SHALIMAR — Barbara Wozniak, 65, literally had a skeleton in her closet.
She has been charged with second-degree murder after allegedly shooting her husband Alfred, 72, on November 10 and hiding his remains behind a makeshift brick wall in a closet at their home at 86 10th Avenue in Shalimar.
Wozniak claims she killed her husband in self-defense after he tried to choke her. Her children called 911 last Wednesday.
According to the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Office, “Investigators obtained a search warrant and found a fabricated brick wall inside a closet under a stairway. After removing the bricks and drywall, a large dark plastic type of tarp was observed, shaped in the consistency of an adult body. The material had been thoroughly duct-taped.”
According to the arrest report, officers noticed an odor inside the home “consistent with an odor of decay.”
Wozniak was charged late Friday with murder and tampering with evidence.
An autopsy conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Office reveals that Wozniak’s husband was shot in the left temple. His wrists, ankles and midsection were duct-taped before he was covered with a tarp. The autopsy also calls into question the woman’s account that she acted in self-defense given the trajectory of the bullet.
Debit card receipts showed that Wozniak had purchased $130 worth of supplies from a shop in Fort Walton Beach, including a large tarp, twenty pounds of repair mortar, bleach and duct tape.
Chief Assistant State Attorney Bill Bishop said his office was assisting the OCSO in the investigation to determine the veracity of the self-defense claim.
“We are going to continue the investigation and the question has become self-defense,” Bishop said. “We are going to be awaiting the forensic evidence, and that may take some time to develop.”
Neighbors were shocked by the events. Christine Gibbons, who lives close by said, “They seemed like normal people. Does anyone ever expect something like this to happen? It could happen anywhere, but it’s weird that it happened here.”