In 2004, I was sitting next to John in our weekly staff meeting. I presented some of my work and he was rather complementary of it. He was a respected retiree who had come back to work as a consultant. The next day he was poisoned.
Even though he presented to the ER that night and claimed he had been poisoned and had purportedly implicated his girlfriend, Tamara—for more than sixteen months, the local Chesterfield police struggled to unravel the mystery surrounding his death. I think that the Keystone cops could have done a better job of detecting than these guys did.
I worked with John, but really only interacted with him in those staff meeting, which were real three-hour tours. I met Tamara only once at an office Christmas party. She was thin, blonde and a little wild. I later learned that she was also the owner-operator of Metro Pawn on the Rock Road. It was also alleged that her family was the same organized crime family that had been involved with a series of car bombs here in Saint Louis during the early eighties, but that’s only gossip.
John’s son kept pushing the police to do their job. I heard thirdhand that while at his father’s house, months after his death, a detective noticed a tall glass with dried residue in it. The detective asked John’s son, “Do you think that that was the glass that poisoned him?” Certainly not CSI—more Keystone. Eventually though, they put two-and-two together and issued a murder arrest warrant for her. She must have know that they were closing in, because when they went to her home to serve the warrant, they found her dead by her own hand.
Why did she do it? Police theorized that she killed him, because John wanted to breakup and was going cut her off financially. Arsenic was used as the poison, but instead of poisoning him gradually, the way it is usually done with this poison, she chose to do it all at once. Two more “health shakes” were later found in his fridge, in case the first one didn’t do the job. But why did she kill herself. Nothing up until then would have indicated that the police would have secured a conviction. They even opted to only charge her with murder in the second degree, because they couldn’t even convince themselves that she wanted to kill him and not just scare him, but how “scaring” John by nearly poisoning him would have had any desirable effect beats me. John’s son thought that she took her own life to protect her daughter, who was also living with John and could have had some involvement. I guess we’ll never know.
- This is a stock photo, using a model and has only visual relevance.