Father of Murdered Woman Says Husband Admitted to Previous Murder

PHOTO: Erin W. Willinger is shown in this Facebook photo.

The father of an American woman killed in India said she was in the process of dissolving her marriage, when she was allegedly killed by her estranged husband.

Erin Willinger, 30, was found stabbed to death on Thursday by the side of the road in Agra, India, the home of the Taj Mahal. Her husband, Bunty Sharma, was suspected of killing her, but killed himself the same day by exploding a can of cooking oil.

Willinger's father Andrew Willinger told ABC News that couple had not lived together for months after getting married last October.

According to Andrew Willinger, of Newtown, Mass., his daughter left the apartment she shared with Sharma after he allegedly admitted that he had been imprisoned for killing a friend years earlier after an argument.

"He tells her this story thinking that she would understand. She was appalled and she basically left within weeks of their wedding," Willinger said.

Local reports have stated that the couple separated due to other marital problems, including accusations that they both hid previous marriages from each other. According to these reports, the police said the couple had seen a counselor who convinced them to live together again.

Andrew Willinger said those reports were false and his daughter knew Sharma had a previous wife, who died of an illness and was the mother of his 6-year-old son.

While Andrew Willinger said his daughter did have a romantic relationship with Sharma when she first arrived in Agra last July, he said his daughter's decision to get married in October was influenced by her desire to be a part of the community and to be fully accepted.

"She gets the idea that getting married would both get to be part of the community and be part of the family," Willinger said. "It led to doing something official in court against my strong objection, but she just was determined."

Willinger said his daughter had told him that she had recently filed paperwork to dissolve the marriage. He said she had gone to a marriage counselor with Sharma because she believed she needed to do that to have the marriage dissolved.

"As far as she told me in conversation, that was required and she never intended for it to reconcile the marriage," he said. "She hoped there could be something amicable [between them.]"

Willinger said she was worried about Sharma's son and had met with her estranged husband to see his son periodically.

Willinger said his daughter felt safe in Agra, even though she had separated from Sharma because she was friends with a number of people in the community and that wanted to stay to finish her work there.

Erin Willinger had been working to promote a campaign called "Agra Sunder Hai" that would promote cleaning up pollution in the city. The day she was killed she held a press conference to talk about her campaign, according to the Times of India.

"I think the tragedy to me -- besides the personal one -- is that things were just really getting started," Willinger said, adding that she was getting financial support from other NGOs. "She started to see things were happening. She thought she was safe because she had friends in the community."

ABC News' Muhammad Lila contributed to this report.

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