Police arrest woman accused of fatally poisoning her husband - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Police arrest woman accused of fatally poisoning her husband

Meshell Hale (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office) Meshell Hale (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) -

UPDATE

A woman wanted for allegedly fatally poisoning her husband has been arrested, according to Baton Rouge authorities.

The Baton Rouge Police Department said Meshell Hale, 50, was arrested Tuesday and faces a second-degree murder charge. 

New Orleans Police Department contacted Baton Rouge investigators in May about the death investigation.

Investigators believed that death was similar to the death of Damian Skipper that happened on June 30, 2015.

After toxicology reports returned, Skipper’s death was reclassified as a homicide from Barium poisoning.

The LSP Fugitive Task Force arrested Hale in the Baton Rouge area. 

Hale was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Her bond is set at $150,000.


ORIGINAL STORY

A woman from Slaughter is wanted for allegedly killing her husband by poisoning him.

Back in March of 2016, the New Orleans Police Department began investigating the death of Arthur Noflin. During the investigation, detectives determined Noflin was married to Meshell Hale, 50, who is wanted in connection with his death. NOPD detectives, along with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, interviewed Hale in regards to a missing person report she filed on Noflin on March 21, 2016.

It was learned that Noflin had been experiencing health issues and had been hospitalized. Further into the investigation, officials found that before Noflin's death, Hale had been married to Damian Skipper, who died on June 30, 2015 after being in and out of the hospital for about a week for abdominal pain. An autopsy was not performed on Skipper after his death. The hospital says he died from a heart attack.

After Skipper's death, Noflin also became sick in December of 2015, suffering from abdominal pain, hypokalemia, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, and low potassium, which were the same symptoms Skipper presented with.

Then on May 9, 2016, officials executed a search warrant at Hale's home and seized several phones, computers, and tablets. They discovered Hale had searched for things such as "barium acetate poisoning" and "how common is barium poisoning" and "barium acetate put in food." Hale had also searched "Transamerica Employee Benefits, Damian Skipper health claim form" and "Damian Skipper Death Claim Form."

Officials also searched Hale's iPhone 5 and found searches for "How bad does Barium taste- truly" and "heart stopping drugs" and "can flex straps be used as handcuffs."

It was also found that Hale had used the phone to impersonate Skipper while contacting a rental agency. Hale also reportedly emailed someone for a quote to buy potassium cyanide. Officials also searched Hale's Paypal account and found several purchases of reagent grade barium acetate. In total, it appears Hale purchased 750 grams of barium acetate and 125 grams of reagent grade barium chloride dehydrate. These purchases were made on January 8 and May 8 of 2015 and on January 11 of 2016, all before Skipper's death on June 30, 2015.

Due to this new information discovered, Skipper's body was exhumed so an autopsy could be performed. The autopsy was performed on May 19, 2017, and based on toxicology results, Skipper's death was reclassified as a homicide.

Officials note that Hale was living with Skipper from 2014 until his death and collected $10,000 from his life insurance policy. They also note barium acetate has no common application and is used in labs, in printing textile fabrics, and is also known as a powerful poison.

Hale is wanted for second-degree murder.

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