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‘Springer’ TV Show Guest Found Dead

July 26, 2000

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) _ A couple who went on ``The Jerry Springer Show″ to accuse the man’s ex-wife of stalking them are suspected of killing the ex-wife hours after the show aired, authorities said.

``This is a terrible tragedy. The Sarasota County ... sheriff’s department contacted us and we are cooperating with its investigation,″ said Linda Shafran, a spokeswoman for the show. She would not comment further.

Ralf Jurgen Panitz and his wife accused his former wife of stalking them during the episode called ``Secret Mistresses Confronted.″ All three appeared on the program, which was taped in May and aired Monday.

The body of Nancy Campbell-Panitz was found shortly after the show was broadcast, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators would not say how the 52-year-old was killed, but said the death was a homicide and they are searching for Panitz and his wife, Eleanor Marie Panitz.

The body was found in a home that the three were fighting over. It was unclear who was living in the house, but both women had court documents stating they had a right to live there, said sheriff’s spokesman Cpl. Chuck Lesaltato.

A friend of the victim discovered the body and called deputies, who less than two hours earlier served a restraining order against the ex-husband and his new wife at the request of Campbell-Panitz, Lesaltato said.

Deputies also responded to a disturbance at the home about five miles south of downtown Sarasota earlier Monday. The two women were fighting over who had a right to the house.

A guest on ``The Jenny Jones Show″ was slain in 1995 after taping an episode about secret crushes. Last year, the family of former guest Scott Amedure was awarded $25 million by a Michigan jury that found that the show and its producer, Warner Bros., negligent in his death.

In an episode that was never broadcast, Amedure admitted that he was attracted to Jonathan Schmitz, who had agreed to appear on the show to meet his secret admirer. Schmitz, who was convicted of murdering Amedure last year, had said he expected to meet a female admirer.

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