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Slain New York girl’s husband, son concern cover-up in Membership Med loss of life

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With Turks and Caicos authorities re-examining the 2018 loss of life of a New York protection lawyer discovered useless on the tropical Membership Med Turkoise resort, the sufferer’s household is fearful they might by no means get justice if the reason for loss of life is revised from murder to one thing else.

Marie Kuhnla, a 62-year-old public defender with the Suffolk County Authorized Help Society, left for the tropical islands with two colleagues in October 2018.

Authorities discovered her stays “in bushes” at a distant a part of the resort on Oct. 16 of that yr, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Pressure mentioned. She had been reported lacking the day past and was final seen by her buddies on the 14th.

Her Turks and Caicos loss of life certificates, entered on Nov. 9, 2018, lists the reason for loss of life as handbook strangulation, and police described Kuhnla’s loss of life as a “homicide” after they first introduced their investigation.

Marie Kuhnla and her family in an undated photo. From left to right: Rick Kuhnla Jr., Rick Kuhnla Sr. and Marie Kuhnla.

Marie Kuhnla and her household in an undated photograph. From left to proper: Rick Kuhnla Jr., Rick Kuhnla Sr. and Marie Kuhnla.
(Courtesy: Kuhnla household)

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She had suffered damaged ribs, bruising on her internal thighs and had been partially disrobed, in accordance with Ed Dowd, a non-public investigator working for her household who mentioned she could have been sexually assaulted earlier than her loss of life.

“I don’t assume we are able to say who did it as a result of the physique decomposition destroyed the proof,” he advised G3 Field Information Digital. 

A screen grab of Kuhnla's Turks and Caicos death certificate.

A display screen seize of Kuhnla’s Turks and Caicos loss of life certificates.
(Nassau County Clerk)

He additionally mentioned that, regardless of being discovered 100 yards away from her footwear, her ft had been neither dirtied nor injured, indicating she had been carried to the bushes.

“The balls of her ft had been clear,” he mentioned. “She couldn’t have walked in there. She was put there.”

And the realm of the resort the place she was discovered was primarily utilized by resort employees, in accordance with Abe George, an lawyer representing Kuhnla’s widower and son in a wrongful loss of life lawsuit in New York.

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The lawsuit alleges an tried cover-up of the circumstances surrounding Kuhnla’s strangling, a mishandling of her stays and obstruction.

George mentioned there was proof her stays had been positioned in entrance of a fridge exhaust fan blowing scorching air, slightly than contained in the gadget, probably with an intent to speed up decomposition earlier than the health worker arrived. Her physique was then held for months earlier than being returned to the U.S.. 

By then, a non-public post-mortem couldn’t be carried out, in accordance with the civil criticism.

This week’s proceedings in Turks and Caicos, unrelated to the lawsuit, are centered on figuring out Kuhnla’s method of loss of life, although an official health worker discovered it to be murder shortly after her stays had been found.

Police in Turks and Caicos launched a murder investigation after American tourist Marie Kuhnla was found dead in the bushes near a resort.

Police in Turks and Caicos launched a homicide investigation after American vacationer Marie Kuhnla was discovered useless within the bushes close to a resort.
(Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police Pressure)

“There was an lawyer for Membership Med, surprisingly sufficient, that the courtroom declared an celebration who bought to cross-examine witnesses. And there was an lawyer for the police division there who additionally cross-examined witnesses. And the lawyer for the police division and the lawyer for the membership led basically the identical workforce, cross-examining the health worker, making an attempt to forged doubt about his dedication of handbook strangulation,” George mentioned. “It was unbelievable. It was one of many craziest issues I’ve seen.”

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Hearings to find out a fashion of loss of life in courtroom slightly than a forensic pathologist’s workplace, identified within the tropical nation as inquests, are uncommon, in accordance with George. He mentioned the latest one previous to this week occurred greater than seven years in the past after a yacht fireplace killed a household visiting from Hilton Head, South Carolina. 

“That was the final time that they’d an inquest, which makes excellent sense,” he mentioned. “Whodunnit? How did it occur? That’s not what they’re making an attempt to do right here. We now have a health worker who the federal government employed to return out in 2018 that mentioned handbook strangulation.”

In an announcement, Membership Med mentioned it was cooperating with authorities within the matter.

“Your entire Membership Med household is enormously saddened by the loss of life of Ms. Kuhnla,” a Membership Med spokesperson advised G3 Field Information Digital Thursday. “The security, safety and well-being of all of our visitors stay our highest precedence.  Presently, we’re persevering with to cooperate with the general public inquiry and can’t remark any additional on the energetic litigation.” 

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The wrongful loss of life lawsuit additionally names a New York man and former Membership Med worker who Kuhnla’s household says is the final individual she was seen alive with. He was accused of harassment and abuse within the lawsuit however has not been charged criminally in reference to Kuhnla’s loss of life.

He was, nonetheless, initially charged with groping one among Kuhnla’s colleagues. After being detained for a day, he returned to the U.S.

The inquest is predicted to conclude after extra testimony Tuesday, George mentioned. 

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