Monday Mar 05 2012
Cameron Park murder victim's family seeks financial help for kids
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
Residents shocked; bail denied for suspect Todd Winkler
The Feb. 27 murder of Cameron Park’s Rachel Winkler, reportedly at the hands of her husband, has shocked the tight-knit airpark community, but was no surprise to the victim’s father. Don Hatfield, Rachel’s father, is caring for her three young children at his Napa home. He said in a recent phone interview that suspected murderer Todd Winkler was “evil,” and his daughter wanted out of the marriage. “He had anger management issues. It became obvious to me that he was scary,” Hatfield said. “It was not a surprise that he killed her.” Winkler’s body was found inside her airpark home. She had been stabbed to death, according to Hatfield. Rachel Winkler’s three small children were reportedly in the home at the time of the slaying. Hatfield, an artist, said early on in his painting career, his only daughter was his “little model.” “I embedded her in my artwork, never dreaming she’d be stripped from me at the hands of a murderous husband,” he said. Todd Winkler, 45, has been arrested and charged with her murder. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment last week and has retained El Dorado Hills attorney David Weiner. The suspect claims the killing was self defense, but the judge denied bail. According to Winkler, his wife was wielding a pair of scissors, stabbing him in the hands and thighs. He claims he wrestled the scissors away from her and stabbed her in the throat. He asked a neighbor to call 911 and waited for authorities to arrive, according to Weiner. News of Rachel’s death quickly spread in the small foothill community. “This has rocked us to the core,” said airpark resident and aerobatic airshow pilot Julie Clark. “Everyone is devastated by this.” Rachel Winkler was the airpark’s manager for the past few years. “She was a really great person — upbeat and wonderful,” Clark said. “As a community we are really going to miss her so much.” It was about 10:30 a.m. that El Dorado County deputies were called to the Winkler home in the 3100 block of Aeronca Way in the quiet airpark community. Shortly thereafter, Todd Winkler was escorted from the home and placed in a patrol car. Initially, Winkler was detained for questioning. He was later charged with his wife’s murder. Hatfield said there was lots of conflict in the marriage in which Todd controlled the finances. “He controlled the money and controlled … her,” he said. He explained that the only room in the 3,800-square-foot home that was complete was that of the children. “Rachel called the inside of the house a bio-hazard, things were strewn about,” he said. “She had to cook out of a microwave and use a tiny refrigerator.” Hatfield said there was a subzero refrigerator and stove, however, Todd had not completed installing them, opting to spend thousands an airplane parts and exotic trips. “The house was a parable of Todd. He managed the exterior image ... but inside it (and he) was full of twisted, crud,” Hatfield said. “The house itself was a projection of the way he was.” According to officials, the couple had been experiencing marital problems and a domestic dispute erupted earlier the day of the killing. The day after the alleged murder, the front steps of the home where Rachel’s body was found was adorned baskets of flowers and balloons. “We’ve set up a memorial on her front porch,” Clark said. “We are really morning the loss of a wonderful gal.” Rachel Winkler leaves behind three children, two daughters — ages 4 and 2 — and a 9-month-old son.