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Valley Center crime scene busy; husband still in critical condition

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at 10:43 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at 8:41 p.m.

As the investigation of a Valley Center double shooting entered its third day, the crime scene Monday reflected a full-fledged, ongoing investigation.

In bright sunshine, firefighters in wet suits used a pole to probe a spring-fed pond outside the yellow house where the shooting left bank vice president Melissa Bluml fatally wounded and her husband critically injured Friday night.

After darkness fell Monday night, it was difficult to tell if investigators remained at the house. But two sheriff’s vehicles blocked the entrance to the long driveway winding back to the home in a rural area between Oliver and Woodlawn along 109th Street North.

Earlier in the day, several fire trucks and sheriff’s vehicles were on the scene. A Salvation Army truck kept investigators refreshed, and someone had provided portable toilets.

The husband, whose name has not been released, remained in critical condition Monday at a local hospital, Sedgwick County sheriff’s Lt. David Mattingly said. The man’s condition has prevented investigators from communicating with him about what happened, Mattingly said.

Melissa Bluml, 53, was pronounced dead shortly after 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Investigators have determined that the wife’s death is a homicide and the husband is “a victim of an aggravated battery right now,” Mattingly said.

“We are working it as a homicide with unknown suspects,” he said, adding that there is no indication at this point that the public is in danger.

Melissa Bluml was vice president at Chisholm Trail State Bank in Park City, said bank president Mary Ann Berry.

The Blumls have one child who attends Valley Center High School and another who graduated from there, and the couple have been “strong supporters” of Valley Center schools, said superintendent Cory Gibson. On Sunday night, the football booster club, during a recognition program, had a moment of silence to observe “the tragedy that occurred here,” Gibson said. Counselors have been made available to students who might need support, he said.

A neighbor said the shooting has jolted her. “They’re great people. I’m sick about it,” she said, declining to be named because of privacy concerns.

She said the Blumls shared Christmas goodies with neighbors and took neighbors caroling in their hay-lined horse trailer.

The couple had lived in the house for a number of years. The house sits a couple hundred yards back in the 5900 block of East 109th Street North, paved with pea-sized gravel. Houses in the area sit hundreds of yards apart in a patchwork of fields lined by thick tree rows.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the shooting about 9:15 p.m. Friday. The initial call to the 911 system came at 9:13 p.m.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 316-660-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.

Contributing: Rick Plumlee and Mike Hutmacher of The Eagle

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com.

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