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Husband pushing to identify wife's killer

SUGAR HILL - A prominent developer who found his wife brutally murdered inside their upscale Lawrenceville home earlier this month says that despite Gwinnett investigators currently following leads in two states, he is baffled as to who could have murdered his mate of 20 years.

"God knows," Harold "Hal" Wenal said at a press briefing outside his business Tuesday afternoon. "We wish we knew."

Wenal, 72, said he discovered the body of wife Eva Kay Wenal, 60, in "pools of blood" inside their Lawrenceville residence shortly after 6:45 p.m. May 1. He said he last saw his wife at his office around midday, a meeting in which she kissed him goodbye and said "I'll see you tonight for dinner."

The shock of that day's events, he said, is so devastating he has been unable to live in the home.

"I'm having a very hard time," said Wenal, who owns Sugar Hill-based Flexxon Operating Ltd., a shopping center developer. "It's the hardest thing I've ever faced."

Authorities are trying to determine a motive behind Eva Wenal's May 1 slaying, in which she was found lying face down in her own blood. Harold Wenal said his family has no enemies and speculated his wife might have answered the front door, enabling the suspect - a "drifter," he surmised - to enter the residence. A forensic investigator has declined to say exactly how the woman was killed.

Wenal described his wife as a "very outgoing" woman with a warm personality who he knew for almost 30 years. A company representative said she worked for Flexxon Operating Ltd. in the company's leasing sector. The company is responsible for shopping centers such as the Village Shoppes of Sugarloaf and the Village Shoppes of Flowery Branch.

"She was my life," he said.

Harold Wenal's discovery of his wife's bloodied body appears to be frantic, according to accounts.

Upon finding the body of his wife in their home - located in the 1900 block of Sugar Lake Court in Lawrenceville - Harold Wenal ran to a neighbor's house, and the neighbor called 911, authorities said. When police arrived, Harold Wenal lay beside his wife and desperately pleaded for emergency personnel to help her, according to a police report.

Tuesday's press conference came a week after Wenal announced a $100,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of his wife's killer, which has authorities following possible leads in two undisclosed states, he said. Wenal said he has sat through "endless hours" of interviews with investigators. A police spokeswoman said Wenal is cooperating with the investigation.

Investigators ask anyone with information about the incident to call the Gwinnett police homicide unit at 770-513-5300 between 8 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. After hours and on weekends, call 770-513-5390.