Doctor Accused of Poisoning Wife After ‘Open Relationship’ Soured


A doctor who previously worked at the Mayo Clinic has been indicted for first-degree murder after he was accused of poisoning his wife with gout medication to obtain $500,000 in life insurance when their “open relationship” soured. 

According to an affidavit reviewed by Men’s Journal, 30-year-old Connor Bowman was previously arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Betty Jo Bowman. After the January 4 indictment, however, a grand jury upgraded Bowman to a first-degree murder charge.

Connor is accused of fatally poisoning Betty Jo at their home on Aug. 16, 2023. She “deteriorated rapidly” after being admitted to a local hospital, experiencing organ failure, cardiac issues, and fluid in her lungs. Prior to this episode, Betty Jo was considered a healthy individual.

To friends, and in her obituary, Connor implied that Betty Jo had died from hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a disease in which blood cells can accumulate and harm other organs as a result. However, just one day after Betty Jo’s death, the Southeast Minnesota Medical Examiner’s Office contacted the Rochester Police Department and informed them that the young woman’s demise was highly suspicious.

Investigators had found no symptoms of HLH, and due to suspicious behavior from Connor, they halted his request for Betty Jo’s remains to be “cremated immediately.” According to the indictment, Connor contended that his wife’s death must have been natural whilst inundating the medical examiner’s office with highly specific questions regarding their investigation. He allegedly sent emails inquiring if their process was more “thorough” than the investigation a local hospital would conduct. He also reportedly asked investigators for a list of the substances they’d be testing for.

The probable cause affidavit indicates that the medical examiners weren’t the only people suspicious of Connor. According to the documents, the office received a call from an unidentified woman who told investigators that the couple was “talking about a divorce following infidelity and a deteriorating relationship” at the time of Betty Jo’s passing.

Accounts from other friends tell a similar story. Although the couple was in an “open relationship,” with an agreement not to become emotionally involved with their outside partners, Connor had become increasingly close with another woman. When Betty Jo confronted him about this and suggested a divorce, Connor’s behavior allegedly turned suspicious.

One friend reported seeing Betty Jo just 10 days before her death. During the visit, Connor served Betty Jo a smoothie that “tasted very bad,” according to the pal. They also thought it was strange Connor would prepare any sort of meal for Betty Jo because he “never made anything for anybody.”.

“[The friend] said jokingly at the time that Connor must be trying to poison [Betty Jo], but didn’t think much of it at the time,” the warrant read. “Betty even joked that she had considered it at the time and said she didn’t think that would happen but decided to not drink the smoothie anyway and threw it out.”

On Aug. 14, Betty Jo texted one of her romantic partners that she “had a few days off work and was looking to spend some time with him.” That evening, she told the man she was drinking at home with Connor. On Aug. 16, Betty Jo told him that she was so sick she couldn’t sleep. She suspected at the time that she fell ill because the alcohol was “mixed in a large smoothie.”

Another friend told investigators that they visited Connor just three days after Betty Jo’s death. When they entered the marital home, Connor’s new girlfriend was already living there, and Betty Jo’s photographs had been removed. Others described him as “stoic and calm” and “happy or at least indifferent” in the wake of his wife’s death.

Connor Bowman was in medical school at the time Betty Jo died. He’d previously attended pharmacy college and had worked in poison control before finishing a residency at the Mayo Clinic in October, leading investigators to believe he possessed the necessary knowledge to execute the crime.

They allege that Connor used his Mayo Clinic email address to purchase colchicine, a medication used to treat gout which, according to a 2010 study, has “a narrow therapeutic index, with no clear-cut distinction between nontoxic, toxic, and lethal doses.” Connor contends that Betty Jo purchased colchicine “fraudulently” using his name and work email.

Connor is set to be arraigned on the new murder charges on January 16. His case mirrors the recent story of a Pennsylvania man who was arrested for allegedly murdering his second wife, years after his first wife unsuccessfully hired a hitman to have him murdered.

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