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I was told that a man I was a caregiver for was poisoned with

cyanide. This was in June...
I was told that a man I was a caregiver for was poisoned with cyanide. This was in June of last year. He didn't die from it, but is now terminal in hospice dying from something else. We severed ties shortly after the cyanide incident because he was using crack and alcohol and became angry and delirious.

Apparently he told the police that I poisoned him. I have not heard from the police at all.

Six months later now and I am being told by friends of his that he did indeed tell the police it was me and that the police are investigating. I was told I had motive since his will at the time left everything to me.

Should I expect the police to come to me for questioning? Is it possible that their investigation would take this long before they come to question me?

If questioned, what is the liklihood of them arresting me with no evidence? I DID NOT DO THIS. Would it be an attempted murder investigation or something else?
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Answered in 32 minutes by:
1/3/2010
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 28,064
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Good afternoonCustomer

I don't know what state of the US you are located in, but yes, a fact pattern like this could be a basis for an attempted murder charge. Every state has statutes of limitation which set a time limit for an arrest to be made and charges to be filed. After that a case couldn't be brought. In general, the more serious the charge, the longer the state would get to be able to prosecute. Here, the incident is only 6 months old, and as it's a felony charge would still be prosecutable in any state in the country.

If you tell me your state, I can tell you how long that a police investigation may pend. If the complainant reported the incident to the police and they didn't come after you right away, it is very likely that the complainant has credibility problems. If you are a home health care attendant and the police believed this man, the police would see you as a substantial risk to the community and I suspect you would have been arrested immediately.

I can't, of course, guarantee that they won't come after you. And it doesn't take much of anything at all to form the basis of an arrest. Police only need what they call "probable cause" in order to take someone into custody and turn the matter over to the state for prosecution. Probable cause is just a good faith belief that a crime may have been committed and that you may have something to do with it. They need quite a bit more to get a conviction, but not to get the ball rolling.

I would not expect them to just turn up at your door at this point and arrest you. If you are a suspect, they will likely reach out to contact you and ask you to come in to help them with their investigation. Do not even talk to them about the case. Find a reason to get off of the phone immediately and then retain a lawyer. Do what he tells you. He will probably either say not to go speak to them at all or he will call them on your behalf and if he thinks it's in your interest to talk to the police, he will show up with you.

Meanwhile, stop talking to anyone else about this case, including his friends. If you are indeed a suspect and if there's an ongoing investigation, anything you say can be reported and twisted. Particularly if you stand to inherit under his will, this issue may raise its head again, compliments of jealous individuals who are challenging the estate. Silence is the best policy. Your lawyer, once you have one, will keep the facts you provide confidential and only reveal what would be necessary to assist you.

In the meantime, as difficult as it may be to just move on with your normal life, try to do it anyway. No point waiting for a shoe to drop, as it may never happen.

._____

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.


Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 28,064
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

Thank you for your prompt reply. State of FL. I am not a licensed caregiver or student. Just a friend that took him to all doctors appts, paid his bills for him, etc. He has given me a substantial amount of gifts, including an expensive automobile. I don't believe I am on the will anymore, nor his power of attorney. Knowing his erratic behaviors in the past, he changes his will very frequently. All I do know is that I was indeed to be left everything in his will at the time the doctors discovered this poisoning.

 

He has also had another friend who he would use crack with on a regular basis. I understand she has now been appointed his legal primary care giver (I was). My best guess is that she is now the sole receipient on his will. Will she be a bigger suspect?

 

I have been led to believe that he hadn't told the police until a few weeks ago.

 

I actually met him through the AA fellowship (I have been sober 4+ years). People around those rooms are already talking about it. Do you advise that I not attend meetings in this area anymore?

The Florida statute of limitations would be three years on this offense. If your friend was using illicit drugs, chances are that there are a number of people who would be suspected for the cyanide poisoning, including, I would surmise, the seller of the illicit drugs and certainly, his current caregiver.

With a charge this serious, however, it would seem to me that if he reported the incident a few weeks ago and you have not already been contacted, the police are not prioritizing this matter. Push it aside as I suggested and don't concern yourself with it unless you are contacted by the police.

Still, you really should avoid discussing the matter -- just in case -- particularly with mutual acquaintances of yours and his. If you can say to your friends at the meeting that you don't wish to discuss it (or on advice of counsel you can't discuss it) and that would be the end of it, then as the group has been working well for you, continue there. But if they don't want to respect your silence on that matter, then attending meetings elsewhere would probably be easier on you.

._____

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

What do I tell family members? Nothing? They all know something is going on.

 

Will this investigation be "sped up" once he actually dies? Is cyanide found in street drugs?

Customer

If your family members ask what's going on, you can tell them that you've heard that the matter is being investigated but that you've received no contact. You just don't want to talk about anything at all related to the poisoning itself.

I can't say if the investigation will be sped up. You have said he's in a hospice dying of unrelated matters.

No, cyanide is not found in street drugs. But, there is no quality control or state or federal regulation of street drugs. Many addicts have died of bad stuff laced with matter that can kill them. Back in the early days of my practice there was a problem with a particular street brand of heroin which killed a lot of users. So I mentioned only because if he's a user of street drugs, that would muddy the investigation.

._____

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.
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