What to Know

  • Authorities are investigating the death of a 61-year-old Long Island woman whose body was found in bushes near a Turks and Caicos Club Med[hhmc]

  • Marie Kuhnla had been on the Caribbean island vacationing with colleagues, a report said; she was reported missing Oct. 15[hhmc]

  • Her body was found the next day; authorities have not released any information regarding a possible cause of death[hhmc]

Authorities in Turks and Caicos are investigating the death of a 61-year-old tourist from New York whose body was found in the bushes near a Club Med last week, according to island police and the dead woman's son.

The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force identified the woman as Marie Kuhnla; her son tells News 4 she was a Legal Aid attorney in Suffolk County.

Kuhnla's body was found near the Club Med resort Oct. 16, a day after she had been reported missing. The circumstances surrounding her disappearance weren't immediately clear. News 12 reports she had been vacationing with two co-workers when she vanished.

Police have not elaborated on how the Wantagh woman may have died, but said they have launched a "murder investigation."

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kuhnla's son, Rick, described her as "a loving, compassionate woman who I was lucky to have a mom." He said she went back to school later in life to earn her law degree and spent more than 15 years as a public defender.

"If she saw someone who needed help she would help them. She enjoyed reading, being at the beach, seeing new places, and dining out," Rick Kuhnla, who lives in California, told News 4. "She was a wonderful woman who brightened the day of everyone who knew her and many who didn't. She may be gone but the impact she had on the world and inspiration she provided most certainly is not."

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News 4 has reached out to Legal Aid for comment.

Club Med released a statement Tuesday confirming Kuhnla had been a guest at the resort, and said it could provide no further details due to privacy concerns and the nature of the ongoing investigation.

"The entire Club Med family is saddened by the death of this guest and sends its deepest condolences to the guest's friends and family," the statement said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477.

Jessy Edwards

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USA Today

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