Wife charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to poison husband with antifreeze

The woman allegedly searched, "what liquids for cars can kill a human."

A New York woman has been indicted on an attempted murder charge for allegedly trying to poison her estranged husband with antifreeze on multiple occasions, according to prosecutors.

Renee Burke, 40, of Holbrook on Long Island, allegedly tried to kill her husband, Matthew Burke, at least three times by placing the chemical in multiple beverages to be consumed by her husband, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini announced in a press release Thursday, describing the case as "extremely troubling."

The couple did not live together, and Matthew Burke had full custody of their two children, while Renee Burke had visitation rights, ABC New York station WABC reported.

All three alleged attempts occurred in September, according to a criminal indictment filed in Suffolk County. On Sept. 6, Matthew Burke drank a glass of wine but discarded it when he noticed a "strange taste and smell," according to the prosecutor's office.

The next day, the couple's 4-year-old son told his babysitter that his mother had "put something in Daddy's drink," prosecutors said, according to WABC. Matthew Burke then took him and his 8-year-old daughter to the hospital for testing, and doctors found no injuries, WABC reported.

On Sept. 10, Matthew Burke began to drink a glass of Pepsi but also noticed that it tasted and smelled of chemicals, authorities said. He called police, who took the bottle as evidence and suggested he install surveillance cameras around his home.

Just two days later, the newly installed cameras captured Renee Burke allegedly pouring antifreeze into a wine bottle inside her husband's home, according to the release.

In the video, Renee Burke can allegedly be seen in Matthew Burke's kitchen holding two baby bottles filled with a pink liquid, according to WABC. She then, in the presence of the couple's daughter as their son waited in the car outside, allegedly poured the pink liquid into a wine bottle.

Later that night, when the couple had a routine appointment to exchange their children at a Suffolk County Police precinct, investigators showed the surveillance video to Renee Burke, who replied that she had gone into the home to retrieve an iPad and that she had poured the fruit juice into the wine to "water it down," Sini told reporters in a press conference Thursday.

Renee Burke was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary after that incident, authorities said.

Several beverage containers that were taken from Matthew Burke's home for testing had the presence of ethylene glycol, a compound found in antifreeze, and investigators found a bottle of pink antifreeze in Renee Burke's kitchen while executing a search warrant at her home, Sini said.

In addition, an analysis of Renee Burke's cell phone revealed she had allegedly searched terms such as "antifreeze with alcohol" and "what liquids for cars can kill a human," according to the release. Burke also allegedly researched whether antifreeze could kill a human, according to the release. Police also found searches regarding rat poison in her phone, Sini said.

Renee Burke is accused of attempting to "cause the death of Matthew Burke" and attempting to cause serious physical injury "by means of a dangerous instrument," according to court documents.

She is charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree burglary, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of second-degree criminal contempt, according to the press release. The criminal contempt charges stem from her allegedly violating an order of protection issued against her on Aug. 10, according to the complaint.

If convicted of the attempted murder charge, Burke faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

"The evidence in this case is strong, and we will prosecute this dangerous individual to the fullest extend of the law," Sini said.

Renee Burke pleaded not guilty to all charges during her arraignment hearing on Thursday, WABC reported. Bail was set at $200,000 cash or $400,000 bond and she will next appear in court on Feb. 7, according to the release.

ABC News could not immediately reach Burke for comment. It is unclear if she has retained an attorney.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.