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Apartment complex denies access to slain soldier's family

Posted August 12, 2008

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— The family of a slain Army nurse said Tuesday that they have been denied access to her Fayetteville apartment to recover her belongings.

The charred remains of 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc were discovered in a wooded area of Onslow County on July 13, three days after a suspicious fire was reported at her Fayetteville apartment and she was declared missing. Her estranged husband, Marine Cpl. John Wimunc, has been charged with murder in her slaying.

Police said John Wimunc and another Camp Lejeune Marine set fire to the apartment to cover up evidence of the slaying. The fire burned itself out before causing much damage, police said.

Holley Wimunc's father, Jesse James, said he traveled from his home in Dubuque, Iowa, to pack up what was left in his daughter's apartment and take some keepsakes home, but was turned away by the managers of Morganton Place Apartments.

"That pile of rubble left in Holley's apartment by her killers is, beside the memories in our minds and hearts, the only tangible and physical part left of Holley," James wrote in a letter to the apartment managers. "While nothing can lessen our sorrow and grief over the loss of Holley, the actions of the company you work for amplify the pain we feel, create more sleepless nights and add a huge burden to our already overburdened family."

Holley Wimunc's 16-year-old nephew wants to carry her running shoes in a marathon this fall, while her brother-in-law wants to attach a piece of her clothing to his motorcycle, James wrote in the letter.

"Everyone else in the family wants to own a bit of Holley to, in a small way, fill the massive void in each of our hearts," he wrote.

Apartment manager Michelle Murphy said anything in the apartment automatically belongs to John Wimunc and that she needs a document from him assigning Jesse James his power of attorney. The document would protect the complex's owner, Sentinel Real Estate, in case Wimunc were to sue, she said.

Wimunc's attorney, D.W. Bray, gave a letter signed by his client to the apartment managers Monday, authorizing the release of Holley Wimunc's belongings to James. Murphy said that isn't enough.

"It's an emotional issue for all parties involved right now, and of course we don't want to see any more stress put on any family," Bray said, adding that he hopes to have a power of attorney document completed by Wednesday. “Mr. Wimunc has deep love for the children of his wife and of course is concerned for their welfare.”


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  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 13, 2008

    As Morganton Place Apartments manager, I would like to say that the family has removed all the personal belongings from Holley Wimunc's apartment.

    Enough said. Someone know more than others.

  • morganton Aug 13, 2008

    As Morganton Place Apartments manager, I would like to say that the family has removed all the personal belongings from Holley Wimunc's apartment. The family and military knew we needed a POA release from Mr. John Wimunc. Once the media got involved yesterday [THANKS WRAL], we finally received that POA by close of business. I have been in contact with the James family since the moment she came up missing. I even allowed them access to the apartment, where they DID retrieve personal belongings. Morganton Place and Sentinel have done many things to help, but the media is not reporting this. Please do not believe everything you hear in the media, because we are not heartless and truly hope this will help bring some closure to the James family.

  • superman Aug 13, 2008

    The apt belongs to the husband-- doesnt make any difference legally if he killed her or not. Sympathy for the parents and relatives does not allow you to give away the items in the apt. Follow the law-- follow the law. The apt complex seems to be within the law to me.

  • Adelinthe Aug 13, 2008

    JAT - "Geez - let the man sue - no law in the land will give him anything that belonged to her."

    It isn't the accused killer who's trying to get the belongings; it's the dead woman's family who is, and they have a signed release from the accused killer's attorney.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Aug 13, 2008

    "Wimunc's attorney, D.W. Bray, gave a letter signed by his client to the apartment managers Monday...Murphy said that isn't enough."

    Why in the devil not??? What do they want...it signed in blood???

    Someone needs to get a good attorney here, cause if Wimunc signed an authorized release, that's it.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • coleycole07 Aug 13, 2008

    No one was paying the rent. The property manager even said to the family that she was upset because shed lost a months rent over this, after the family lost a daughter, mother, sister, aunt, friend. That property manager was definatly not a kind woman, to say the least.

  • pebbles262004 Aug 13, 2008

    This is crazy her husband killed her and now the parents have to go through him to get her belongings. That is not right I do not care what anyone says about that

  • dogman1973 Aug 13, 2008

    You would think that the apartment complex would want to get her stuff out of there. They will need to renovate it and get it "open" for yet another tenant! I wonder who is paying the rent on the apartment since her death? That is something worth noting.

  • baileysmom3 Aug 13, 2008

    perhaps after the investigation is complete and the killers are found the family can get peace. this is very tragic and I hope her killer is found. I dont understand why they would keep the family away if they already knew for certain who did it. Something must still be under investigation. I hope they find what they are looking for so that everyone can get what they need for closure.

  • Viewer Aug 13, 2008

    I find it amazing that the apartments' management is being criticized for complying with NC law. Why don't you lobby your state legislators to change the rules and reduce the liability of apartment managers?