Local News

Marine's parents: Claims of violence against wife 'unfounded'

Posted July 12, 2008 2:50 p.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2008 10:36 a.m. EDT

— The family of a Camp Lejeune Marine defended him against speculation that he might be involved in the disappearance of his estranged wife, an Army officer based at Fort Bragg.

"We stand behind our son 100 percent," Florian and Lana Wimunc said in a statement released Saturday. (Read the Wimunc's full statement.)

After releasing the statement, Lana Wimunc did an interview with WRAL and reiterated that her son had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance.

Investigators talked to her son, Cpl. John Patrick Wimunc, on Thursday after 2nd Lt. Holley Lynn Wimunc, 24, was declared a missing person.

Her colleagues found her apartment burned Thursday morning after she did not show up for work. She was not at the apartment.

John Wimunc has not been called a suspect and has returned to his unit. His parents said the separation between the couple was amicable.

The couple had been married for about a year. Holley Wimunc has two children, but they are not John Wimunc's biological children, his family said.

"They are going through an uncontested divorce, not a bitter one as some have stated," the statement said.

Lana Wimunc said she wants to set the record straight about her son.

"I'm just tired of people always pointing their finger and not understanding the whole situation," she said. "(My son) doesn't deserve this. You know, he doesn't deserve this at all."

Holley Wimunc sought court protection in May from her 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.

In papers filed with Cumberland District Court, Wimunc wrote that her husband 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.

John Wimunc's parents said "the accusations and innuendo’s about the domestic violence charge are unfounded."

"The paperwork was filed, but the facts were false," his parents said. "John showed up May 28, 2008 at court to fight the false charges and they were dropped because Holley did not show up to face it."

Lana Wimunc said Saturday that she spoke to her son and Holley on the day in question.

"You know, he wasn't drunk. He's like, 'Mom, do I sound drunk?' and I said, 'No, Johnny, you don't.' So, I mean, and Holley was OK, too," Lana Wimunc said.

In 2007, Holley 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.

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.

“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.