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An Indiana technology consultant’s wife has been charged with murder months after he was found dead in a ditch with no obvious signs of a fatal injury.
Authorities now believe 50-year-old David Fouts was poisoned by mushrooms and then moved to the ditch, after a coroner found chunks of mushrooms in his stomach and investigators allegedly discovered a suspicious search history on his wife’s electronic devices, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Katrina Fouts, 54, now is facing charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, false informing and failure to report a corpse in the death of her husband, according to a statement from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
Family friend Terry Hopkins, 54, has also been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and failure to report a corpse in the case.
David Fouts’ body was discovered April 24 in a ditch in Noblesville, nearly three days after he was last seen alive, local station WXIN-TV reports.
He was found barefoot with duct tape residue on his wrists and ankles and had appeared to be moved to the location, according to an affidavit obtained by the paper. Fouts had superficial cuts on his left hand and three abrasions on his right foot, which may have been caused by being dragged, authorities said.
The body was discovered by a dog walker who was passing through the area.
Investigators were initially baffled by the mysterious death, which County Coroner John Chaflin described to The Indianapolis Star as a “real head-scratcher” but they were eventually able to piece together what they believe happened to the Salesforce technology consultant after allegedly discovering a trail of electronic search records and suspicious purchases.
During an autopsy, chunks of poisonous mushrooms were found in Fouts’ stomach that could produce death if they went untreated, Chaflin told the paper.
Hamilton County Pathologist Thomas Sozio identified the mushrooms as “Leucocybe connatum” and said they served as “the basis for the cause and manner of death.”
A spokesman for the county coroner’s office told Oxygen.com that an autopsy determined the official cause of death as “homicide by unspecified means.”
Investigators allege that Katrina Fouts had searched on her cell phone for information about a poisonous mushroom and inquiries about overdosing on medications. Authorities also believe it was suspicious that she had never reported her husband missing or tried to call him in the days after he vanished, according to court records.
Authorities also allege that Hopkins, a retired Richmond police officer, made a series of suspicious purchases at an area Harbor Freight after Fouts disappeared, including microfiber cleaning cloths, duct tape, six-inch diagonal cutters, box cutters, utility knives and cleaning gloves, according to the affidavit.
He also purchased a 6,400-pound lifting sling, 500-pound hydraulic lift, two blue tarps and white zip ties the day before David Fouts body was found, authorities said.
Prosecutors have said they also found DNA evidence on David Fouts’ shirt that linked him to Hopkins.
Hopkins had been a lifelong friend to Katrina Fouts—who called the father-figure “Pops.” He often referred to her as “MKFAM” which stands for "my kid from another mother."
Investigators brought Katrina Fouts in to be interviewed several times. After the first interview she looked up “Indiana homicide laws,” “how to pass lie detector test” and “crime of passion law in Indiana” on her cell phone, but authorities said she eventually confessed to the crime, according to the affidavit.
Both Katrina Fouts and Hopkins are being held at the Hamilton County Jail without bond, the paper reports.
Those who knew David Fouts described him as an avid cyclist who loved animals and had adopted four greyhounds.
His stepdaughter Carrie Lee Gentry told The Indianapolis Star after his body was discovered that shortly before he disappeared, Fouts had been planning to buy bicycles for two of her children and had wanted to put them together himself to make sure they were safe.
“He was always very attentive to my children,” she said, adding that he was “the best grandfather they could have.”
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