Murdered Wichita couple prominent in fair vendor community


Sonny and Pauline Carpenter disappeared Monday after another successful booth selling hand-crafted jewelry at the Barton County Fair.

The Carpenters traveled often, selling their wares at various county fairs and even the Kansas State Fair from 2011 to 2016.

“They both retired from Boeing and they were such social people, that’s why they started doing it. They didn’t need the money, they set up a booth at the fair so they could visit with people and talk and travel,” vendor friend JD Cook said.

Cook met the Carpenters at the Cowley County fair in Winfield several years ago with his booth, JD’s airbrush tattoos. He says the fair vendor community is quite small, with many of the same people, including the Carpenters, appearing at county fairs all over the Midwest.

“He took orders from all over the country for very high end, very beautiful, intricate magnetic jewelry,” Cook said.

Cook is a former law enforcement officer from Texas. He says he hopes to see swift justice for the Carpenters’ killers.

“I hope that they’re extradited promptly and that they bear the whole brunt of it,” Cook said.

The Kansas State Fair released a statement saying in part:  “On behalf of the Kansas State Fair staff, exhibitors and fairgoers, we express our greatest sympathy to the Carpenter family.”

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