Two years after Kauffman murder, friends and fans want answers

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Friends and supporters of April Kauffman look over photos and memorabilia at the Justice for April Kauffman rally in Linwood Saturday, May 10. Friends and supporters of April Kauffman look over photos and memorabilia at the Justice for April Kauffman rally in Linwood Saturday, May 10.

LINWOOD – The American Legion Riders rolled into town on their motorcycles Saturday night May 10, their rumbling arrival signaling the start of a vigil marking two years since April Kauffman was shot and killed in her Woodstock Drive home.

Radio talk show host Harry Hurley was the master of ceremonies again this year and spoke to the somber crowd gathered about his good friend, Kauffman, who was a staunch advocate for veterans.

Hurley talked about the frustration of a second year passing since her May 10, 2012 killing.

“It has been two years from her being taken in such a violent and unacceptable manner, and I would say we actually know less now than we knew then,” he said.

“If you remember, they did not lock down the schools. They told us they knew who did it and they did not feel it was necessary to lock down the schools; that no one else in Linwood was in jeopardy.”

Calling it bizarre that no information has come out of the Prosecutor’s Office about the case, he said that updates should have been given and investigations should be ongoing, and the prosecutor should be saying publically that this is not a cold case.

Hurley said members of law enforcement had their opportunity, and now it's time for others to act.

“We did this game for two years of not getting in the way and of being politically correct. Now we have to lawfully and correctly make some noise.”

The talk show host called on the many in attendance to write letters and call talk radio and for volunteers to commit some money to hire a private investigator and to create a reward for information.

He cautioned those in the crowd who wish to point fingers to be careful and not say something that would jeopardize themselves.

“It would be terrible for some good and well-intentioned person to lose their home or their finances because of something they said,” Hurley advised.

“Look folks, this is not the crime of the century but a cold-blooded murder in Linwood. It's two years later; we have no footprint, nothing,” he said. “Time has passed and memory dulls.”

He finished up by saying that Kauffman’s death cannot go the way of “Cook’s Books” Suarez, a local personality whose murder has gone unsolved for nearly three decades.

“People like April come along once in every two or three generations; if this happened to any of her friends here she would not sit back and wait, she would be making noise until this crime was solved,” Hurly said.

Lee Darby, a close friend of Kauffman’s and one of the organizers of the vigil, said she misses her friend every day and has made it her mission to keep Kauffman’s memory and her charitable efforts alive and to see justice is served and her killer is made to answer for what was done.

Kauffman's daughter Kim Pack stood stoically while others spoke. She is involved in a lawsuit over who should be the beneficiary of Kauffman’s life insurance policy.

When it came her turn to speak, Pack fought back tears. She relayed a daughter's worst nightmare: picking up the phone to learn that her mother was dead and not because of natural causes but because she had been shot to death in her own home.

It was hard to find a dry eye Saturday night, the eve of Mother's Day. Pack talked about a lunch date she had with her mother just a few days before her death.

“I told my mom that I really feel like I have it all; that I am happy in my job, in my marriage and in my life. She told me if I was happy in my life then she was very happy for me and that it meant that she had done her job.

Then came the life-altering phone call Pack said she will never recover from. She said she cannot move past the grief while the person who killed her mother goes free.

Pack thanked the many who gathered along the bike path in support of justice for Kauffman.

Lanterns were lit in Kauffman’s memory by her friends, many of them with personal notes about Kauffman scrolled on the paper. They were released, and the flame lifted them above the bike path and they floated on the breeze and out of sight.

Many of the people in attendance brought donations for two charitable efforts that Kauffman supported  Toys for Kids and veterans in need.

Radio talk show host Harry Hurley is the emcee for the Justice for April Kauffman rally and candlelight vigil Saturday along the bike path in Linwood. Radio talk show host Harry Hurley is the emcee for the Justice for April Kauffman rally and candlelight vigil Saturday along the bike path in Linwood.        Kimberly Pack, daughter of slain veterans advocate and radio host April Kauffman listens as Harry Hurley speaks about the two years since Kauffman was killed but a stones throw from where the crowd gathered. Kimberly Pack, daughter of slain veterans advocate and radio host April Kauffman listens as Harry Hurley speaks about the two years since Kauffman was killed but a stones throw from where the crowd gathered.

The American Legion Riders arrive at the rally for veterans advocate, April Kauffman Saturday evening in Linwood. The American Legion Riders arrive at the rally for veterans advocate, April Kauffman Saturday evening in Linwood.   Joe Rullo of Beechwood, New Jersey pens a note to his friend April Kauffman on one of the Chinese lanterns that were later sent aloft in memory of Kauffman.  Joe Rullo of Beechwood, New Jersey pens a note to his friend April Kauffman on one of the Chinese lanterns that were later sent aloft in memory of Kauffman.

 


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