Her doctors, still stumped, now began suspect a more sinister explanation. They tested her blood for ethylene glycol, a toxin commonly found in antifreeze, which when ingested in high doses can cause the symptoms Julie Keown was suffering from.
By the time the test results came back positive, Julie's family had arrived at the hospital. But by then it was clear that Julie would not make it.
Faced with their daughter's imminent death, and left with a variety of unanswered questions, the Oldags made a surprising decision to secretly take a trip to the Waltham police department and report both the poisoning and their suspicions that James, their son-in-law, may be to blame.
Detective John Bailey remembered Julie's father saying, "I don't understand how this can happen. James and Julie were the only ones in the house that day, and I know she didn't do it, so that only leaves one person."
Just weeks after Julie's tragic death, Waltham police received a call from the Keowns' landlord in Waltham. James had apparently fled town and left thousands of dollars worth of property behind.
"He had abandoned everything -- big screen TV, brand new furniture... It's bizarre," said Bailey, who investigated the scene. Also among the items were photographs of the couple, Julie's wedding dress and wedding rings. It was surprising behavior for a supposedly grieving widower.
The police soon learned James had left Waltham and headed back to his hometown, Jefferson City, Mo., where he had gotten a new job as a radio talk show host for station KLIK. He alternated between telling his new friends and colleagues that his wife was either the victim of a "tragic illness" or that she had committed suicide. Either way, those around him at the time remarked that Keown seemed ready to start a new life.
Tony Messenger, a local journalist, met James around that time. Looking back, he said, "He had just started dating somebody and he seemed to be very interested in kind of settling down and maybe having kids."
Yet, some friends, such as Ted and Laila Willmore, who had been close with both James and Julie, were beginning to realize their friend wasn't quite who he seemed. Initially, they defended James.
"My worst fear," Laila remembered, "was that an innocent man was going to go the jail for something he didn't do." But as time passed the Willmores began to question their friend's innocence.
Then, during the height of the investigation, they had James over for dinner and asked him if he was worried about how things looked. Ted remembered James replying, "You know guys, I don't think I would be indicted for this, and if I were indicted, I wouldn't be convicted and it would be a circumstantial case."
Both Laila and Ted were struck by the fact that during that conversation their friend never once professed his innocence, instead just detailing why he wouldn't get caught for his wife's death.
While he was going about his daily life, the Waltham police department had been uncovering a series of secrets about James. They were in contact with the Oldags, who say the were beginning to believe their son-in-law very likely murdered their daughter.
After more than a year of investigating, Waltham police felt they had enough evidence to make an arrest. They traveled to Missouri and tracked down James while he was on the air at KLIK. During a commercial break they placed him under arrest.