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Takoma Park apartment residents in the dark during murder investigation

TAKOMA PARK— Individuals who lived in or near an apartment building where a woman was murdered two weeks ago said they either knew nothing about the crime or that they learned the facts from local media. 

The killing of pregnant female resident Maria Veronica Mbunga, 36, in late April remained under Takoma Park police investigation as of Monday afternoon, and detectives on the case were not available to comment. 

According to court documents, police found Mbunga in apartment 405 with seven stab wounds after responding to a 2:00 p.m. call on April 27 that a man with stab wounds was in the apartment building lobby. The wounded man, who later identified himself as Mbunga’s fiancé Thierry Kinshala Nkusu,  told police that an unknown assailant attacked him and his fiancée. Mbunga had died of her injuries, and so had her unborn child. 

According to Takoma Park Police, Nkusu, 33, was transported to the hospital where it was determined that his knife wounds were superficial, which did not correlate with his statement of what he said had occurred. As a result of this evidence, Nkusu was charged with the first-degree murder of Mbunga, and authorities are holding him without bail, according to court documents.

The property manager of The Cambridge at 676 Houston Ave. on Monday declined to answer any questions about the crime or what happened because she did not want to interfere with the police investigation or lose her job. She also declined to give her name.

One resident said through the window of his parked car Monday that he knew nothing about the crime but said he was not allowed to re-enter his building until after 1:00 a.m., April 28 because police were investigating. He declined to give his name and said he knew neither of the two people involved in the crime that kept him outside his apartment for several hours.

A man who lives on the fourth floor told a reporter he did not want to share details about the crime because he did not have the facts. When asked Monday what had happened, he said he thought there had been a shooting. He said the manager of the building did not offer him any information about the incident.

“The management seemed to not want to talk about it,” the man said. 

The man said he didn’t want to give his name. “I’m also quiet (about the crime), too,” he said. 

He said he does not personally know anyone on his floor. He works overnight shifts, so by the time he approached the main entrance at 7:00 a.m., April 28, he had no trouble entering the building because the police had finished investigating the building by then and departed. 

Another fourth-floor resident who lives a couple of doors down from room 405 said he did not know what happened or who lives in the apartment closest to his. The man said he did not want to give his name. 

“I don’t know who lives there (apartment 405). I don’t know who lives (in apartment 400),” the man said. “I don’t know what happened,” he added. 

He said he does not make a point to communicate with anyone who lives in his building. 

“We don’t fraternize; we just live here,” he said about himself and his wife. 

The same fourth-floor resident then told a reporter he did not want say anything else and asked the reporter to leave the property. 

People who did not live in the building seemed to know more about the crime, as compared with residents who live just down the hall from the apartment where police reported the crime occurred. 

Felix Kordorwu, while in the middle of walking his dog Monday afternoon, said he passed the blocked entrance to the building during another dog walk in the neighborhood around 6:00 p.m., April 27. Kordorwu, who lives across the street on Houston Court, said police prevented residents from entering the building until 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. He added that the building was “taped off” with police lines due to the investigation. He said he saw about seven people who appeared to be residents standing outside the building.

Aprina Parks, another resident of Houston Court, said she knew about the stabbing but was not worried about future violent acts in her neighborhood because she feels protected. 

“I have my knife and my stun gun,” said Parks. “I’m OK.”

She said she saw police cars outside the apartment building down the street from her residence when she was walking home after 2:00 p.m., April 27. She was joined by Angel Sosa, one of her roommates. They said their roommates had been watching the news, and when Parks and Sosa walked through their apartment door, their roommates told them a crime had occurred in the Cambridge building down the street. 

Sosa said her roommates falsely informed her and Parks the crime was a robbery. This news concerned her, but when Sosa found out it wasn’t a robbery and that the suspect was in custody, she said she did not feel at risk.

@kathleenstubbs3

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