LINWOOD — Woodstock Drive has been the center of a major homicide investigation, media attention and local speculation since April Kauffman, a well-known veterans advocate, business owner and local radio host, was found shot multiple times in her home there Thursday.
But as the investigation reached day three Saturday — when officials said there have still been no arrests in the case — there were signs that the typically peaceful community was returning to normal.
Police cars were no longer blocking the streets. The cluster of media was gone. And people were out doing things such as working in their yards and walking on the nearby bike path, instead of standing at the end of the street trying to see what was going on.
Kauffman’s home itself no longer resembled a crime scene by the late morning, as a pair of grief-stricken women — who declined to comment — removed the police line from in front of the house, where one of the home’s three garage doors was open enough to show a red Corvette parked inside. Kauffman, 47, was a Corvette enthusiast who organized a Corvette caravan last year to honor wounded military personnel.
From the youth soccer fields lined with folding chairs and sliced oranges, to the popular annual Linwood Country Fair taking place at nearby All Wars Memorial Park, it appeared, on the surface at least, that Linwood was itself again.
“It absolutely seems like people are getting back to normal,” said Mayor Richard DePamphilis III, who judged the pet parade at the country fair on Saturday. “We are still somewhat anxious about the investigation, how far along it is and are still waiting to find out what the outcome will be. But things are getting back to normal.”
The city’s All Wars Memorial Park was full of families who came out for the country fair. Many of the residents enjoyed the beautiful weather and camaraderie with the neighbors and were very reluctant to speak on the tragedy.
“It was really upsetting for a lot of people,” said city resident John McClain. “Obviously it’s not something we expected.”
Chick Kisby, chief of the city’s volunteer fire department, said it was good to have a peaceful relaxing day for the community.
“It’s still upsetting to the town,” he said. “You have to move on when something like this happens.”
Ventnor resident Stephen Dicht, who is running for county freeholder in Linwood’s district in November, used the fair to meet several of his potential new constituents. He said he knew Kauffman through her work as a community activist for veterans.
“She was quite a woman. She was always there for the vets,” he said. “It’s just a real tragedy. I hope the police and prosecutor solve it quickly.”
Lauren Mehnert, who lives near Woodstock Drive, was at work Thursday when her children’s babysitter called to tell her about the sound of sirens nearby. Mehnert, like many of Kauffman’s neighbors, picked her home because of its peaceful setting and proximity to schools, the bike path and the park.
But when she returned home from work Thursday, she was greeted with flashing police lights, television news trucks and crowded streets.
“It was shocking,” said Mehnert, 34. “It’s sad that it had to happen so close and to someone like that.”
On Saturday, Mehnert walked past Woodstock Drive with her children — Michael, 4, and Madeleine, 1 — not to get a look at the crime scene, but rather to get to the park.
“I do think things seem to be back to normal,” Mehnert said. “In the community, that is. I’m sure that things will still be difficult for the people who knew her and loved her for some time.”
Kauffman’s funeral services have been scheduled for her family and friends at 11 a.m. Monday at Beth El Synagogue in Margate. Interment will follow at Rodef Sholom Cemetery in Egg Harbor Township. In lieu of flower, contributions in April’s memory may be made to any veterans organization or to the American Red Cross.
At 3 p.m. Monday, WIBG 1020 will rebroadcast Kauffman’s last full two-hour broadcast on the King Arthur Show, which originally aired May 9, according to WIBG’s King Arthur Gropper.
Meanwhile, area veterans — for whom Kauffman spent much of her time advocating — are working on ways to honor their friend.
A sign reads “RIP April Kauffman” outside the Somers Point VFW, where officials said a memorial service is being planned in her honor for May 25.
Staff writer Joel Landau contributed to this story.
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