Even couples who have spent a lifetime together have secrets from one another. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, even those of us who have chosen to share our lives with another need to remain individuals. Often, a good way to do that, is to keep a few things for ourselves.
The problems only arise when those secrets threaten not only our relationships, but our lives as well…
Kay was the type of person that if you knew her, you loved her forever. She was kind to a fault and despite having lived a rather glamorous life in the early days of her marriage, was settling into old age rather nicely. Except for the cold that she couldn’t seem to kick. She decided to stay home sick to try and knock it out once and for all.
It was May 1, 2008, and 72-year Hal was on his way home for the day. Hal had made millions in real estate and lived in a rather spacious home in Lawrenceville, Georgia with his wife. Kay, who was 60-years old, had been home alone that day, and Hal expected to find her curled up on the couch with a blanket when he walked in…
Hal looked over at the couch but didn’t see her. Thinking she might be up in bed, he moved into the kitchen and there she was, splayed out and bleeding profusely. He rushed to her side, hoping beyond hope that the river of blood beneath her wasn’t as bad as it looked. Unfortunately it was too late.
Eva Kay Wenal was dead. She had been punched in the face and her throat had been slashed. It didn’t make any sense, Hal had unlocked the door in order to enter their home. As far as he could tell, no one had broken into their home. Had Kay let a potential murderer into the house?
First responders arrived on the scene almost immediately. A bevy of police flanked by anxious ambulance workers. Sadly, the EMTs only had bad news for Hal. His wife had been dead for some time. Meanwhile, police began searching the immediate area for any clue as to what might have happened. Kay was still in her pajamas, but her glasses had evidently been flung to the other side of the room. It appeared as though she had been chased.
To make matters worse, it was clear that the killer had slashed her throat not once, but twice. Whoever they were, they wanted to make sure she would die from her wounds. Yet, no weapon could be found anywhere. Police assumed the killer took whatever fishing knife or hunting knife with him when he left. In fact, he only left one clue behind…
The only piece of physical evidence that the police could find that wasn’t part of the Wenal home, was a small piece off a mysterious latex glove. It was of a different make than the ones used by the EMTs, so it couldn’t have been carelessness. What’s more, the killer hadn’t stolen anything. Kay’s wallet and jewelry were out in the open in the bedroom but hadn’t been taken.
Her husband, Hal Wenal, was immediately cleared as a suspect. After all, he had made the initial call. Still, the investigators were certain that whomever had killed Kay Wenal was a man. The strength it took to push her down, punch her, and cut her throat the way he did, made that much clear. But who was this faceless killer?
Before the police could even begin their initial investigation, Hal Wenal decided to take matters into his own hands. He hired his own team of private investigators to work on the case and even offered a public reward of eventually $250,000, to anyone who came forward with information about Kay’s murder.
As it happened, one of the Wenal’s neighbors had some idea of who might be responsible. He’d seen a strange man in their cul-de-sac on the day of the murder. He’d also been there the day before as well. With the help of the neighbor and a police sketch artist, the Gwinnett County Police Department finally had a lead…
Yet, despite wide circulation of a sketch of the stranger, investigators received no new leads. No one in the area or even in the country seemed to be able to put a name to the face in the sketch. Then, nearly three months after here death, a new development arose in the case. The offices of the Atlanta Journal Constitution received a strange envelope.
The envelope was from Augusta, Georgia and contained a rather interesting letter. It had been constructed like the letters one is used to seeing in movies about hostage kidnappers. The message written on the page was made up of words cut out from newspapers and magazines and the words they spelt out were quite revealing…
The letter had been postmarked July 21st, 2008 and began with the line: “I bet Kay Wenal never told anyone what she really was. It turns out she was just a $ grubbing [expletive] She said we could be together. She told me she hated her house and that fat miserable lying [expletive] husband…” but that wasn’t all…
“I loved her. She said she loved me but that was a lie too. I told her this would happen if she didn’t keep her [expletive] promises to me. Her [expletive] family screwed everything up. Those white trash [expletive]. His money was more important than our love. We could have been so happy together but they [expletive] everything up.” The writer did not sign their name…
Investigators of course believed that the letter constituted a genuine confession. Unfortunately, not a single trace of DNA was upon it. The other problem was that Hal and the rest of Kay’s family and friends seemed completely unaware of this “affair” alleged by the sender. They had no idea what the person was talking about.
The Killer’s Words?
As such, neither the killer nor the sender was ever found. It wasn’t until some years later that investigators learned the letter may not have been from the direct killer at all, but someone else entirely. FBI profiler, Mary Ellen O’Toole was allowed to view the letter and her insights proved quite useful…
Her Helping Hand
O’Toole’s theory is that the letter was not written by some obsessed and murderous stalker at all. She explained that most “cut and paste” letters are the work of women. As such, she believes that the letter was created by a woman, possibly one who was trying to aid the killer by throwing investigators off the trail. If she’s right, then that means two or more people were involved with Kay Wenal’s death.
Two years after Kay’s death, Hal Wenal died of a heart attack. And while this would normally be a simply innocuous, though sorrowful end to the story, it ended up being a revelation of sorts. His family was going through his personal possessions when they found a box containing old photographs, several of which were of a man who bore a striking resemblance to the unidentified suspect seen in the police sketch…
The man in the photos, standing next to Kay and Hal, was a white brown-haired male wearing wire rimmed glasses. It appeared that whoever he was, the Wenals had known him since 1987. And yet, it seemed that no family member, friend, or colleague had any idea who the man was. The photos were eventually released to the media, but the police are no closer to finding out who he is today than they were a decade ago.
Kay’s story was run on famous TV show 48 Hours, and the police are still out there looking for any lead that will lead to the suspect’s capture. But many questions remain, chief among them, why would anyone go through so much trouble to kill a wonderful elderly woman like Kay Wenal, a woman with no enemies? Hopefully, one day, we’ll find out.