After a three-and-a-half month investigation into the June stabbing death of a Florida man, his wife has been arrested and charged with murder.
Police arrested Rachel Fidanian, 38, of Lakeland, Florida on Wednesday for the June 25 death of 40-year-old Bryant Fidanian, a murder Fidanian allegedly tried to pass off as an accident, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Rachel Fidanian called police at 9:30 a.m. the day of her husband’s death, claiming she accidentally stabbed him in their home. Bryant Fidanian died a short time later at the hospital, police say.
Originally she told the 911 operator she was holding her dog while doing dishes and then slipped and accidentally stabbed her husband, according to the Tampa Bay Times. In the same call, she also allegedly blamed the fact that she was slicing pizza with the knife while also holding her dog. She claimed she was making pizza for her and her husband that morning, while he lounged on the couch, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Fidanian's story continued to change, becoming more elaborate, as she talked to authorities, the paper reports. In one version, she said she saw her dog covered in feces and that he was continuing to pee and defecate after she picked him up, so she called her husband for help. As they were walking toward each other, she said she tripped on a rug while still also holding the knife. Authorities found no traces of urine or feces in the house, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Police weren’t buying the explanations.
“Throughout the investigation, Mrs. Fidanian gave several inconsistent statements about the events which resulted with her husband being stabbed in the shoulder,” police say. “Her account of the stabbing centered on her either tripping or slipping while holding her dog in one hand, and a filet knife in the other. Mrs. Fidanian attempted to demonstrate how she was holding her dog, for example, but she was unable to pick it up. Ultimately, detectives determined none of her explanations were plausible.”
An autopsy by the Medical Examiner's Office determined that four inches of the blade cut through the victim’s second rib bone and cut the pulmonary artery. His death was ruled a homicide.
"The suspect made a lot of excuses, but none of them made sense. Our detectives did a thorough investigation. In the end, they determined this was an intentional act of domestic violence. Incidentally, her arrest occurred during Domestic Violence Awareness Month," Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Rachel Fidanian has been charged with second-degree murder.
Paramedics noted a bruise on the wife’s eye at the time of her husband’s stabbing attack, according to the Tampa Bay TImes. In the past, police have responded to seven calls from the Fidanian home since September 2016. In one call, Bryant Fidanian was arrested for aggravated battery for allegedly breaking Rachel Fidanian’s arm, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Neighbors told the publication that the couple often had heated fights and that Rachel Fidanian once ran to one of their homes naked, claiming her husband threatened to kill her.
[Photo: Polk County Sheriff's Office]