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In the Zoey Zane Story, Let’s Not Forget Natel King aka Taylor Sumers

Porn Valley- The mainstream press has been all over the Zoey Zane story- Zane, aka Emily Sander, a teenage girl who posed naked on the Internet and was later found dead on a stretch of highway near El Dorado Kansas.

Strange to think that a similar case – also involving an Internet model – gathered little attention outside the Philadelphia media.

In February, 2004, Lower Providence, Pa photographer Anthony J. Frederick killed Canadian model Natel King [stage name Taylor Sumers] in a dispute over money.

King, born in Long Harbour, Newfoundland, was a tall, blond 23-year-old Canadian college student who posed for adult entertainment photos and films to earn money for college.

At about 18, the free-spirited King began dabbling in the adult entertainment industry.

She put a camera and a computer in her room and was posing nude on the Internet as “Taylor Sumers: nude model: The sexy Canadian.”

Her parents didn’t approve and worried for Natel’s safety, but their warning fell on deaf ears. Blonde and busty, Natel could earn up to $1,000 a day posing.

King also did photo shoots for the FCF Agency, which produced photos and videos for the adult entertainment industry and was run by Stephan Sirrard. At FCF, the rules and procedures insist that photographers be checked out and models be chaperoned.

But King thought she could make more money by going out on her own, advertising on the Internet and setting up her own gigs. King began booking her own shoots and went to them without a chaperone.

On Feb. 27, 2004, King headed out to a gig with Frederick in Pennsylvania. Sirrard says he tried to warn her.

“She said, ‘Somebody contacted me, and I’m going to go there and do the photo shoot.’ And I said, ‘Natal, you don’t know, there’s some weird people out there.’ She said, ‘Oh don’t worry about it, I’ll be fine’.”

On Feb. 29, King pulled into Conshohoken, a quiet Pennsylvania community to meet Frederick, a 46-year-old photographer who set up a website calling for models.

King’s roommate and best friend Curtis Shear knew Natel was headed out of town to a gig. Curtis, who did modeling as well and had been Natel’s chaperone many times before, this time didn’t accompany her.

“I was supposed to go with her,” said Shear at the time. “I asked her to wait until Monday but she wouldn’t. Because when it came to money and business she wants it now, she wants it her way and that’s it. So she says, ‘I’ll go on my own this time. No big deal.'”

Natel drove to meet Frederick at a hotel. She signed a deal to do 20 photos including some scenes of bondage for a fee of $900 US.

Frederick took some shots at the hotel but then told Natel he wanted to do a second shoot at his studio with his assistant, Jennifer Mitkus, 29. Nervous, Natel left a phone message for Shear.

“I checked my answering machine and I had a message from her talking kind of softly like “You’ve got to call me back, something’s kind of weird here,'” Shear recalled at the time.

Somehow, Natel was convinced and drove to the second shoot at Frederick’s studio in a house on a quiet residential street. Curtis called back Natel, who was at the studio and sounded anxious.

“She’s like, ‘I’m kind of freaked out.’ And I was like, ‘What are you worried about: not getting paid or getting killed’? I kind of said it jokingly. And she was like, ‘Well, both.’ So I said ‘If you don’t get your money in the next five or 10 minutes then call me back and get the fuck out of there.'”

“I waited maybe an hour and a half, she didn’t call me back. I called her and called her and just called like every 15 or 20 minutes until the next day. And it rang for about a day and a half and then it just stopped ringing.”

Three days passed. Desperate, Curtis contacted Toronto area police who got in touch with detectives in Conshohoken.

Detectives found Natel’s car parked near Frederick’s studio. Inside, were Natel’s suitcase and laptop, but her purse and toiletries were missing. And so was Natel.

Weeks passed with no phone calls. Then, on March 23, 2004, a woman walking along a highway saw something suspicious down an embankment and called police. District Attorney Bruce Castor and police discovered Natel’s body.

“She was almost completely unclothed, but she was covered with what turned out to be the backdrop tarps that a photographer would use to create different backgrounds in a photograph setting,” recounts Castor.

Natel had been stabbed through the neck and had multiple stab wounds on her chest and hands, and sexual paraphernalia attached to her body.

“She had what I later learned was a ball gag around her mouth, like a dog collar, with a pink ball in the centre in her mouth.”

For police, the trail led back to Frederick. When he and Mitkus were questioned, they had the same story: Natel got paid $900 for bondage photos and then went to a restaurant. That was the last they saw of her. Police didn’t buy it.

“She was found with the ball gag in place and all of this paraphernalia from the shoot. That means they were lying about her leaving that location alive,” said Castor.

Police then got a search warrant for Fredericks’ studio. Inside, they found a paint bucket and a receipt with blood on them, blood that DNA testing proved belonged to Natel King.

On March 28, 2004, police arrested Frederick and charged him with first and third degree murder, abuse of a corpse and possessing an instrument of crime in connection with the death of Natel King. Jennifer Mitkus was charged with lying to police.

Police also discovered more ominous clues, including a handwritten note, a poem that read: “Cut with a knife, blood does flow, you may bleed out death, coming on slowly.”

“To me, that indicated some the author was uh was obsessed with killing and cutting,” said Castor.

Police also found a blank contract in a camera bag that included the words: “Snuff Vid.”

“Among the services to be performed, or that we think is indicative of services to be performed, is a list of choices with the word ‘snuff vid,’ indicating to us that one of the services performed by models for his photographic studio was to engage in simulated violent sexual encounters for film,” explained Castor.

Following the stabbing, Frederick and his photography assistant Jennifer Mitkus began cleaning the crime scene as King’s body lay on the basement floor.

Frederick placed King’s body in a wool blanket while Mitkus began sopping up King’s blood which had started to run across the floor to the base of the steps.

According to the police report, Frederick and Mitkus used paper towels, cloth towels, blankets and tarps and all of the commercial cleaning products they could find inside the Conshohocken studio.

At one point when Frederick went upstairs to wash his hands and, according to Frederick, it was then that Mitkus twice stabbed King’s lifeless body with the same Colt hunting knife that he used.

The pair placed all of the items used in the cleaning into two large plastic bags that were later discarded. Frederick also used dirt, sand and mortar to further conceal evidence of the crime scene.

Wrapping King’s body in a photographer’s backdrop, Frederick and Mitkus carried the body upstairs and placed it in the back of Frederick’s SUV.

Leaving Mitkus behind to move King’s car, Frederick drove away in his SUV. He stopped at a convenience store in West Conshohocken, at which time he removed his blood-covered shirt and boots and, along with the knife, placed them in a plastic bag and tossed them into a trash can at the store.

Frederick then drove to Whitemarsh where he dumped the body over a guardrail. King’s body, which rolled down an embankment, was discovered March 23, 2004 by a passerby.

The coroner’s office ruled King’s death a homicide, saying she died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and upper body.

Frederick and Mitkus were arrested the following day.

Frederick was eventually sentenced 24 ro 51 years in state prison.

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