Thierry K. Nkusu was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Washington, D.C., bus driver Maria Veronica Mbunga.
After autopsy results revealed Monday that the pregnant 36-year-old school bus driver, originally from Angola, was stabbed seven times in the neck, chest and abdomen, Nkusu is now facing charges of first-degree premeditated murder.
The unborn child did not survive the April 27 attack.
Takoma Park Police immediately suspected Nkusu, who is from Congo and was described by authorities as Mbunga’s fiancé. Detectives stated that he’d previously told friends he did not want to care for the baby.
On the day of her murder, a neighbor reported hearing Mbunga yelling, “Leave me alone!” and crying from her Houston Avenue apartment just north of the D.C. border. A man’s voice could also be heard and both were said to have African accents.
In addition to having seven stab wounds, including a cut to her jugular vein and injuries to her lungs and small intestine, autopsy results showed Mbunga also had three knife wounds on the back of her hands, which indicated she was trying to defend herself against the attack.
Nkusu told detectives they had a good relationship and he often checked on her progress throughout the pregnancy.
“He stated they are both Christians and that they solve their problems with words,” detectives said.
Officers reported finding “blood throughout the apartment” when they arrived at the crime scene, where Nkusu said he was also attacked by an unknown masked man. Police said that story later fell apart.
Friends described Mbunga as “a beautiful person” with “a passion for her job and for the kids she drove.”
Nkusu was held without bond after a brief court hearing on Monday.
(Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc)