The Trail Went Cold – Minisode 6 – Eva Kay Wenal

May 1, 2008. Lawrenceville, Georgia. Millionaire real estate developer Hal Wenal returns home to discover that his 60-year old wife, Eva Kay Wenal, has been murdered. The only lead is an eyewitness sighting of a suspicious man in the neighbourhood around the time of Kay’s death. A newspaper soon receives an angry anonymous letter from someone who confesses to killing Kay because she wouldn’t leave her husband. When Hal passes away two years later, his family goes through his belongings and finds photographs of a man who bears a striking resemblance to the murder suspect. However, no one associated with the Wenals has any idea who this guy is. This week’s minisode of “The Trail Went Cold” explores the unsolved murder of Eva Kay Wenal, who may have unknowingly had her killer’s photo stashed away in her home.

If you think you recognize the man in this composite sketch or any of these photographs, please contact the Gwinnett County Police tip line at (770) 513-5480.


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The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.

29 thoughts on “The Trail Went Cold – Minisode 6 – Eva Kay Wenal

  • Hey Robin – quick input (and great job as always)! No theory, however I believe it’s worth noting that the letter the supposed killer sent was made out of CUT OUT LETTERS FROM MAGAZINES. If that isn’t a sign of a maniac, I don’t know what is. I therefore honestly doubt she was having an affair, I think he was perhaps a friend or even just an acquaintance who turned out to be obsessed with her and she didn’t realize it until too late. She was also apparently a former model – I’m not sure if that helps any as well but perhaps long-term stalker problems?

    • Oh yes, I know it wasn’t uncommon for people to assemble those magazine cut-out letters in the days before computers were prevalent (see the Cindy James case), but it’s crazy to me that someone would still do that in 2008! Good point about Kay being a former model. I know she hadn’t modeled in decades, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone had an obsession with her for a very long time.

  • Do you know what the reason for cutting out magazine letters is? Would it be so nobody can recognize the handwriting? I guess that would make sense, but still that takes quite the devotion…

    Yeah I usually have a theory about the cases you cover, but this one is just so strange. Hopefully, like you said, because it’s more recent someone will recognize the pictures and the murderer can be found!

    • Yes, I always assumed this was done to avoid the risk of handwriting being recognized, which is why it’s so bizarre to do it in an era where you can just type up the note and print it out.

      • Many modern computer printers, particularly laser ones, leave hidden watermarks on printed materials, often in the form of tiny dots, which encode traceable information such as serial numbers and time stamps. The perpetrator may have been aware of this. Search printer tracking dots for more information.

    • That’s a good question. I was unable to uncover any info about whether or not they did that. It might be difficult to make a positive ID since the photos were discovered two years after the witness saw the suspect, so his face wouldn’t be fresh in her mind, and the photos are over 20 years old.

    • I think he just didn’t put two and two together. For all we know, he hadn’t seen this guy in 20 years and possibly didn’t even remember him. The police are still pretty certain Hal wasn’t involved.

  • I still think that although 20 plus years have passed, that this person in the pictures above could be identified, a good place to start would be in the towns they lived in before marriage and shortly thereafter, contacting and focusing on events and social gatherings that Eva attended, including her work places and finding and speaking with anyone that may have attended such gatherings. Has the family ever taken the time and or spent the money to hire a professional to do such an investigation? I know it would be a huge undertaking, probably several months, but I believe that the police would not have done such an exhausting job regarding this?

  • I believe 48 Hours on CBS is doing an episode this season on this case. I’m pretty sure in the full season promo they played back in early fall I saw Erin Moriarty holding a picture of the sketch while interviewing someone asking, “who is this guy?” Once I saw the sketch I quickly recognized it as Eva Kay Wenal’s case. I think the episode is going to be done as a “you help solve the crime” sort of thing…thought not certain.

  • I would be afraid to do a magazine cut out letter b/c it would be difficult not to leave dna behind. I wonder if it was tested and cross referenced with CODIS?

  • I’m a former CSI and have a thought on this. Has anyone considered the murderer could be a female? The wife or girlfriend of a man she may have had an affair with? The letter may have been designed to set investigators on a false path looking for a male suspect.

    • I just saw the “48 Hours” episode about this. Some interesting theories presented. I’d never thought about the idea that a woman sent that letter until they brought it up. This also appears to be the first time they’ve publicly released the full uncropped photo of the unidentified man in the tuxedo, as I had no idea Kay was actually sitting on his lap in the picture. Hopefully, someone who watches the show will identify him.

      • Yes, we were watching the episode and my first thought was a scorned female considering she apparently was involved in some affairs. Then they announced that possibility. Sometimes the obvious gets overlooked. My heart goes out to Kay’s sister. Such a brave, strong woman. I also wonder if they checked the cutlery set for a missing knife, swabbed any box cutters in the residence, and looked inside every garbage bag, inside and out. I also hope an alternate light source was used inside the home. It is amazing what can be revealed. Praying this case gets solved for the family’s piece of mind.

  • One more thought… as painstaking as a task this might be; look at the magazines published at the time the letter was sent including up to six months prior. Would the letters originate from a women’s magazine(s) or what a man would read?

  • The thoughts keep pouring in… the man in the sketch/photo; looks like he was into body building. Distribute the photo to the gyms in the area and also to any former managers who may have worked at the gym if they’re no longer working there. Did he golf? Same thought for any local golf courses.

  • Did Hal have kids? Has anyone “followed the money?” The lady was 60, I just don’t see this as a crime of passion. I see it as an “up-close and personal” murder. In the end, my money is on a relative or co-worker.

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