A Wisconsin woman was charged on Friday with fatally poisoning a disabled friend in October 2018 — after stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the victim.
Jessy Kurczewski, 37, had reportedly called police to the victim’s Pewaukee home, claiming the woman was not breathing. A Waukesha County deputy who responded to the home found the deceased woman lying in a recliner with a large quantity of crushed-up medication on her chest and on a plate located next to her, according to KSAZ.
An autopsy report revealed that the woman had a fatal concentration of tetrahydrozoline in her system when she died. The medical examiner also determined that the amount of tetrahydrozoline in her blood could not have come from using it in the eyes, according to the news outlet.
While the victim has not yet been publicly identified, a criminal complaint stated that Kurczewski was caring for the woman, who was a family friend. Kurczewski said she would check on the woman two to three times a day, according to reports.
The nature of the victim’s disability was not disclosed.
Investigators initially believed the woman’s death was an overdose until they learned Kurczewski was caring for the woman and had keys to her home. Kurczewski allegedly also said she had power of attorney for the victim.
According to KSAZ, another one of the victim’s friends told police that he did not believe the woman overdosed and suggested Kurczewski was somehow involved in her death.
According to The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Kurczewski said the woman may have been suicidal, but she would not have wanted to leave her cats behind. The suspect allegedly also claimed the victim was behaving oddly in the days leading up to her death — and that she either had too many or not enough pills when she checked them.
The woman’s cousin contacted the medical examiner’s office to ensure the will filed in probate was legitimate and that the woman actually died of an overdose. The cousin said it was suspicious that the woman left her entire estate to Kurczewski, The Journal-Sentinel reported.
Authorities alleged that Kurczewski called the medical examiner’s office several times regarding the friend’s toxicology results.
Kurczewski was initially arrested on a probation and parole hold in July 2019, around the same time police executed a search warrant at her home.
Kurczewski not only denied killing her friend but claimed she witnessed the woman drink Visine and vodka before her death. The following day, she allegedly confessed to giving the woman a water bottle containing six bottles of eye drops on the day she died. Kurczewski said she gave the woman the bottle knowing its contents, but claimed she did not think it would kill her as she was regularly drinking the contents, the criminal complaint detailed.
According to The Journal-Sentinel, an inmate who shared a cell with Kurczewski told police that Kurczewski broke down and admitted to killing her friend. The inmate alleged that Kurczewski also said she killed the victim to end her suffering, not for money.
Kurczewski reportedly had a history of fraud and a gambling problem. Prosecutors said she committed $290,210 in fraud — including more than $130,000 she took from the victim. She allegedly continued to steal money from the woman after her death.
WISN reported that the woman’s estate was subsequently reopened.
Kurczewski was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, theft of moveable property greater than $10,000 in value, and theft of moveable property between $10,000 and $100,000 in value.
Kurczewski remains jailed on a $1 million cash bond. She is due back in court on June 25.
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[Featured image: Jessy Kurczewski/Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office]