KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri woman and her daughter confessed to fatally poisoning two relatives with antifreeze and attempting to kill a third over a 14-month period, according to court documents.
Diane Staudte, 51, of Springfield, was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count of armed criminal action. Her daughter, Rachel Staudte, 22, was charged with the same counts Saturday.
Both women are jailed without bond. A spokeswoman for the Greene County prosecutor’s office didn’t immediately return an email Saturday from The Associated Press. It wasn’t clear if the women had attorneys.
Diane Staudte initially told law enforcement that her husband, Mark Staudte, 61, hadn’t been feeling well and suffered from seizures before his April 2012 death, the probable cause statement said. And she said her son, Shawn Staudte, 26, had been sick with flu-like symptoms before his death in September.
The medical examiner in Greene County at first ruled that the husband died of natural causes and the son as a result of prior medical issues. But an anonymous tip led authorities to re-examine the deaths earlier this month following the hospitalization of Diane Staudte’s daughter, 24-year-old Sarah Staudte, the statement said.
A detective wrote that a nurse told him that although Sarah Staudte’s condition was potentially fatal, Diane Staudte had visited only a couple times and not stayed long. The nurse described Diane Staudte’s actions as “inappropriate,” saying she joked and laughed with hospital personnel. The nurse also told the detective that Diane Staudte told her that she planned to go on an upcoming vacation to Florida regardless of her daughter’s status.
A doctor told the detective that Sarah Staudte’s condition was “very suspicious” and said he suspected the young woman had been poisoned.