NewsNational News


Husband of New York woman killed on vacation in Caribbean wants answers

Husband of New York woman killed on vacation in Caribbean wants answers
Posted at 4:04 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 18:04:47-05

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.

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 said in a statement Tuesday via email that the department "extends its sympathy to the family and friends of Maria Khunla and would wish to reassure them and the public that we continue to investigate this terrible crime and are working with international partners to find the person or persons responsible."

"This is a complex case and naturally we cannot release confidential information, however, we can state that we are exploring a number of lines of inquiry here in the Turks and Caicos and elsewhere. We will utilize all available means including sophisticated forensic science in our efforts," the statement added.

Police also urged anyone with information to "anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477."

Meanwhile, Marie Kuhnla's family vows to never forget her.

"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."

ABC News' Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.