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Texas Woman Arrested For Husband's Death After 'Suspicious Illness'
Sarah Jean Hartsfield was indicted for the death of her husband, Joseph, after an unknown illness landed him in the ICU.
A grand jury indicted a Texas woman in the death of her husband, and police are releasing few details about the crime.
A grand jury on Friday indicted Sarah Jean Hartsfield, 48, in the murder of her husband, Joseph Hartsfield, 46, the Chambers County Sheriff's Office wrote in a press release.
According to police, they were called to the Baytown Houston Methodist Hospital — 25 miles east of downtown Houston — on Jan. 7 after an ambulance brought Joseph to their emergency room from his nearby home in Beach City. Police did not say what had aroused the suspicions of medical personnel.
Investigators said "inconsistencies" that developed in the course of their investigation "as well as other determining factors" made Joseph's illness "appear more suspicious in nature."
Joseph succumbed on Jan. 15 to the illness that sent him to the hospital, according to an online obituary promoted on his wife Sarah's Facebook page. The post indicates that she fought to have the original obituary "corrected"; a cached version of the earlier one listed that he died on Jan. 18 and omitted his alleged cause of death, which the newer one claims was "complications of an ischemic stroke."
The "corrected" obituary indicates the couple was married for less than a year before Joseph's death.
Other posts on Sarah's Facebook page made before her arrest repeatedly allude to "haters," alleged harassment and other conflicts in the wake of her husband's death.
Police have not even issued an official cause of death in Joseph's murder.
“This is an active case and only limited details can be released at this time," Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said in the department-issued statement. "I appreciate the hard work of the deputies and detectives who followed their instincts and identified the suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr. Hartfield’s death that could have been labeled as ‘death due to illness’ instead of murder."
Sarah is being held in lieu of a $5 million bond. Court records reviewed by Oxygen.com do not list her next court date and she does not yet have an attorney of record.