Eva “Kay” Wenal Murder: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?

Image Credit: Erin/Find a Grave

The episode titled ‘Who Killed Kay’ of ‘Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death’ takes us back in time to 2008 when a former model named Eva “Kay” Wenal was found covered in her own pool of blood in her Georgia home. Soon, the investigators delved into the details of the case, collecting evidence and testimonies, and learning about the events that might have led to this gruesome act of violence. Despite the abundance of clues, the authorities found it rather difficult to uncover this mystery. As the episode includes interviews with Kay’s family members, detectives, and other individuals connected to the case, we learn that her seemingly idyllic life was just a facade.

How Did Eva “Kay” Wenal Die?

Eva “Kay” Smith was born on January 22, 1948, in Prescott, Arkansas, and was accompanied by a little sister named Pam Sleeper while growing up. Her loved ones described her as a straightforward woman who always spoke her mind and held people accountable for their actions. At the same time, she was just as loving as she used to share everything with her loved ones, making them feel special very often. However, her childhood was fairly difficult as she would be constantly on the move with her family because of her father’s oil business job. Things got even more complicated when her parents ended their marriage in an unfriendly manner.

Image Credit: Erin/Find a Grave

Around the time she was in college, Kay got married and even got pregnant. But her first marriage didn’t last long; she left her husband and child to move to her father’s place in Texas. After spending some time there, she moved to Florida where her second marriage ended in 1976. On the professional front, she became a certified dental assistant in the late 1970s, before making waves as a cocktail waitress at a Playboy Club in Miami. During the 1980s, she got married for the third time, this time to a casino worker, and became a professional model. A few years into the marriage, the couple parted ways in 1987.

During her third marriage, Kay had already crossed paths with Harold “Hal” Stanley Wenal, who was also married to someone at the time. However, when sparks flew between them, they tied the knot on August 5, 1992, after separating from their respective partners. Eventually, the couple decided to settle in Atlanta where Hal had struck gold by turning a huge profit from buying land and building strip malls. Even several years after their wedding, the Wenals always appeared to be extremely in love, not hesitating with their public displays of affection. Known for their luxurious lifestyle, the couple had no clue that picture-perfect life would soon be a thing of the past.

On the fateful day of May 1, 2008, when Hal returned home in the evening, he found his 60-year-old wife Eva “Kay” Wenal murdered on the kitchen floor of their Lawrenceville house. After he called 911, the police rushed to the crime scene, secured the perimeter, and began looking for evidence. Upon looking at Kay’s body, the investigators came to know that she was punched multiple times before her throat was slit and she died from the resultant blood loss. They did not find any sign of forced entry or robbery, which eliminated the possibility of it being a burglary. However, they did come across a bloody towel inside the couple’s closet as well as a male DNA sample, which they were not able to identify.

Who Killed Eva “Kay” Wenal?

The gruesome and violent manner of Eva “Kay” Wenal’s murder suggested a crime of passion or a paid hit but were quick to rule out Harold “Hal” Stanley Wenal as a suspect because he had a solid alibi. When the investigators delved deeper into the murder, they discovered a set of clues and secrets over the next few months. First and foremost, Hal had his fair share of secrets that included a bunch of lawsuits against his companies, revealing that he was not as successful and lawful as it seemed to the world. Right before Kay’s murder, in December 2007, the couple was involved in a federal lawsuit regarding the Villages shopping center in Gwinnett County, Georgia, for fraud and breaching of contract.

In order to keep Kay out of the legal issues, Hal surprised her by sending her on a relaxing trip to Miraval Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, in April 2008. Just about three days after returning from the spa trip, she was found murdered in their house. When the case was turning cold, the police received a suspicious package, which became their next lead, in July 2008. Inside the package was an unsigned letter comprising glued letters cut out from magazines used to compose a strange message, which was allegedly from one of Kay’s admirers. The note read, “I bet Kay Wenal never told anyone what she really was. It turns out she was just a money-grubbing w***e.”

Apart from blaming her family for messing everything up, the note also stated, “I loved her. She said we could be together. She told me she hated her house and That fat Miserable lying mother fucking husband. She said she loved me. But that was a lie too. I told her this would happen if she didn’t keep her goddamned promises to me.” Unable to find any sort of DNA or other forensic evidence on the package, the police could not identify the sender of the letter. It was even believed that the killer sent the letter in order to distract the investigators from the case.

The authorities also heard about a lurking mystery man with wire-rimmed glasses near the Wenals’ property from various neighbors on the day of the murder. But even after spending many resources delving into that lead, the authorities were left disappointed as it led them nowhere. A couple of years into Kay’s death, Hal passed away in 2010. Since then, her sister, Pam Sleeper, took the responsibility to keep the hopes of finding her sister’s killer alive. Unfortunately, it has been nearly 16 years since Kay’s murder, but the authorities have still not found the perpetrator.

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