WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Detectives with the Wilmington Police Department are still investigating the death of 58-year-old Kimberly Bland, who was found inside her apartment Thursday at Mill Creek.
Her longtime friend, co-worker, and roommate Andrew Boynton, 56, was arrested in Virginia Friday and charged with her murder.
Now those who knew and loved Bland are wondering why.
“I don’t know what his motive could have been. All she did was try to help him,” said Bland’s longtime friend Legare Simpson.
Simpson said she met Kim about 15 years ago. Bland was hired to clean Simpson’s home, but the two became fast friends.
“For anyone who actually knows Kim, when she cleaned houses it was as much about cleaning but more about friendship and chit-chatting," Simpson said. "A job that would have normally taken her an hour would take three because we’d talk and laugh and giggle.”
Simpson said she has known the man accused of killing her friend for about 15 years, too.
“I knew him very well, it was not unusual for him to be here and clean,” Simpson said.
Simpson knew something was wrong last Thursday when Bland did not show up to clean. Simpson said she typically would get started on cleaning, but was out that day and left a note for Bland and Boynton.
When she returned, no one had been to the home.
“She always came or called, would text me. I don’t know if she ever missed a day she was supposed to come. It was totally unlike her at all. I texted and called her, no response,” Simpson said.
Simpson was not the only one concerned. She said Bland was loved by many, and people quickly noticed something was off.
“Especially for someone that so many people knew. Her film life that she loved, that was her passion. She has so many people that are concerned and interested and worried, have been worried. She didn’t show up all week for her jobs, people started to notice. It was not like her. The fact that so many people loved her enough to try and track things down and find out what happened says a lot about her,” Simpson said.
She said Bland was always doing nice things for Boynton, and vice-versa.
According to Simpson, Bland was allowing Boynton to sleep on her couch at the time of her murder and, as part of his rent, he would help her clean.
“They bickered like brother and sister but I never in a million years thought this was the case,” Simpson said.
Simpson and Bland would celebrate one another’s birthdays and exchange Christmas gifts. She said they knew each other well and would spend a lot of time talking about everything going on in their lives.
“She was very loved. She was giggly and fun and bright and happy and bouncy. She was always excited about everything, she was tender-hearted and just a happy personality. She was a trusting person, obviously... a loving person. They brought me a cake for my birthday they had made covered in gold because I like gold. Just a sweet and thoughtful person,” Simpson said.
Simpson is now taking care of Bland’s dog, which was sent to animal control. She got permission from Bland’s family to pick it up and even took it to the vet for a checkup.
“I wanted to make sure he was OK. It’s what she would have done for me,” Simpson said.
Online records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety indicate that Boynton has a criminal history consisting of prior convictions embezzlement, hit and run, and DWI.
Boynton is currently jailed in Virginia and awaiting extradition back to North Carolina.
Wilmington Police said Tuesday they had apprehended a second person of interest in the case. That person has since been cleared.