🔴 The shooting death of Sayreville councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour is unsolved

🔴 Ugly letters and emails drive Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick from office

🔴 Victim's husband has faith in the U.S. justice system

SAYREVILLE — The borough's Democratic mayor says she will not seek re-election, citing fears for her safety after the unsolved killing of a Republican councilwoman this year.

Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was shot multiple times as she sat in the front seat of her SUV on Feb. 1 in her Sayreville neighborhood. No arrests have been made and authorities have not said whether they have identified any potential suspects.

The uncertainty and ugliness of the killing led Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick to end her political career.

Kilpatrick, who said she was a close friend of Dwumfour, said at the April 10 Township Council meeting that letters, emails and social media postings have stoked fears about her family's safety.

"You have a woman that was seated right there to our left that is murdered, gone, in cold blood shot, killed and we don't know why yet," Kilpatrick said, adding that she has received numerous emails and letters "bordering on threatening."

"I've received some of the most vicious, nastiest language that I have ever even could consider being spewed out of a human being," Kilpatrick said. "They've been sent to me privately, they were posted on social media publicly referencing how fat I am, how disgusting I am and all kinds of things."

SUV that was shot being removed from Samuel Circle in Sayreville, Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour
SUV that was shot being removed from Samuel Circle in Sayreville (Charles Kratovil), Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour (Borough of Sayreville)

Ugliness from the public

Even though Dwumfour appeared to have had a cordial relationship with her colleagues during her time in politics, the mayor says the vitriol has worsened since Dwumfour's memorial. One letter received at the township clerk's office was so "heinous" it had to be turned over to police to be forensically processed to find its origin.

"I never saw the letter. I had it read to me and I feel horrible for the chief to have to read," Kilpatrick said. "I'm pretty tough cookie but when something like that comes at you as a mother you step back and pause."

“I couldn’t believe it was a decade since I served as council person. I put my heart and soul into every decision that I had to make. Countless hours of my life that I lost ... I missed important milestones in my kids’ lives because I felt this was important," Kilpatrick said.

The mayor said she always had a family meeting when it came time to decide on running for re-election and this time they asked her not to run.

“I love my family more than anything in the world,” Kilpatrick said. “And sometimes a good leader knows when it’s time to step down.”

Eze Kings, Eunice Dwumfour
Eunice Dwumfour with her husband, Ezechukwu Peter Akwue (Eze Kings)

'Enormous faith' in the U.S. justice system tested

Dwumfour's husband, Ezechukwu Peter Akwue, believes that those responsible for his wife's death will be brought to justice. But that belief is being tested by the lack of information from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, according to former longtime state legislator and attorney for the Dwumfour family John Wisniewski.

"His admiration for that justice system that he has developed across the ocean is being tested by his real-world interaction with it. In the past, his appreciation for it was theoretical. It's what he would read or what he would hear. He'd never had to deal with it firsthand," Wisniewski said.

The family had a meeting with Ciccione in March arranged by Wisniewski but there has been little communication since.

"Being close family members they have absolutely no idea what the Middlesex County prosecutor's office is doing. They are frustrated at the sparse communication. They certainly now, after that initial meeting, have checked in on a regular basis. But the check-in is basically 'we can't tell you anything,'" Wisniewski told New Jersey 101.5.

Ciccione at the beginning of the investigation declined to hold a media briefing as to protect the family and has released very little detail. Wisniewski said he has not personally been involved in a case where the prosecutor didn't make public or private statements.

"We have 21 counties and we have twenty-one different prosecutors and literally 21 different styles of administering those offices. They are, in a sense, sovereign unto themselves. Only the attorney general can tell them what to do and what not to do. And so in this particular case, they assure the family that they are working, in their words, around the clock on this. But that still doesn't provide the solace that the family is looking for."

Police search inside a drainage grate near the home of Sayreville councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour in the Parlin area of Sayreville 2/2/23
Police search inside a drainage grate near the home of Sayreville councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour in the Parlin area of Sayreville 2/2/23 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Finding the killer of his "princess"

Akwue told News 12 that he was in Nigeria when his wife was fatally shot on Feb. 1. He has been in New Jersey for several weeks in the hope that the killer of his "princess" will be found.

"All your hope, all your effort, everything is in that," Akwue told.

He told News 12 that it was love at first sight for the couple and he proposed on their first meeting. Akwue promised in writing that he would join his wife in the United States a year after they were married.

They are both members of the Pentecostal international megachurch. Dwonfour attended the Champions Royal Assembly in Newark.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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