Woman Starts Slowly Poisoning Husband Just Months After Their 'Happy' Wedding

Why did Joann Curley want her husband dead?

By Aly Vander Hayden

For Oxygen's latest episode of "A Wedding and A Murder," producers revisited the tragic and puzzling murder of Robert Curley. The 32-year-old electrician was working at a Wilkes University lab in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at the time of his death, and detectives initially believed he had died from an accidental exposure to thallium, a toxic compound often found in rat poisoning that was later discovered within the lab. 

But when the accidental death developed into a homicide investigation, detectives quickly began searching for the person who poisoned Curley. For years, they came up with dead-end leads, but they always suspected Curley's wife, Joann, had something to do with his murder.

After investigators excavated Curley's remains to do further forensic testing, they made a startling and case-breaking discovery. The tests of Curley's hair and tissue samples showed that he had been slowly poisoned for almost a year before his death.

"The surprise was in how long the poisoning had been going on based on the hair analysis," medical toxicologist Dr. J. Ward Donovan told "A Wedding and A Murder." "The duration of the poisoning, as I understood it, had been going on for months, dating back to almost when they were first married." 

The forensic testing also revealed that Curley was in the hospital being treated for poisoning on the day he received his final dose of thallium.

"There was only one person that was in contact with Bobby Curley during every exposure that he had. That was Joann," Pennsylvania state trooper Robert McBride told producers.

To learn more about the case and find out how they finally caught Joann Curley, watch "A Wedding and A Murder," which airs Sundays at 8/7c.

[Photo: Oxygen] 

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