Local News

Fort Bragg nurse sought protection from Marine husband after gun incident

Posted July 11, 2008 9:38 a.m. EDT
Updated July 11, 2008 11:39 p.m. EDT

— A missing Army officer who's a nurse at Fort Bragg's Womack Army Medical Center sought court protection in May from her Marine husband after, she wrote, he had knocked her down, held a loaded 9mm pistol to her head and then held it to his own head and threatened to commit suicide.

Holley Lynn Wimunc, 24, from Lafayette, La., is a second lieutenant assigned to Charlie Company at Womack and a nurse in the hospital's mother-and-baby ward, her first Army assignment. She has been considered a missing person since colleagues found her apartment burned and her gone Thursday morning. She had not reported to work.

In papers filed with Cumberland District Court, Wimunc wrote that her husband, Cpl. John Patrick Wimunc, was intoxicated during a May 17 incident and "held loaded 9mm to my head; choked me. Threw me around living room."

"Spouse also held gun to his own head. Wrote his initials on a bullet. Notified his mother of intent to harm self," her request for a protection order states.

Wimunc listed the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune as her husband's place of work and said he is a member of Alpha Co., 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion. A Camp Lejeune spokesman said Fayetteville police and State Bureau of Investigation agents spoke with John Wimunc on Thursday and then returned him to his unit.

Darci Woody works with Wimunc at the hospital. She said she had chatted with Wimunc Tuesday or Wednesday.

"I think she was getting ready to go to softball practice. She just started playing for the team on post and (was) getting ready to practice, I guess," Woody said. "She looked tired because she had been up and she had gone out the night before. She seemed happy."

Woody describes Wimunc as "bubbly" and talkative.

Woody said Wimunc's divorce had become final last week. She said she was unaware of any violence.

For a second day Friday, police had the parking lot outside Wimunc's apartment sealed off. Police dogs searched the woods across Morganton Road, but didn't turn up anything.

Residents at the apartment complex were allowed to stay at their homes Friday night. Police escorts were provided. Residents were told not to walk around the apartment building and to stay inside their units.

In 2007, Wimunc filed papers that persuaded Cumberland District Court to order Lindsay Hunter, of Avon, Ill., to stop posting Internet photos of herself and John Wimunc "with comments directed at me."

Reached by phone, Hunter told WRAL News she had "no comment" and to never call back.

Several hours after their investigation began Thursday, officials ordered the multi-unit building evacuated because, they said, they feared fire could break out again. There was a smell of gasoline at the building, and police classified the case as arson.

The call for police to come to the Morganton Place Apartments, at 146 Wayah Creek Drive off Morganton Road, came in just after 9 a.m. No fire had been reported overnight, and police said it apparently burned itself out before anyone noticed.

Police found a window shattered and two or three bedrooms had been burned.

Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the State Bureau of Investigation were at the scene with Fayetteville police.

It was not known if Thursday was the first day the lieutenant missed at work.

“Our family is still trying to absorb the impact of this week’s stunning events in Fayetteville,” Holley Wimunc’s family said in a statement released Friday night.

Jeff James, Holley’s father, provided the statement. The James family currently lives in Dubuque, Iowa.

“When you read about or watch television news reports of incidents like this, you can hardly believe that it could happen to you. But it has – we are so grateful for the thoughts, support and prayers of friends today – something we’re leaning on heavily right now. As we have said before, our first concern is our daughter Holley – and that she will be returned to us,” the family wrote.

The family said they would not be making any further statements due to the ongoing investigation.

This incident follows the discovery last month of a Fort Bragg soldier dead in her hotel room in Fayetteville after she had not reported for duty with her unit.

The death of Spc. Megan Touma of Cold Spring, Ky., is being treated as a homicide. Police said they do not believe the cases are connected.