A former Boston surgeon has allegedly admitted to strangling his wife in their home and then throwing her body into a nearby pond after he “realized he went too far.”
Ingolf Tuerk, 58, who goes by the name Harry, is facing murder charges in the death of his wife Kathleen McLean, 45, after authorities discovered McLean’s half-naked body, weighed down with rocks in a pond not far from the couple’s home.
Dover Police say Tuerk made the alleged confession in a hospital after authorities found him “unresponsive” Friday with cuts on his forehead, wrist, arms and legs in a Residence Inn in Dedham, according to a police report obtained by Boston.com.
Tuerk allegedly told police at the hospital on Saturday that he and McLean had been drinking together in their home Thursday night when the couple began to fight. Tuerk said McLean hit him with an object believed to be glass during the argument and he angrily retaliated, grabbing her by the neck.
“Harry stated that he reacted to that aggressive situation and choked Katie,” the report said. “Harry explained that Katie was fighting at first and he continued to choke her. Harry stated that Katie then passed out and her realized he went too far.”
Tuerk told police he “panicked” after realizing his wife had died and “needed to put her someplace” so he loaded her into his vehicle and drove to a nearby pond. Tuerk allegedly weighed the body down with rocks in the pockets of her pants and threw her into the pond.
A state police dive team later recovered McLean’s body. She was not wearing a shirt when she was pulled from the water and the rocks were still in her pants pockets, according to the report.
Her body was discovered “not far from her home” around 11 p.m. Saturday evening, according to the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office.
Shortly after Tuerk allegedly killed McClean around 4:30 a.m. on Friday, he texted a mutual friend of the couple and appeared to blame McLean.
“I am sorry brother but she is a vindictive devil, she played us all, I am really sorry brother, but she manipulated us all love you Harry,” he allegedly wrote.
McLean’s ex-husband called police to report her missing later that morning and told police she may be at a hotel room with her husband, MassLive reports.
Dedham police officers later went to the hotel room and gained entry from a manager after finding no answer at the door. Inside they found Tuerk unresponsive with cuts on his left wrist and forehead. There were also cuts to his arms and legs and a knife nearby.
Authorities brought him to an area hospital.
McLean’s death was a tragic end to a relationship allegedly marred by violence.
Just a few months before she died, McLean filed a Dover police report accusing Tuerk of physically abusing her in multiple incidents over the past several months, according to The Boston Globe
McLean—who provided Reiki services to clients through the Birch Tree Energy and Healing—told police that in December Tuerck had slammed her head into the couple’s headboard and tried to strangle her, using his other hand to cover her nose and mouth.
“McLean stated that she felt like ‘she had trouble breathing and thought she was going to die’ and ‘everything went black,’” the report said. “During the incident she screamed and one of her kids heard her.”
McLean also recounted an alleged incident in January where she said Tuerk picked her up and threw her to the ground so hard her shoes were knocked off after she returned home after getting a massage. He later told her he loved her.
McClean also told police Tuerk tracked her movements through her iPhone, The Boston Globe reports.
McLean filed for divorce just a few days after speaking with police and secured a restraining order against the former surgeon.
She had told police she “did not know what he would do” after she filed for divorce.
However, earlier this month it appeared she had a change of heart and asked the court to drop the restraining order.
“I feel safe and would like to bring my family back together with my husband,” she wrote in a May 2 affidavit obtained by the paper. “My goal is to salvage our family including reuniting my husband as father and stepfather to my children.”
The couple’s marriage allegedly began to take a violent turn after Tuerk, a once well-respected Boston-area surgeon, found himself in trouble with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
According to a statement from the attorney general’s office, Tuerk allegedly “caused his employer to inappropriately bill the state’s Medicaid Program (MassHealth) for portions of surgical procedures that never took place and office visits that [he] did not attend or supervise.”
The attorney’s office alleged that Tuerk instructed his residents and fellows to report an ultrasound probe had been used in procedures even if they had not been used in his surgeries. Tuerk has also accused of using medical billing codes that indicated he was present or supervising other medical professionals even if he wasn’t in the room.
He later agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve the allegations against him, the attorney general’s office said.
Tuerk was formally fired from his post at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in February.
Officials from the Steward Medical Group, which operates the hospital, told Boston.com in a statement that, at the time, the surgeon had not seen patients in more than a year.
Tuerk pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in a courtroom Monday, CBS News reports.
His attorney, Howard Cooper, stressed his client’s prior good deeds to the judge during the arraignment.
“Dr. Tuerk has long had a reputation as an extraordinary physician and surgeon,” he said. “The number of people he has helped and whose lives he has saved over the years include people from every background, every nationality, every religion and race.”
Tuerk is being held without bond.
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