'She did not deserve this:' Friends of Long Island woman murdered on vacation in Turks and Caicos speak out

WANTAGH, Long Island (WABC) -- Eyewitness News spoke exclusively Tuesday with the two friends who were with the woman from Long Island found murdered while on vacation in Turks and Caicos.

Kim Nohilly and Helma Hermans were on the trip with Marie Kuhnla, 62, of Wantagh. The three were co-workers in the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society and have worked together for years in family court in Central Islip. They went to Club Med on Oct. 10 for a girls' getaway. Nohilly's 26-year-old daughter also joined.

Nohilly said the four spent the first few days at the resort snorkeling, doing water aerobics and singing karaoke.

"She (Kuhnla) kept saying to me this is the best vacation," Nohilly said.

Nohilly and Hermans said the last time they saw Kuhnla was Sunday Oct. 14 around 6:30 p.m. She said she was going to her room to take a nap. They didn't see her that night.

Nohilly said she knew something was wrong early the next morning when she went to Kuhnla's room and no one answered the door. She and Hermans immediately reported Kuhnla missing, but said they did not get any help at first from resort staff and had to search for Kuhnla themselves.

Nohilly said her daughter discovered Kuhnla's body early Tuesday morning in the bushes on the edge of the Club Med resort. Authorities told them it appeared Kuhnla had been strangled.

"She did not deserve this," Hermans said. "She was one of the gentlest souls you would ever, ever meet."

Nohilly, who was a good friends with Kuhnla for 17 years, said she will make sure investigators find out what happened to her friend.

"I want to know who did this. I want them to do a good investigation," she said.

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