A Tennessee woman has been granted an emergency protective order against her doctor-husband of 14 years after tests showed a toxic substance was placed in her coffee, police said.
Liesa Hill filled the protective order Aug. 3 against her husband, 51-year-old Hal Hill, who is an infectious disease doctor.
In the order, Liesa Hill says she suffered from a mysterious illness “for several months,” and “In March of this year, I found my husband putting an unidentified substance in my morning coffee.”
“She wasn’t sure, she suspected in March, at which time she followed her instincts and called the police,” Liesa Hill’s attorney, Christina Mincy, said.
Investigators say they’re not sure who put the substance in the coffee. Hal Hill has not returned calls to his cellphone and his office had no comment
Liesa Hill says she lived in fear for five months at the couple’s Lookout Mountain, Tenn., home. Investigators secretly took samples of the coffee her husband delivered to her bedside every morning for tests. Last week, the lab results showed “extreme levels” of barium, a heavy metal that’s poisonous and causes flu-like symptoms.
“When we got the lab results back, no one was more surprised than Liesa, that her fear had been confirmed, and it was actually possible that her husband was trying to do her great harm,” Mincy said.
Police told Hill that her previous health issues are consistent with heavy-metal poisoning. No charges have been filed at this point, but Hal Hill is not allowed near their home, police said. The couple have two children.
“This is and will be a slow and methodical investigation,” Chief Randy Bowden of the Lookout Mountain Police Department said.
If this is a case of spousal poisoning, it wouldn’t be the first. In 2005, American Nancy Kissel was convicted in Hong Kong of spiking her husband’s milkshake with a cocktail of sleeping pills, and then killing him. Also in 2005, Stacey Castor, known as “The Black Widow,” murdered her second husband by poisoning him with antifreeze. Castor is serving 51 years to life in prison.