Investigation Continues Into Jewel Gurkin's Murder

The investigation into a Martin County woman's murder is still ongoing.

Albert Gurkin is accused of killing his wife, Jewel, earlier this month.

Her body was found behind the couple's home three days after she
was reported missing.

The district attorney's office says it will not decide what punishment to
seek until the investigation is complete.

There are two punishment options for first-degree murder: the death
penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A district court judge has refused bond for suspected killer Albert Gurkin.

Attorneys for the Martin County man made the request during a bond hearing this morning in Williamston.

District attorney Seth Edwards told the judge that Gurkin is a flight risk because he has a lot of cash at his disposal. The D.A. also says Gurkin could be a danger to a family member who he may have admitted the crime to.

Gurkin's sister and son spoke on his behalf.

A Martin County woman will be buried Wednesday while authorities are still determining exactly what degree of murder to charge her husband.

Services for Jewel Gurkin will be at 3:00 p.m. at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church in Williamston. Her burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Meanwhile, Albert Gurkin will be in a district courtroom again Wednesday morning, this time for a bond hearing.

Stay with WITN News and for more on what happens in that court hearing.

A decision could be made soon whether to change the open murder count against Albert Gurkin.

Gurkin is accused of killing and then burying his wife last week behind their Martin County home.

District attorney Seth Edwards told WITN News that he's reviewing the autopsy results. Edwards says he will decide whether to update charges now against Gurkin or simply make that change when they take it to the grand jury in August.

That autopsy, performed yesterday in Greenville, showed Jewel Gurkin died of strangulation and the medical examiner estimates the woman was killed early Thursday morning.

Autopsy Results Released

An autopsy says a missing Martin County woman was strangled to death.

The medical examiner's office in Greenville says Jewel Gurkin died early Thursday morning.

Gurkin's husband, Albert, made his first court appearance Monday morning in Williamston. Last week deputies said Gurkin told them he last saw his wife Wednesday night when he went to bed.

Albert Gurkin went before a district court judge and is still charged with an open count of murder. The judge ordered him held with no bond.

Gurkin is accused of killing his wife Jewel last week.

Martin County authorities found the woman's body buried a half mile behind the Gurkin home on Saturday.

Sheriff Dan Gibbs says an autopsy should help them to determine what degree of murder to charge the husband with.

Gurkin's next court date is June 10th.

Body Found

Martin County Sheriff Dan Gibbs confirmed Saturday the body of Jewel Gurkin was found a half mile behind Gurkin's home.

Sheriff Gibbs says Gurkin's husband, Albert Gurkin, is not being cooperative.

"He wouldn't tell us anything," said Sheriff Gibbs. Albert Gurkin was taken into custody Friday.

Gurkin's first court appearance is expected Monday in Martin County district court.

The sheriff said he is not aware of any domestic disturbance calls made to the household.

No cause of death has been released.

Previous Story:

An official says searchers have found the body of Jewel Gurkin, who was reported missing Thursday in Martin County.

Her husband is charged with her murder.

Searchers have been combing the woods behind and around the Gurkin home on Godard Town Road outside Bear Grass since Thursday.

Officials say the body was found in an area behind the home.

Previous Story:

Martin County Sheriff Dan Gibbs says the husband of a missing woman is now charged with murder. They still are searching for the body of Jewel Gurkin.

Albert Gurkin became a suspect in the case early this morning after Gibbs says they received additional information in the case. The sheriff would not say what that new information was or elaborate further.

The husband was seen leaving the scene in the back seat of a sheriff's patrol car around 11:30 Friday morning.

Friday afternoon a highway patrol helicopter returned to the location, and reportedly flying over property owned by the suspect in both Martin and Beaufort counties.

The 59-year-old woman was last seen Wednesday night by her husband. He told deputies he noticed her missing when he got up for work the next morning.

Relatives tell WITN News that they've been told by deputies that Gurkin has confessed to strangling his wife to death.

Martin County Sheriff Dan Gibbs confirms the husband of a missing woman is a suspect in the case and has been taken into custody.

Gibbs said, as of 10:20 a.m. Friday, Jewel Gurkin had not been found.

Gibbs said lawmen are searching an area behind the Gurkin's home on Godard Town Road, near Bear Grass, that they focused on yesterday.

He also said they have not questioned Albert Gurkin yet because Gurkin has requested an attorney. Gibbs said Gurkin was taken into custody at 3:30 a.m.

The 59-year-old Martin County woman was last seen Wednesday night and failed to show up for work Thursday. Family members said she had a job babysitting. Previously, Gurkin was a substitute teacher for the Martin County school system.

Family members say Gurkin's pocketbook, cell phone, glasses, and car remained at the home.

Original Story

A helicopter crew was called out Thursday to search for a missing woman in Martin County.

The missing woman is Jewel Gurkin. Officials say she is 59, white, about five feet tall and weighs 120 pounds.

Martin County deputies say she was last seen wearing tan shorts and a red tank top.

Authorities say Gurkin was last seen by her husband before he went to bed around 8:00 o'clock Wednesday night and missed her as he got up early for work Thursday morning.

Gurkin, who has been babysitting every morning for the past six months, did not show up for work on Thursday. That family got concerned and called Gurkin's daughter, who then called authorities.

Family members say Gurkin's pocketbook, cell phone, glasses, and car remain at home. Her granddaughter, Heather Mobley, fears the worst. "I think that someone has taken her and killed her. I mean, that's what I think."

Gurkin's long-time friend, Robin Rawls, says the unknown scares her the most. "It's just real hard on friends and family right now not knowing where she's at or what's happened or what's going on."

Sheriff Gibbs says they're investigating all possible avenues to this missing persons case.

You are asked to call the Martin County Sheriff's Office if you have any information.