Poison Specialist Allegedly Killed Wife With Poison

Pharmacist Betty Bowman, 32, died in August
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2023 3:57 PM CDT
Poison Specialist Allegedly Poisoned Pharmacist Wife
This booking photo provided by the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center in Rochester, Minn. shows Connor Bowman on Oct. 20, 2023.   (Olmsted County Sheriff's Office via AP)

A poison specialist and former medical resident at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is charged with fatally poisoning his wife, a 32-year-old pharmacist who died days after she went to a hospital on Aug. 16 with stomach distress. Authorities say Connor Bowman, 30, tried to stop the autopsy on his wife, Betty Bowman, arguing she should be cremated immediately and claiming she had a rare illness called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis; hospital tests came back inconclusive for HLH. The medical examiner's office halted the order for cremation, citing suspicious circumstances, according to a criminal complaint, and an autopsy showed Betty Bowman died from toxic effects of colchicine, a medicine used to treat gout.

Medical records indicate she was not diagnosed with gout and had not been prescribed the medicine, the complaint states, adding that Connor Bowman had been researching the drug prior to his wife's death. Six days before she was hospitalized, he had also converted his wife's weight to kilograms and multiplied that by 0.8—with 0.8 mg/kg considered to be the lethal dosage rate for colchicine, according to the complaint. Connor Bowman was arrested Friday and charged Monday with second-degree murder. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 1, reports the AP.

The Minnesota Department of Health found colchicine in Betty Bowman's blood and urine samples that were taken at the hospital, and the medical examiner determined the cause of death to be toxic effects of colchicine, the complaint says. The night before Betty Bowman went to the hospital, she told a man—identified as SS in the complaint—that she was drinking at home with Connor Bowman. The next morning, she told SS she was sick, possibly from a drink that was mixed into a large smoothie. Connor Bowman was a poison specialist and answered calls about poisons, using devices from the University of Kansas for his work, according to the complaint.

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A woman from the University of Kansas told investigators that Connor Bowman had been researching colchicine, though he had not received any calls about colchicine, nor had any other employees. Investigators found that Connor Bowman had searched "internet browsing history: can it be used in court?" and "delete amazon data police" on Aug. 5. He did calculations that match the lethal dosage rate for colchicine on Aug. 10. One woman told investigators that the Bowmans had been talking about divorce, and another told authorities that Connor Bowman said he was going to get $500,000 in life insurance from his wife's death, the complaint says. Authorities found a receipt for a $450,000 bank deposit inside his home.

(More poisoning stories.)

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