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North Carolina Woman Who Claimed Husband Died By Suicide Now Charged With His Murder

Tributes poured in for Mishael "MJ" Auman, whose alleged suicide shocked the community where he worked as a beloved firefighter. Authorities now say his death was actually murder, and arrested his wife, Heather Hicks Auman, for the crime.

By Jax Miller
Firefighter Mishael "Mj" James Auman

A woman in North Carolina who claimed her husband died by suicide is now being charged with his murder.

Heather Hicks Auman, 37, was arrested Wednesday for the murder of her husband, Mishael James “MJ” Auman, 37, according to a statement from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the couple’s Seagrove home on Saturday after receiving 911 calls reporting “an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound.” Responders found Mishael Auman clinging to life at the Ridge Road address, according to the sheriff’s office. He was transported to a local hospital before succumbing to his injuries.

Local news outlets, including CBS Greensboro affiliate WFMY-TV, reported that both Heather Auman and a neighbor placed separate calls about the shooting.

“My husband shot himself. Hurry, he needs help,” Heather reportedly told dispatchers. “We were just fussing. He told me he couldn’t do it anymore and he pulled out his gun. He’s got a pulse but, he’s not responding whatsoever.”

The neighbor also claimed Mishael shot himself, claiming they needed an ambulance right away.

“Following an investigation by detectives and consultation with the District Attorney’s Office, a warrant for arrest was issued for Heather Hicks Auman, the victim’s wife, for murder,” the sheriff’s office stated.

A police handout of Heather Auman

Investigators did not yet reveal a motive in the death.

Tributes to Mishael Auman, a full-time employee of the city of Asheboro and a long-time firefighter for the county, began pouring in after his death. He also volunteered with the Seagrove Fire Department and, according to his obituary, worked with the Ulah Fire Department at the time of his passing.

Members of the Ramseur Fire Department released a statement mourning the loss of Auman, whom they cited as a “trailblazer" as one of the two of the first paid personnel with the department.

“We loved MJ and will miss him terribly. He was and will always be an important part of the Ramseur Fire Department,” they wrote. “We enjoyed when he came back to visit, and we still tell ‘MJ stories.’”

“MJ served the citizens of Seagrove for 21 years. This is a devastating blow to the fire service, in which MJ had very strong ties to, especially Randolph County,” the Seagrove Rural Volunteer Fire Department wrote on their Facebook page. “The thoughts, prayers, and condolences have not gone unnoticed. We are forever grateful for everyone who has reached out during this difficult time.”

Heather Hicks Auman was arrested at her Seagrove residence and charged with first-degree murder. She remains at the Randolph County Detention Center without bond and is expected to appear in district court on July 1.

Mishael Auman’s obituary states he leaves behind a son.