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Love gone sour: Indian rickshaw driver kills American wife, then self

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
updated 8:03 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The marriage soon soured
  • Report: Sharma accused Willinger of "talking to other men"
  • He died in a house explosion that he caused

(CNN) -- They met and fell head over heels at the Taj Mahal, that iconic monument to love.

She, an American tourist. He, an Indian rickshaw driver.

But theirs wasn't to be the kind of romance that Bollywood endings are made of.

Their marriage soon soured. And Bunty Sharma stabbed his wife, Erin Willinger, to death before blowing himself up in his home.

Willinger, 35, of Pennsylvania first visited the northern Indian city of Agra in September to see the Taj Mahal, the white marble mausoleum that a grief-stricken emperor had erected for his wife who died during childbirth.

There, Willinger met Sharma, a 32-year-old who made a living driving an autorickshaw, those three-wheeled green and yellow cabs.

They married in a local court, Agra's police chief Shalabh Mathur told CNN.

Police inspect the rickshaw of Bunty Sharma, after he killed his wife and blew himself up at home.
Police inspect the rickshaw of Bunty Sharma, after he killed his wife and blew himself up at home.

But their marriage soon headed into trouble and the couple started living separately over "differences" in their relationship, Mathur said.

"Both had allegations against each other," the police chief said, without elaborating.

But the Indian Express newspaper reported that Sharma accused his wife of smoking too much and "talking to other men."

The couple separated but were not legally divorced, Mathur said.

On February 20, Willinger met Sharma again -- but police weren't clear why.

Police said he drove her to a secluded spot in Agra and fatally stabbed her.

He then went home and killed himself by igniting a gas canister in his kitchen that caused his house to explode.

"We offer our condolences to her family and loved ones on their loss," said Lee McManis, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. " We are in contact with her family and are providing all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for the privacy of those affected, we decline further comment."

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