Doctor Used 'Flower Delivery' as Code for Hit on Her Ex: Cops

Dr. Stephanie Russell of Kentucky is currently jailed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2022 2:15 AM CDT
Doctor Used 'Flower Delivery' as Code for Hit on Her Ex: Cops
Dr. Stephanie Russell   (Oldham County Jail)

A Kentucky pediatrician is accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband for $7,000. Authorities say Dr. Stephanie Russell, upset her ex had won custody of their kids, spoke to people who had connections to her medical practice about her idea, and one (who worked at the medical office at the time) played along, pretending to have found someone for Russell before later pretending that person had died—and ultimately quitting their job at Kidz Life Pediatrics to try to get away from Russell. Russell reached out to that person again, authorities say, and this time the person put her in touch with an undercover FBI agent posing as a hit man. Russell was arrested May 19 after allegedly going through with the first half of her planned payment, the Owensboro Times reports.

Russell, 52, accused her ex of abusing their children, and a police investigation into those claims was what first tipped authorities off to the alleged murder plot after a former nanny told them about it. But when they could find no evidence either of the child abuse or of the murder plot, both investigations were closed until a private investigator uncovered more evidence related to the alleged murder-for-hire scheme, authorities say. That's when the two witnesses were found. Authorities have text messages from Russell in which she repeatedly refers to a Christmas flower delivery as a euphemism for the plot, per authorities. She is currently jailed without bail. (More Kentucky stories.)

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