April 22, 2009— -- Stacey Castor wanted people to believe that she was simply an unlucky wife after her first husband died of an apparent heart attack in 2000 and her second of an apparent suicide in 2005 by poisoning himself with anti-freeze.
But sympathy for Stacey Castor turned to suspicion after the exhumation of her first husband Michael Wallace's body proved that, like David Castor, he too died of anti-freeze poisoning. And in a bizarre twist, Castor eventually also became a suspect in the attempted murder of her own 20-year-old daughter, Ashley Wallace.
"She was my best friend," Ashley Wallace told ABC News' David Muir in an exclusive interview. "She was, and then she took that all away. I would've done anything for her. But she tried to kill me instead."
Soon after the September 2007 discovery that both of Stacey Castor's husbands had been poisoned, detectives Dominick Spinelli and Valerie Brogan of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department paid a surprise visit to Stacey's residence in the small town of Clay, N.Y., outside Syracuse.
She was taken to police headquarters and questioned about the deaths of her husbands, adamantly defending herself with her version of events and insisting that on the day David Castor allegedly committed suicide, she repeatedly called their home to check on him. But when Spinelli told Stacey that phone records showed she had in fact called only once, the three-hour interrogation abruptly came to an end.
"She was getting anxious, and she shut down and said, 'That's it. I'm done. I want an attorney,'" Brogan recalled.
At that point, detectives believed that Stacey Castor, now 41, panicked and searched for an escape.
Ashley Wallace, Stacey's older daughter from her first marriage to Michael Wallace, said she was outraged and shocked to learn that her mother and best friend was a murder suspect, and said she even told her mother something that would later come back to haunt her.
"I wish that I had done this so they would take the focus off you and it would put the focus on me," she recalled saying.
As detectives listened to Stacey's wiretapped phone calls in the days following her interrogation, two detectives showed up on Ashley's first day of college in September 2007 to tell her that police had exhumed her father's body and discovered that he had not died of a heart attack -- he had been murdered.
"I started crying," she recalled. "I got upset. Why would they dig up Daddy? He was resting peacefully. I thought it was inhumane, and I didn't like it whatsoever."
911 Call, Suicide Note Complicate Case
Hysterical, Ashley called her mother to tell her that detectives had come to her school. When Stacey picked up Ashley at school, she made an unusual proposal.
Ashley said her mother suggested, "Oh, we've had a hard week, let's just drink."
For a 20-year-old girl, it seemed like an irresistible idea. "What kind of teenager wouldn't think that was awesome," she said. "Your parents just gave you permission to drink. Sweet. So I drank with her."
Stacey bought a six-pack of Watermelon Smirnoff Ice, and handed her daughter one in a glass. Ashley drank it and then proceeded to drink straight from the bottles, but she soon became violently ill. She said her mother then gave her a pill to sleep off the alcohol, and she went to bed.
Then next morning Ashley went to school. But when she came home, she said that her mother was waiting with another offer of alcohol.
Stacey handed Ashley a cup with vodka, Sprite and orange juice mixed together. Ashley said the drink tasted bitter and awful, but she drank it anyway. After Stacey and Ashley finished drinking, Ashleywent to sleep.
The next morning, Stacey's younger daughter, Bree Wallace, was concerned her sister had not come out of her room and went to check on her.
"Her mouth was open and her eyes were wide open and they were all glassy," Bree Wallace, 17, recalled. "I tried to call her name and she didn't answer me. I screamed for my mom and she came flying."
For the third time in eight years, Stacey Castor called 911.
"I need an ambulance," she said on the 911 call. "My daughter, I believe, had taken some pills. Ashley? She's having trouble I think. Ashley? Ashley? Oh my God, oh my God."