Two dead at recycling centers found to be married

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 | 2:00 p.m. CDT; updated 4:18 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

ST. LOUIS — Police said Tuesday they have confirmed two people whose bodies were discovered at paper recycling operations more than 1,000 miles apart were married.

Police said the missing husband of a woman whose body was found on a conveyor belt at a St. Louis paper recycling center is the man who turned up dead among recycled paper at a factory in Arizona.

Thomas Jansen, 53, a south St. Louis County man missing since late last month, was found last week at a paper plant in Arizona. He was positively identified Tuesday.

Jansen’s body was found Wednesday at the Abitibi Consolidated plant in Snowflake, Ariz., about 175 miles northeast of Phoenix. The body of Jansen’s wife, Susan, 48, was found May 24 on a conveyor belt at a north St. Louis recycling center.

Police believe both Thomas and Susan Jansen, who had recently become homeless, went to sleep in a recycling container in south St. Louis County when it was emptied into a truck and compacted.

Officials said there were no obvious signs of foul play on either body.

The Navajo County sheriff’s office told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that workers at the Snowflake paper facility had found a body in a large container used to collect rejected material in the paper recycling process.

Using railroad documents, investigators determined the large bale in which the body was found had been shipped from the St. Louis area. A Navajo sheriff investigator called St. Louis County police, who earlier had issued a missing persons report, about the body.

Detectives at Abitibi processed partial fingerprints and also located an expired driver’s license that matched the description of Thomas Jansen.

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