Authorities believe that a Colorado dentist murdered his wife by lacing her pre-workout protein shakes with arsenic and cyanide so he could be with a woman he was having an affair with, according to court documents.
James Toliver Craig, 45, was arrested early Sunday and was booked into jail on first-degree murder charges, the Aurora Police Department said. His arrest comes four days after he drove his wife, Angela Craig, 43, to a local hospital because “she was complaining of severe headaches and dizziness.”
Police said that shortly after arriving at the hospital, Craig’s condition “deteriorated rapidly.” She was then placed on a ventilator in an intensive care unit but was “declared medically brain dead a short time later.”
An investigation by Aurora police detectives revealed that Craig was poisoned and police obtained a warrant early Sunday shortly after Craig was taken off of life support.
“When the suspicious details of this case came to light, our team of officers and homicide detectives tirelessly worked to uncover the truth behind the victim’s sudden illness and death,” said Aurora Police Division Chief Mark Hildebrand. “It was quickly discovered this was in fact a heinous, complex, and calculated murder.”
According to court records, James Craig is being represented by the public defender’s office, which does not comment on cases. He is set to appear in court Thursday.
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Arsenic and potassium cyanide
With doctors unable to figure out what was wrong with Angela Craig, police began investigating James Craig after his dental practice partner, Ryan Redfearn, told a nurse that James Craig had ordered potassium cyanide even though they did not need it for their work, according to an arrest warrant.
The warrant said investigators believe James Craig put arsenic in a protein shake he routinely made for his wife for their workouts on March 6. But after she survived the poisoning, James Craig ordered a rush shipment of potassium cyanide that he told the supplier was needed for a surgery.
Though James Craig had asked an office manager to not open the package of cyanide, another employee did, according to the warrant.
Amid the investigation, authorities intercepted a delivery of Oleandrin, which James Craig is also accused of ordering, the warrant said. Oleandrin is a poisonous substance found in the leaves of the oleander plant.
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An alleged affair, a previous drugging
Police believe James Craig was meeting with a woman, who was also a dentist and flew in for visits with him, according to the arrest affidavit. The document added the woman wrote James Craig an email two days before his wife was declared brain dead and expressed sympathy about what he was going through.
Redfearn told investigators James Craig had been having marriage problems, according to the arrest affidavit. James Craig told a social worker that his wife had been suicidal and depressed since he asked for a divorce in December, the affidavit said.
But according to the affidavit, neither of the couple’s children said anything about suicide attempts.
James Craig had also previously drugged his wife about five years ago with an unknown drug, Angela Craig’s sister, Toni Kofoed, told police.
Kofoed told police that she believes the incident five years ago was referenced by James Craig in a series of texts between the couple about Angela Craig’s symptoms after she was poisoned on March 6.
According to the arrest affidavit, James Craig wrote: “Given our history I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn’t drug you. I am super worried though.”
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Contributing: The Associated Press