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67 years of marriage ends in mystery
Husband is charged in what police call 'domestic homicide';

John H. Bunz was 90 years old, a retired chemist technician for Niagara Mohawk who used a cane to get around.

His wife, Virginia, who was 89, needed a walker because of an injury from some years ago.

The couple, who had two children and two grandchildren, sold their Town of Tonawanda home and moved into the Amberleigh Retirement Community in Amherst about five years ago.

Sunday morning, just one month before the couple's 68th wedding anniversary, a family member checking in on the Bunzes made a gruesome discovery in their apartment.

Virginia Bunz was dead, and John Bunz had injured himself in a suicide attempt.

"It's a domestic homicide as far as we can tell," Assistant Amherst Police Chief Timothy M. Green told The Buffalo News on Tuesday, when asked if the two had made a suicide pact. "I'm not aware of any other motivation."

John Bunz now stands charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, a case that leaves police, family and Amberleigh officials trying to understand why this happened.

"It came as a shock, I tell you," said Frank Miosi, executive director of Amberleigh, an independent-living facility for seniors on Maple Road. "Nothing happens here."

John and Virginia Bunz celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in April 2007 with a party at the Country Club of Buffalo, according to a brief notice in The Buffalo News that included some biographical information.

County real estate records show that a John and Virginia Bunz sold their Parkhurst Boulevard home in December 2004.

The couple seemed to be in reasonably good health for their age, Miosi said, though Virginia Bunz was slowed by a previous hip injury.

"They seemed to get along all right," he said, adding that Amberleigh staff never responded to a fight or an argument that got out of hand.

A family member who regularly checked on the Bunzes called 911 from their apartment at 10:25 a.m. Sunday, Green said. He did not identify the family member.

John Bunz was still alive and was taken for treatment of his injuries to Erie County Medical Center, where he was arraigned Sunday night by Town Justice Geoffrey Klein.

Bunz was taken to the Erie County Holding Center sometime between Sunday night and Monday afternoon and is due back in Amherst Town Court on Thursday afternoon.

Amherst police are remaining tight-lipped about the cause of death of Virginia Bunz and about the nature of the wounds suffered by John Bunz.

Miosi told The News that neither of the Bunzes had been shot.

Two relatives of the couple declined to comment when reached Tuesday by The News.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com

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