Police probe turns to assistant in the death of a model Detectives seek to compare evidence from where the body was found in Whitemarsh to Jennifer Mitkus.

Posted: April 13, 2004

Police will gather biological material from photographic assistant Jennifer Mitkus to see whether they can put her at the scene where a Canadian pornography actress was found dead last month in Whitemarsh.

Detectives want to compare samples taken from Mitkus - typically hair, blood and saliva, although the search warrant does not specify - with evidence removed from the body of Natel King, who was found nude on March 23 in a ravine along the Schuylkill.

They also will test the samples against items found around King's body, including bondage devices, photography backdrops, and a torn drape containing red paint and dried blood, according to an affidavit of probable cause attached to a search warrant filed yesterday with Collegeville District Justice Benjamin R. Crahalla.

King billed herself as the Sexy Canadian on the Internet and came to Pennsylvania for a photo shoot. She was last seen in Conshohocken on Feb. 29.

Photographer Anthony J. Frederick, 46, of Eagleville, has been charged with first- and third-degree murder, possession of instruments of crime, unsworn falsification to authorities, and abuse of a corpse.

Mitkus, 29, whose last address was in Oaks but who is originally from Philadelphia, was charged only with unsworn falsification to authorities and hindering apprehension in King's death. She was Frederick's assistant.

Both were charged March 24. Mitkus is held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility with bail set at $100,000. Frederick is held there without bail.

Police are investigating whether Mitkus could have played a more prominent role in the death of King, also known as Taylor Sumers, than previously believed.

From the day King's body was found until March 29, detectives searched for evidence concerning her death, the affidavit said.

Among the places searched were an apartment in the 100 block of West Third Avenue, Conshohocken, where Frederick had held photo shoots, and Frederick's and Mitkus' cars. At several sites, police said they found what they believed were blood and other evidence connected to King's death.

Contact staff writer Keith Herbert at 610-313-8007 or keithherbert@phillynews.com.

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