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Suicide pilot's wife says she's sorry for 'unimaginable tragedy'

AUSTIN -- A law enforcement official said Friday that investigators were trying to find out if a marital dispute caused a 53-year-old Austin man to fly his small plane into a North Austin office building, killing at least one other person.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

Standing across the street from pilot Joseph Stack's fire-damaged home, a representative for Stack's wife, Sheryl Stack, issued a statement on her behalf Friday.

Rayford Walker said he had been asked by the family to distribute the statement.

"Words cannot adequately express my sorrow or the sympathy I feel for everyone affected by this unimaginable tragedy," the statement read. "Due to the ongoing investigation related to this tragedy, I feel it is best to make no comment beyond this statement and to not respond to questions of any nature."

Stack set his home ablaze, then took off from an airport in Georgetown, about 30 miles from Austin, and flew low over the Austin skyline before plowing into the side of a building housing almost 200 Internal Revenue Service employees just before 10 a.m. Thursday.

Flames shot from the building, windows exploded and terrified workers rushed to get out.

Emergency crews originally said people were missing inside the building, but later recovered two bodies.

Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Palmer Buck declined to discuss the identities of those found, but said authorities had now "accounted for everybody."

In an online suicide note, Stack railed against the IRS and the government, among other targets.

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