Law enforcement in Colorado and Utah spent all day Tuesday investigating the strange incident that occurred at St. George Municipal Airport in Washington County Utah.
The fugitive, Brian Hedglin, 40, killed himself before the plane became airborne, authorities said. Hedglin is the only suspect in the murder of Christina Cornejo, 39, who was found dead Friday of stab wounds in Colorado Springs. Both served in the Colorado Army National Guard, officials said.
CBS affiliate KKTV obtained court documents that said Hedglin dated Cornejo for four years and was arrested in March after a heated argument. He was free on $10,000 bond when Cornejo was found dead.
"Detectives went so far as to contact SkyWest and have them deactivate Mr. Hedglin's access cards in the event he showed up there," police said, according to a CNN repor
Airline spokeswoman Betsy Talton said law enforcement officials will attempt to determine how Hedglin gained access to the aircraft.
SkyWest provided scant detail on the incident beyond stating the airplane was damaged in the process.
"The aircraft did sustain damage; the extent of the damage is currently being inspected by our maintenance and safety professionals," the airline said. "SkyWest is cooperating with authorities in the investigation."
Meanwhile, SkyWest said their passengers were being accommodated on other flights and by ground-based transportation.
The FBI office in Salt Lake City dispatched agents to the airport to gathering facts along with other agencies since the crime involved a commercial aircraft.
"It is important to note there is no ongoing public safety issue, and the scene is under the control of law enforcement," Agent Debbie D. Bertram said.
Spokesman David Castelveter of the Transportation Safety Administration said the agency was reviewing "perimeter compliance" at the airport. The aircraft Hedglin gained access to typically seats 50 passengers.