Grieving husband desperate for answers after New York woman’s mysterious death in Turks and Caicos
Kuhnla family(NEW YORK) — The grieving husband of a woman mysteriously killed in on vacation in Turks and Caicos is still desperate for answers two months after her death.
Marie Kuhnla, 61, of Long Island, was found dead in the bushes near the Club Med Resort where she was staying on Oct. 16, prompting a murder investigation, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said at the time.
Kuhnla’s friends and co-workers from the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society, Kim Nohilly and Helma Hermans, were on the trip with her, as well as Nohilly’s 26-year-old daughter, the women told ABC New York station WABC-TV.
The last time the women saw Kuhnla was the night of Oct. 14 and they reported her missing the next day, according to WABC-TV.
Her husband, Rick Kuhnla, is still overcome with emotion as he tries to talk about his wife of 38 years. “She was murdered,” he told WABC in an exclusive interview. “I could at least say it now. I couldn’t say it a month ago.”
Rick Kuhnla spoke to WABC at his home, where his kitchen table is still covered with condolence cards.
In October the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police said Marie Kuhnla’s death had prompted them to open a murder investigation.
“I would ask that anyone with any information to please contact the investigators from the Serious Crime Unit or you can call in confidence at Crimestoppers on 1-800-8477,” Trevor Botting, acting commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police, said at the time the investigation was opened.
But Rick Kunhla told WABC the police have not done enough to solve the crime.
“Their only industry there is tourism,” he said of Turks and Caicos. “You would feel [the local police would] be motivated to solve it quickly, but you can’t help but think they want to sweep it under the rug.”
The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force did not immediately respond Tuesday to ABC News’ request for comment about the case.
Meanwhile, Marie Kuhnla’s family vows to never forget her impact.
“She was a loving, caring, compassionate woman who I was lucky to have for a mom,” Marie Kuhnla’s son, Rick Kuhnla Jr., said in a statement in October. “If she saw someone who needed help, she would help them.”
“She went back to school later in life to earn her law degree and spent over 15 years as a public defender, providing legal assistance to those who could not afford it,” he said.
Rick Kuhnla Jr. said his mother often visited his elderly grandmother, “taking her out to eat and keeping her company.”
“She was a wonderful woman who brightened the day of everyone who knew her and many who didn’t,” he said. “She may be gone but the impact she had on the world and inspiration she provided most certainly is not.”
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