The daughter of April Kauffman, a radio host killed inside her Atlantic County home in 2012, is claiming her step-father is responsible for the murder and should not get insurance money he’s been fighting to receive, despite the fact he's never been charged with the crime.
In a federal legal filing submitted on Thursday, Kimberly Pack charges that Dr. James Kauffman, her step-father and April’s husband, is “responsible for the intentional killing” of the 47-year-old. The allegation is the first time anyone has been openly accused of April Kauffman’s death.
“I’ve purposefully tried to avoid talking about what happened, but now after being brought into this lawsuit, I have no choice [but] to respond and fight for what I know is right,” Pack said at press conference following the filing. “I can no longer sit back and allow, what I perceive is an injustice to occur. I know that my mom would not want me to sit back any longer.”
April Kauffman was well-known down the Jersey Shore as a radio personality at WOND 1400 AM. She was found shot to death inside the bedroom of her Linwood, N.J. home on May 10, 2012. The homicide investigation is on-going, but more than a year and half later no one has been arrested or charged. Prosecutors have been tight-lipped about the case and have said they were not considering the murder to be random.
Pack says she is speaking out now after being brought in to a civil lawsuit filed by James Kauffman, who has been attempting to collect the $600,000 in life insurance taken out by his former wife. Both Pack and her step-father are beneficiaries.
"This is nonsense," said Ed Jacobs, attorney for Dr. Kauffman. "Dr. Kauffman has lost his wife in the unsolved homicide. He's cooperated fully with the Atlantic County Prosecutor Office's investigation. Ms. Pack has been interviewed multiple times, multiple times over the course of the investigation and my client has never been charged."
James Kauffman asked to collect the money, which was broken across two policies administered by Transamerica Life Insurance, about three months after his wife’s death. Transamerica refused to pay out the cash because it had not received a copy of the police report in the case. The husband then sued for the money in June 2013.
A counterclaim, filed by Transamerica, said the insurance company needed to review a copy of the police report in the homicide before determining whether to pay out the policies.
“Determination on the payment of death claim benefits could not be made without first determining that plaintiff [Dr. James Kauffman] had no involvement with the death of the insured,” the counterclaim, filed in September 2013, said. “Transamerica, therefore is unable to determine whether plaintiff may have been responsible for the intentional killing of April Kauffman.”
Transamerica also filed papers to bring Pack into the case, since she is also a beneficiary of the insurance policies. Her attorney, Patrick D’Arcy, said Pack did not ask to be part of the case.
As part of her counterclaim filing on Thursday, Pack claims her step-father should be barred from collecting the insurance money under New Jersey’s “Slayer Statute.” The law prevents a person from benefitting financially from their own wrongdoing.
Pack has asked a federal judge to deny James Kauffman’s case and direct the insurance money to her.
“This is a very serious matter and I, along with my attorneys…have given careful consideration into what is at stake,” she said.
D’Arcy said his firm has conducted an investigation into the case and has set up a toll-free hotline, 844-DJD-TIPS, to collect tips about the on-going murder investigation. They have also set up a Facebook page.
“In the meantime, we look forward to the day when Dr. Kauffman is put under oath and asked the questions that everyone has wanted asked for two years,” D’Arcy said. “We will not rest until justice is served.”
Jacobs said since Pack made the claims, it'll be her burden to prove them in court. He characterized today's actions as "a fairly routine dispute over insurance monies. . .What this is about is money. Plain and simple," Jacobs said.
A spokeswoman with the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office said they cannot comment on the allegations citing the current investigation, which she says is open and on-going. The office also would not comment as to whether prosecutors would be contacting Pack about her new public claims.