Family searching for answers after Long Island lawyer murdered in Turks and Caicos

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The family of a Long Island woman killed during a getaway trip to Turks and Caicos has been frustrated in their attempts to get answers about what happened.

Rick Kuhnla of Wantagh spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News about his wife, 61-year-old Marie Kuhnla.

"She was murdered," he said. "I could at least say it now, I couldn't say it a month ago."

Nearly two months ago Marie, a public defender, left on a week-long girls vacation with two friends from Suffolk County Legal Aid.

Their week at the Turks and Caicos Club Med was almost over, when one morning her body turned up.

Police determined she had been strangled and her body left in low brush.

"She spent her life fighting for justice for those who couldn't afford it themselves," said the victim's son, Rick Kuhnla Jr. "I believe she deserves every effort to get justice for her."

But it's been a long and frustrating road. Marie's family says police on Turks and Caicos have told them next to nothing about the case, and even made them wait more than a month to recover Marie's remains.

"Their only industry there is tourism," said Rick Kuhnla Sr. "It's their only industry. You would feel they'd be motivated to solve it quickly but you can't help but think they wanna sweep it under the rug."

But the family has reason to hope, because the FBI has now joined the murder case.

* Follow us on YouTube
* More local news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.