Friends of slain radio host April Kauffman have rallied to purchase her possessions from an estate auction scheduled for today.
Kauffman, 47, was found dead in the bedroom of her Linwood home May 10, 2012, by the man who took care of her birds. The shooting death in an otherwise quiet community garnered national attention, but no arrests have been made.
Items from Kauffman’s estate will be auctioned Sunday by Babington Auction Inc., at the South Jersey Auction in Logan Township, Gloucester County.
The Kauffmans’ five-bedroom, five-bath house on Woodstock Drive is also for sale, listed through Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors for $999,999. In 2012, the property was assessed at nearly $500,000.
Lee Darby, a close friend of Kauffman, said a group of about a dozen friends have pooled their resources to buy back some of the auctioned items for Kauffman’s 30-year-old daughter, Kim Pack.
“People started calling, giving a few hundred here and a few hundred there,” she said. “Now that little war chest is building up.”
James Kauffman, April’s husband and an Egg Harbor Township endocrinologist, declined to comment Saturday.
Darby said the group’s goal is to buy back items that April had told friends she wanted Pack to inherit.
Many of the items have sentimental value only to Pack: a witch’s hat April wore to Disney World, a Victorian-style hat she wore to her daughter’s baby shower, coffee mugs the mother and daughter used for their regular tea dates and the Lenox china that was a wedding present from April’s first marriage, to Pack’s father.
“I just have to do everything I can to try to get these things back that I know April wanted Kim to have,” Darby said.
While Pack did receive a few of her mother’s possessions, many more ended up on the auction block. April Kauffman told Darby she had written a list of such items, but Darby said no list surfaced in probate.
“April would always say, ‘I want her to have this or that when I die,’” Darby said. “I used to think, ‘April, do you think you’re going to die? Why do you keep saying that?’”
Because the auction also is being conducted online, possibly attracting buyers worldwide, the group is focusing primarily on items with less monetary value. Darby said they currently have about $1,500 collectively.
“That’s the best way, I guess, to get something,” she said. “I don’t think anyone’s going to fight us over the hats or the coffee mugs.”
Darby said the group is also working to raise a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest of April’s killer.
“We thought there’d be an arrest long, long before this,” she said. “Now, we have to rattle the trees and see what falls out — if money sparks someone to talk.”
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has largely been silent about the case following then-Prosecutor Ted Housel’s statements within a week of the killing that there was no further danger to Linwood residents and that he believed the investigation would ultimately prove “successful.”
Spokeswoman Haleigh Walz said the Prosecutor’s Office is still actively investigating the case, but could not comment further.
Contact Wallace McKelvey:
Follow @wjmckelvey on Twitter