The woman killed by her husband in what is being called a murder-suicide in their home near Mankato was on her town’s City Council at the time of her death.

Autopsies revealed that Charles A. Hernandez, 60, of Good Thunder, strangled his wife, Kimberly K. Hernandez, 48, before he killed himself by suffocation, the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday.

The Sheriff’s Office has yet to offer a possible motive for the deaths. The bodies were found Friday in a bedroom in their home in the 800 block of Chapel Street. A relative called authorities after discovering the couple.

Kimberly Hernandez joined the City Council on Dec. 31, 2012, for a four-year term serving the town of roughly 600, located 14 miles south of Mankato.

“She was a wonderful person,” said Becky Giese, whose husband joined the City Council at the same time as Kimberly Hernandez. Giese also said her sister graduated high school with Kimberly Hernandez.

Giese said she saw no trouble between the couple, who leave behind two daughters.

 

City Council member Sarah Karels said Kimberly Hernandez was a “positive force” to the council.

“I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that she is gone. She was a bright spot in our town,” Karels said. “We lost a pillar in our community.”

Kimberly Hernandez was a longtime employee of Scheels sporting goods in Mankato. Charles Hernandez moved to Good Thunder from California as an adult, after his mother had moved there, Giese said.

Neighbor Karen Erickson told the Mankato Free Press that she had known the couple for the 10 years she lived next to them.

“My grandkids liked them,” she told the newspaper Friday. “Kim walked her dog every day. And she was a real big part of the community.”

Residents told KEYC-TV in Mankato that the couple were good neighbors who helped a disabled person who lived nearby with lawn work. Along with the Sheriff’s Office, local police and the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension continue to investigate.