INDEPENDENCE — For years, Hillary Lee Hunziker was locked in a battle with her ex-husband for custody of her son, according to prosecutors.
The battle came to an end before sunrise Monday when Hillary Hunziker allegedly stabbed her ex, 39-year-old Jason Allen Hunziker, to death at his rural Independence home and drove off with the 9-year-old with plans to flee the state, said Buchanan County Attorney Shawn Harden.
Now Hillary Hunziker, 32, is in the jail on a first-degree murder charge, which carries life in prison upon conviction.
And she is barred from contacting her son because of a no-contact order put in place during a brief Tuesday morning court hearing.
“There was a child of the defendant and victim’s present at the location where the murder occurred. … He witnessed the events that led to the victim’s death,” said Harden, who requested the restraining order. “We feel that he’s just as much a victim in this case as the individual that died.”
“She has already shown that she will take him and leave with him,” Harden said.
Hillary Hunziker bristled when her defense attorney declined to challenge the no-contact order.
District Court Judge Brad Harris imposed a $1 million bond in the case.
Harden said the case began with the couple’s divorce proceedings when Hillary Hunziker didn’t receive custody of the boy.
“It’s been several years, but since that time and throughout the years, she’s made several false allegations to law enforcement and to the Department of Human Services involving abuse perpetrated on the child by the victim, increasing in severity from initially being inadequate housing and food to physical abuse, sexual abuse, all of which the child himself denied. Those all have been unfounded,” Harden said.
Buchanan County sheriff’s deputies said the child was first to call 911 about 4:34 a.m. Monday, telling dispatchers, “My mom just stabbed my dad.” The ex-husband called next, and when deputies arrived at his home on Henley Avenue, he was found dead in the bedroom with large cuts on his left arm and calf.
Hillary Hunziker and the child were found covered in blood at an address in Robins, and she was detained. Court records allege she had planned the attack, buying a knife, wearing boots that would muffle footsteps and parking down the road from her ex-husband’s house.
She also had a plan to flee Iowa and had given instructions to her mother about what to do in the event something happened, Harden told the court during Tuesday’s hearing.
“After committing the crime, she telephoned her mother and told her mother that plan needed to be activated,” Harden said.