Minnesota doctor accused of fatally poisoning wife indicted on murder charges

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A grand jury in Minnesota has indicted a doctor accused of fatally poisoning his wife, and upgraded charges against him to first-degree murder, authorities said.

Dr. Connor Bowman, 30, was arrested in October and charged with second-degree murder linked to the death of his wife, Betty Bowman. She was 32 years old when she died Aug. 20, only four days after she was admitted to a hospital.

Investigators collected evidence that indicated Connor Bowman, who once worked for poison control, “may have given Betty Bowman a drug for an ailment she did not have,” Rochester police had said.

In mid-August, she was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of diarrhea and dehydration. Once hospitalized, she suffered cardiac issues, fluid in her lungs and organ failure, according to a criminal complaint filed against Connor Bowman.

After her death was flagged as suspicious, police learned the couple was having marital problems and that Connor Bowman told someone he would get a big life insurance payout because of his wife’s death.

A county grand jury indicted him Thursday on charges of first-degree murder, premeditated and with intent, according to a Friday statement from the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office. He’s also charged with an identical count of second-degree murder.

Betty Bowman.Courtesy Nancy Sponsel

An attorney listed as representing Bowman in court records was not immediately reached for comment Monday afternoon.

After his wife died, Bowman wanted to cremate her, but the medical examiner’s office halted the cremation and alerted Rochester police after it determined her death was suspicious, the complaint said.

Police spoke to a person who told investigators that the Bowmans were having marital problems and “were talking about a divorce following infidelity and a deteriorating relationship,” the criminal complaint said.

Investigators, according to the complaint, also learned that the man was in debt, so he and his wife kept separate bank accounts, and that Bowman told a tipster he was going to get a $500,000 life insurance payout because his wife died.

Police searched Bowman’s home and found a receipt for a $450,000 bank deposit, the complaint said.

A person from the University of Kansas who provided information to police told investigators that Bowman was once a poison specialist and answered calls about poisons, the complaint said.

The person told police Bowman was researching colchicine, a drug used to treat gout, according to the complaint.

Betty Bowman’s toxicology results showed colchicine was present in her blood and urine, which were taken when she was admitted to the hospital, according to the complaint. She did not have gout, nor was she given colchicine during her hospital stay leading up to her death, the complaint said.

The medical examiner determined Betty Bowman died of colchicine toxicity and ruled her death a homicide, according to the complaint.

Her mother and family told NBC News in a statement that she was a dedicated pharmacist who worked in the operating room pharmacy at the Mayo Clinic and was beloved by colleagues.

“She was always there, a reliable pillar of strength and a listening ear during times of joy and sorrow,” the statement read. “She showed us the true meaning of love-selfless, unconditional, and boundless.”

Connor Bowman remained at the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center on Monday, according to jail records. He faces a possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder, according to the county attorney.

He is slated to be arraigned Jan. 16, according to the attorney’s office statement.

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