TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT & AP) – A legislative spokeswoman says Kansas Rep. Patsy Terrell of Hutchinson was found dead in her hotel room near the Capitol. She was 55.
Heather Scanlon, spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Jim Ward’s office, says officials became concerned after Terrell didn’t arrive for the House’s afternoon session on Wednesday. She says the hotel was contacted after several House members failed to reach her.
Scanlon says the hotel then notified Ward’s office of Terrell’s death. The cause is not yet known.
Terrell, a Democrat, won her House seat in November, defeating veteran state Rep. Jan Pauls, also from Hutchinson. Pauls was a conservative Republican who’d switched parties after serving in the legislature as a Democrat.
Scanlon says Terrell was “an unrelenting advocate for the people of District 102 and Hutchinson.”
According to House Majority Leader Don Hineman, lawmakers at the Statehouse held a moment of silence when they learned of Terrell’s passing.
A number of Topeka police cars filled the downtown Ramada parking lot just after 5 p.m. Wednesday evening. A police officer on the scene told KSNT News the death was due to natural causes.