“Did they catch the bad guy that hurt Mimi?” Kim Pack’s 7-year-old son asked.
But 16 months after “Mimi” — better known as local radio host April Kauffman — was found dead in her Linwood bedroom, there has been no arrest in the case nor any suspects named.
Now, Pack is hoping “America’s Most Wanted” can help find her mother’s killer.
While no longer on television, the nationally known group has a website, amw.com, and is featuring Kauffman’s case.
The local veterans advocate was found shot to death May 10, 2012, by a man who helped take care of her beloved birds. Since then, speculation about who may have killed Kauffman, 47, and why has continued.
Instead of adding to rumors, Pack asked that people find out where the information is coming from and, if there seems to be value to it, to give it to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office or “America’s Most Wanted.”
“It’s difficult having to develop a thick skin in such a sensitive situation,” Pack said of the gossip. “This is our nightmare.”
Talk of a “botched investigation” by Linwood police and the Prosecutor’s Office not caring about the case are untrue, she said. Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said the case remains open and under active investigation.
“The prosecutor has told me, at the end of the day, no matter how long it takes, they’re going to get their guy,” Pack said. “I have to have faith they’re doing their job. We all have to believe in the power of good.”
She has seen the good.
When her stepfather, Dr. James Kauffman, auctioned off her mother’s belongings, a group of friends calling themselves “April’s Angels” collected money and bought back some of Pack’s treasured memories.
About $4,000 in donations was collected for the mission, including money from people Pack never met. All of them, were touched in some way by her mother’s work.
“I learned so much about my mom after her passing,” Pack said. “She didn’t brag about these things she did.”
Now, she feeds off the emotions people express when they tell of her mother’s work.
“I need those memories,” Pack said, unable to stop the tears.
She shares what she can with her sons — Carter, 7, and Colton, just 2½.
“Colt was only 1 when she died,” Pack said. “He was robbed.”
He was “robbed” of the woman who spared no expense as she entertained veterans and friends, hosting Thanksgiving dinners for military members. He was deprived of the woman who loved to take cruises with her family.
Their last trip together was to Disney World. Kauffman had gained some weight and insisted pictures not be taken. Now, Pack scours the photos for even a glimpse of anything of her mother, even just a hand. She wants the images around her.
Pack is careful when talking of her mother’s widower, who is selling the Linwood home the couple shared and has remarried.
“What I will say is, I am the only family member carrying the torch in finding out what happened in this case,” she said. “My life certainly isn’t moving on.”
Next year would have been Kauffman’s 50th birthday. Pack said she knows her mother would have had a big celebration, so they are considering a cruise in her honor, like the ones they loved to go on together when she was alive.
“Hopefully, by then, we’ll have something to celebrate,” her daughter said. “If we don’t, I don’t know what I’ll do.”
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