A retired Massachusetts schoolteacher was charged with murder last week after she was accused of poisoning her boyfriend’s coffee shakes with antifreeze.
Judy Church, 64, from Salisbury, appeared briefly in court on Friday, a day after she was arrested on suspicion of poisoning Leroy Fowler, 55, with ethylene glycol, WCVB reported.
Church called emergency services shortly after 8 p.m. Nov. 11 to report that Fowler was in “medical distress,” according to records obtained by NBC Boston. Explaining to dispatchers that her boyfriend “must have ingested something,” Church alleged that he was “taking the chamber apart and had a bloody nose.”
Fowler was transferred to three different hospitals for treatment, where doctors eventually determined his kidneys were failing due to antifreeze poisoning. The discovery prompted Fowler’s family to contact the police.
Fowler was pronounced dead on November 13. Investigators eventually discovered unidentified containers in surveillance footage around Church’s apartment.
Fowler’s stepson, Michael Hawkins, told investigators that Fowler “out of the blue” suggested that Church had poisoned him two weeks prior. Fowler reportedly said he “felt better” when he left Church’s house, but he still relied on her for most of his meals.
Fowler’s sister, Tammy Carbone, reported similar suspicions, telling police her brother claimed Church could contaminate the coffee shakes she frequently made for him.
Although Church’s motive remains unclear, Hawkins disclosed to authorities that Fowler was known to “‘go back and forth'” between Church and a second girlfriend.
Citing court documents, NBC Boston alleged Hawkins claimed to have heard Church say she “wanted to murder” the other girlfriend. Church also allegedly took out a life insurance policy on Fowler a year before his death.
A common ingredient in antifreeze, ethylene glycol can be ingested unknowingly due to its syrupy texture and sweet flavor. Although symptoms of antifreeze poisoning can appear anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion, even small amounts can be fatal.
In a brief statement to The Daily Beast, Fowler’s son, also known as Leroy, described his father as “a good guy”.
“Not perfect but he was a good guy,” he said, noting that Fowler was especially close to his 8-year-old grandson.
Church was denied bail on Friday. She is due back in court on January 23 for a probable cause hearing.
In a comment on Church’s Facebook page, Carbone expressed outrage at his brother’s plight.
“I can not wait to see [Church’s] face tomorrow when she can’t get out [of jail]the grieving sister wrote ahead of Church’s arraignment. “To think she thought she could get away with it.