WAS SHE THE VICTIM OF A SERIAL KILLER TARGETING MILITARY WOMEN, OR WAS THERE ANOTHER REASON SHE VANISHED?
“48 Hours: NCIS: Trail of Fire”
Tuesday, June 26, 10:00 PM, ET/PT
(L-R) John and Holley Wimunc, NCIS Agent J.C. Hawks, Wimunc and her children
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When Army nurse Holley James Wimunc failed to show up for work at the maternity ward of the hospital on Fort Bragg, worried friends began to call around to find her. They then headed to her apartment in Fayetteville, N.C., where they found the smoldering remnants of a fire – but no sign of their friend. Was she the latest victim of a serial killer targeting military women, or was there another reason for her disappearance?
There were suspicious signs at the scene, however, according to NCIS agents who reveal the investigation into what happened to Wimunc, in 48 HOURS: NCIS: “Trail of Fire” to be broadcast Tuesday, June 26 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
“I will never forget this case because of all the things Holley was – someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, a nurse and an officer in the United States Army,” says retired NCIS Agent J.C. Hawks.
48 HOURS: NCIS is a six-part series from the award-winning team behind 48 HOURS that takes viewers inside the difficult cases faced by NCIS agents, who investigate murders, track killers and use the latest technology to solve cases that once seemed unsolvable. Rocky Carroll, star of CBS’ drama series NCIS, is again the narrator in the second season of the series.
Investigators noticed knives were missing from her kitchen and that a piece of carpet from her bedroom had been removed.
“You got the sense immediately that, yeah, something very bad happened inside that apartment,” says Hawks.
“Carpeting soaks bodily fluids. It soaks all types of physical evidence,” says Hawks. “Carpeting is good to conceal something, to roll something up. Nothing good in our minds came from that missing carpet.”
Wimunc was 24 and married when she vanished on July 9, 2008. She was also the mother of two children from a previous relationship. She lived in an apartment near the hospital where she worked at Fort Bragg, while her husband, Marine Corps Corporal John Wimunc, lived at Camp Lejeune, two hours away in Jacksonville, N.C.
John Wimunc told investigators he didn’t know where his wife was and had not talked to her the day she went missing.
Tenants in the building where she lived also reported seeing a man dressed in black running from the area of her apartment and getting into a black pickup truck. It was also a bad summer for local police and NCIS agents in Fayetteville, N.C., who were already dealing with other unusual military murders.
Investigators wondered if they had a serial killer at large after receiving a letter from someone influenced by the infamous Zodiac killer. This copycat Zodiac killer said he was inspired to kill a female soldier whose body was found in a local hotel one month before Wimunc vanished.
On July 14, 2008, Wimunc’s charred remains were found in a wooded area near Camp Lejeune. An autopsy would reveal Wimunc was shot and dismembered.
The investigation would uncover a maze of evidence that included a jealous ex-girlfriend who had resurfaced; a lying but loyal Marine willing to help a wartime buddy; and a husband with a history of domestic violence. But, why would any of them want a beloved nurse dead? Hawks was determined to find out.
“Our real primary responsibility is to protect the war fighter, and that extends to protecting dependents,” says NCIS Director Andrew Traver. “And we take that very seriously.”
48 HOURS: “Trail of Fire” is produced by Paul LaRosa and Jonathan Leach. Asena Basak is the development producer. Marlon Disla is the producer-editor. Karen Brenner, Jack Pyle and Mike Baluzy are the editors. Rob Klug is the director. Anthony Batson is the executive producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
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