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Ex-Mayo Clinic doc accused of fatally poisoning pharmacist wife hit with upgraded charge

A former doctor at the famed Mayo Clinic who allegedly killed his wife by poisoning her drink has been indicted by a Minnesota grand jury on an upgraded charge of first-degree premeditated murder.

Dr. Connor Bowman, 30, was charged in October with second-degree murder for allegedly killing his wife, Betty Bowman, 32, a pharmacist who also worked at the world-renowned hospital, amid marital difficulties.

The poison specialist was accused of trying to have her body quickly cremated and planning to cash in a $500,000 life insurance policy after she went to the Mayo Clinic’s St. Mary’s Hospital with stomach distress on Aug. 16 and died four days later.

On Thursday, Olmstead County Attorney Mark Ostrem announced that a grand jury indicted Bowman on one count of first-degree premeditated murder with intent and an additional count of second-degree murder with intent.

“The Grand Jury Indictment is considered a new charge and the original complaint is replaced with the indictment,” according to a release from Ostrem’s office.

If convicted of the new charge, Bowman faces life behind bars without the possibility of parole, officials said.

“Betty Bowman became suddenly ill, reported to the hospital emergency department and on Aug. 20, 2023, she died,” the statement reads. “Following an exhaustive investigation, law enforcement determined that Ms. Bowman died from a poisoning.”

Betty was suffering from gastrointestinal distress and dehydration, symptoms similar to food poisoning, when she was admitted to the hospital. Her condition worsened — with heart problems, fluid buildup in her lungs and the removal of part of her colon — before she died from organ failure.

Betty Bowman was admitted to the Mayo Clinic’s St. Mary’s Hospital on Aug. 16 and died of organ failure four days later. LinkedIn / Connor Bowman

Bowman tried to persuade the medical examiner’s office not to perform an autopsy and pushed to have his wife cremated immediately, claiming her death was “natural,” according to a criminal complaint.

He said in Betty’s obituary that she suffered from hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, or HLH, a rare illness in which the immune system attacks the body’s organs.

The obit said his wife died “following a sudden onset of autoimmune and infectious illness,” but she was never diagnosed with the sickness and the medical examiner’s office notified Rochester police that her death was suspicious.

Betty Bowman died of colchicine toxicity, according to the medical examiner, and her death was ruled a homicide. Facebook / Betty Bowman

One of Betty’s friends told police that her marriage was crumbling due to infidelity and other issues, and that the couple had separate bank accounts due to his debts.

On the night before she was hospitalized, a man who had been texting Betty told police she messaged him that she was at home drinking with her husband.

The next morning, she texted him that she felt ill and thought a smoothie was to blame.

The couple was reportedly headed to divorce amid marital difficulties and infidelity. Facebook / Betty Bowman
Connor and Betty on their wedding day. Facebook / Betty Bowman

Investigators used a warrant to search Bowman’s laptop at the University of Kansas, where he worked as a poison specialist, and discovered that he had looked up material about colchicine, a drug used to treat gout that was later found in her system.

He allegedly found the lethal dosage of colchicine by converting his wife’s weight to kilos and multiplying it by 0.8 — with 0.8 mg/kg considered the lethal amount.

Bowman also allegedly looked up information about how to obtain sodium nitrate, a drug used to restrict oxygen in the blood.

One of Betty’s friends told investigators that Connor said he was set to collect $500,000 in life insurance after his wife’s death. Facebook / Betty Bowman

He reportedly checked Betty’s e-health records and at one point was also placed on her care team, which allowed him to view her medical records without having to provide his credentials.

Bowman also allegedly conducted searches online related to hiding information from law enforcement and whether internet browsing histories can be used in court.

The medical examiner determined that Betty died of colchicine toxicity and ruled her death a homicide, according to a criminal complaint.

Her family told NBC News that she was a dedicated pharmacist who worked in the operating room pharmacy at the Mayo Clinic and was loved by her colleagues.

“She was always there, a reliable pillar of strength and a listening ear during times of joy and sorrow,” the family said in a statement to the outlet. “She showed us the true meaning of love-selfless, unconditional, and boundless.”

The couple in an undated photo. Facebook / Betty Bowman

A GoFundMe page raising money for Betty’s mom, Nancy Sponsel, says: “As new evidence emerges, we realize Betty might have been taken from us not by natural causes.” It does not mention her husband.

“I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their generous support on the GoFundMe page,” Sponsel wrote Oct. 27. “The donations have been overwhelming and I feel truly blessed to have so many wonderful people out there.

“This has exceeded more than I could ever imagine. I want to thank everyone again for your generosity. Betty was an amazing person and we miss her dearly,” she added.

Bowman, who is being held in the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center on $2 million bail, is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 16.

Written by SaleemBaloch

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