Sports editor beaten to death

Friday, November 2, 2001

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Kent Heitholt, sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune, was beaten to death in his newspaper's parking lot early Thursday after he lingered to feed a stray cat.

Witnesses described at least two attackers, but could not identify them, said police Capt. Eric Meyer. There were no immediate arrests.

Heitholt, 48, had celebrated his fifth year as the Tribune's sports editor on Wednesday.

He left the newspaper early Thursday morning with a co-worker and got into his car, then got out to feed a cat that hangs around the newspaper's loading dock, said Vicki Russell, the newspaper's associate publisher.

The assault apparently happened soon afterward.

Meyer said robbery had not been ruled out.

The Tribune reported a witness saw two men duck behind Heitholt's car, and alerted sports staffers still on duty in the newspaper. Two sports writers discovered Heitholt's body and called police at 2:26 a.m.

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