Herndon man says he killed wife; police find a body in suitcase

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 12, 2009

A man showed up at Herndon police headquarters Friday morning with a note saying he had killed his wife, police said, and when officers went to the couple's apartment, they found a woman's body stuffed inside a suitcase on the apartment balcony.

The 36-year-old woman's name was not released, pending notification of her family. Police think she was strangled, Lt. Jeff Coulter said, and her body was not dismembered or otherwise harmed. She apparently was small enough to fit inside a large suitcase, police said.

The man, Jamie A. Kuhne, 34, was charged with murder. He is being held in the Fairfax County jail.

The couple have a 1-year-old son. Police said Kuhne apparently took the boy to day care early Friday, then drove to the police station shortly after 7 a.m. and turned himself in.

Police retrieved the boy and placed him with Child Protective Services while they tried to find relatives to care for him, Coulter said.

The boy was unharmed. Police think he was probably in the apartment, in the Stuart Woods II complex just off Herndon Parkway, when his mother was killed, either late Thursday or early Friday, Coulter said.

Detectives think the killing occurred after an argument between Kuhne and the woman inside their third-floor apartment on Tamarack Way.

Neighbors said they frequently saw the woman, who they said was Chinese, and the baby walking around the complex. One neighbor said the little boy had just learned to walk.

"She was just a really sweet lady," said Allison Kirsch, who lives nearby. "We always saw them out walking around. He's a happy little boy. She loved her son a whole lot."

Police records, however, indicate that there was some discord in the apartment. Herndon police were called there in October 2008 and again last month for reported domestic disputes, Coulter said.

In addition, a woman apparently called police from the apartment in August and reported that a domestic incident had happened in the District, Coulter said. The caller was referred to D.C. police.

No one was charged in any of the reported incidents, according to Coulter and court records. Court records indicate that the couple married in August 2007.

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