ARGYLE, Wis. – A Wisconsin newlywed is accused of using her veterinarian husband’s euthanasia drugs to poison him in a months-long murder attempt.
Amanda Ruiz Chapin, 50, of Monroe, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, according to court records. She is accused of trial to kill her now-estranged husband, Gary Wayne Chapin, 70, of Argyle.
Gary Chapin’s son has obtained a restraining order on his father’s behalf, the records show. Chapin filed for divorce Sept. 2.
A criminal complaint obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal details what authorities say took place following the couple’s “stormy” courthouse marriage in March. Detectives allege that shortly after the wedding, Amanda Chapin forged the signature of one of her stepchildren on Gary Chapin’s power of attorney document.
She also demanded that her new husband amend the deed to his home, leaving it to her if something happened to him, the State Journal reported.
Within three weeks of that amendment, Amanda Chapin began poisoning her husband, authorities allege. According to Gary Chapin, he would feel sick after drinking coffee brewed by his wife.
After the first suspected poisoning, he felt like he was “underwater” and had symptoms mimicking those of vertigo, Gary Chapin told police.
Amanda Chapin told her husband his face was droopy and she suspected he’d had a stroke, the complaint states. When he looked in a mirror, however, he saw no signs of a stroke.
A couple of weeks later, in early August, Gary Chapin again experienced symptoms after drinking his coffee. The symptoms were not as severe the second time.
That changed Aug. 21 when he was again poisoned. Gary Chapin later told authorities that his last memory was of drinking his morning coffee.
Amanda Chapin called 911 around 12:30 p.m. that day, almost three hours after Gary Chapin recalled having coffee. He woke from a coma four days later at the Veterans Hospital in Madison.
Gary Chapin told police he suspected his wife left him outside, unconscious, for a while before calling for help, according to the complaint.
His son filed a request for a restraining order two days after Chapin became ill. The order, which was granted on Aug. 23, is good for the next 10 years, court records indicate.
Toxicology results in the first two alleged poisonings showed a medication in Gary Chapin’s system that he typically used for seizures in dogs, the State Journal reported. In the third incident, the lab also detected phenobarbital in the veterinarian’s system.
Gary Chapin told authorities he uses the barbiturate to euthanize animals.
According to police, Gary Chapin also told police he suspected his wife had used a mortar and pestle to grind the drugs to a powder before placing them in his coffee. When he got home from the hospital, the items were nowhere to be found.
Detectives reviewed computer records, which showed that Amanda Chapin had accessed her husband’s email account hours after he slipped into the coma Aug. 21. She allegedly forwarded to herself several emails between Gary Chapin, his children and his attorney, the complaint states.
Amanda Chapin is also accused of violating the restraining order Sept. 1 when she emailed her estranged husband a purported suicide note. In the email, she said she wanted to die because her husband’s children would “destroy” her for something she said she didn’t do.
“The only thing I am guilty of is loving you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH,” the note read, according to the State Journal.
Amanda Chapin survived the suicide attempt after being rushed to a hospital, the newspaper reported. Gary Chapin filed for divorce the next day.
If convicted of the attempted murder charge, Amanda Chapin faces up to 60 years in prison.
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