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Slaying suspect arrested at Kirtland Air Force Base

Kirtland Air Force Base (Joe Mabel/WikiCommons)

A man accused of killing his wife two years ago in Colorado was arrested last week at Kirtland Air Force Base.

Albuquerque police on June 16 arrested Dane Kallungi, 38, on a warrant charging him with an open count of murder in the March 2019 death of 28-year-old Jepsy Kallungi.

KAFB spokesman James Fisher said base security and Air Force law enforcement assisted in arresting Kallungi, who was then placed in Albuquerque police custody. Kallungi worked for one of Sandia National Laboratories’ subcontractors, according to a lab spokesman.

He is currently jailed at the Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting extradition.

Authorities say that while Kallungi has long denied having anything to do with his wife’s death he told an ex-wife, in a recorded phone call last March, that he strangled her during a fight.

Police say he then put her in the trunk, took his son to school, went to work and buried the body in Teller County, Colorado, the following night.

According to the fugitive complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:

Officers in Colorado Springs were dispatched April 4, 2019, to the Kallungi home in the 1900 block of La Salle to do a welfare check on Kallungi’s wife. A longtime friend of Jepsy Kallungi told police they hadn’t heard from her, she hadn’t been on social media and they believed she was injured or dead.

The friend said she had recently separated from Dane Kallungi, who detectives learned had been in the military and had access to weapons. Police say Kallungi was “nervous” and “unconcerned about his wife’s whereabouts” the first time they spoke.

Kallungi said his wife had gone to visit a friend and left him due to “marital problems.”

The friend Kallungi said his wife went to visit told police she hadn’t talked to Jepsy Kallungi in days and her husband had threatened to prevent her from getting citizenship to “control her behavior.”

The longtime friend told police the couple had argued a lot over Dane Kallungi’s “inappropriate” relationship with his ex-wife, the mother of his child, and he once left Jepsy Kallungi at home for a week without food or transportation to stay with his ex-wife.

The woman was entered into the missing persons database on April 4, the same day detectives searched Kallungi’s home and found ammunition, a pistol and a rifle.

Police called Dane Kallungi, who had broken his apartment lease and gone to California, and he told them his wife left him on March 20. Kallungi said she left after the two argued when he found messages from another man on her phone.

Detectives searched the phone records of Dane and Jepsy Kallungi and learned they both pinged around the same time in Cripple Creek, Colorado, on March 22. The ex-wife told police Dane Kallungi had gotten “spooked” after they searched his apartment and packed his stuff and left for his father’s home in California, telling her he was staying permanently.

Police were contacted by two men, a sergeant and a soldier in the Army, who said they had been having an affair with Jepsy Kallungi in the two years leading up to her disappearance. One of them said they had seen her last on March 20.

Detectives went to San Diego and searched the father’s home and questioned Kallungi, who repeated his previous stories. When challenged with cellphone location information, Kallungi “invoked his Fifth Amendment rights.”

Kallungi’s ex-wife met with detectives again and detailed multiple domestic violence incidents during their 15-year relationship. She said he had choked her several times, sometimes she would lose consciousness and once he picked her up by her throat and threw her “like a rag doll.”

The complaint drops off until March 23, 2021, when the ex-wife called police to say Kallungi was coming back to Colorado due to an “illness in the family” and asked her to lunch. She said, during lunch, Kallungi told her he had killed Jepsy Kallungi.

The ex-wife agreed to a recorded call with Kallungi and he said he attacked Jepsy Kallungi because he was trying to “literally stop the words from coming out of her mouth for a second.” He told the ex-wife it “looked like (Jepsy Kallungi) was suffering” and he “didn’t want to watch her suffer anymore.”

“And no matter how much I tell myself that I didn’t mean to, or she was doing this and she was doing that… it doesn’t matter, she still didn’t deserve it,” Kallungi is quoted as saying in the complaint.

Kallungi told his ex-wife he got lost on four different back roads and eventually dug a hole “as deep as I could” and buried his wife.

“I said goodbye to her before I put her in there and tried to apologize a million times,” Kallungi is quoted as saying in the complaint.


(c) 2021 the Albuquerque Journal

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