne Rankin talked to the victim a couple of months ago.

Dennis Klingbeil faced a first degree murder charge in Circuit Court in Cody a week ago. The 76 year old man is accused of shooting his wife, 75 year old Donna Klingbeil to death at their Wapiti home August 5th.

Authorities say he then took so many prescription pills he had to be hospitalized for several days.

On Monday, Circuit Judge Bruce Waters denied Klingbeil’s lawyer’s request that he be released on bail, to wait for the trial at one of the apartment’s he owns in Cody. Klingbeil will have to wait in jail until his trial.

There is a lot of interest in the murder-suicide case in Cody, and Wapiti. While the court papers indicate the couple had been arguing about how to divide assets in their trusts, Park county’s prosecutor estimated their holdings in Wyoming and Florida real estate in the millions of dollars.

But, the woman who new them for more than twenty years said, “For being so well off, they were down to earth and very kind.”

Suzanne Rankin rented an apartment from the couple. She said they were caring landlords.

Rankin explained, “Their places were very clean. They checked up on you. Made sure everything was alright.”

Rankin said she was shocked at Dennis Klingbeil’s appearance in the newspaper picture.

She said when she knew him, he was, “Nice and neat and clean and tidy. Very coiffed for a man. Always cologne.”

Rankin said Klingbeil ordered his cologne from France. But she hadn’t seen him for a long time.
She talked with Donna Klingbeil just two months before the Park County sheriff found her with a gunshot
wound to the head.

Rankin said, “She came to the restaurant at the end of May. And we ended up talking for twenty minutes. And, she seemed just fine.”

Rankin said she saw the Klingbeils together more than twenty years ago. At that time they gave her and her fiancé marriage advice.

She explained, “It was not the first marriage for either of us and they were very adamant: ‘Do not get married before the children leave the house.’”

Dennis Klinbeil has not entered a plea in the first degree murder charge against him.