Family shares new information after mercury poisoning death
Doctors were stumped when Patricia Ann Kucerovsky was first admitted to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital on Aug. 19, 2008. Police later determined she had been the victim of mercury poisoning.
Published Monday, February 11, 2013 6:57PM AST
Last Updated Monday, February 11, 2013 7:39PM AST
Police are calling it a closed case, but the family of Patricia Ann Kucerovsky is sharing information about the woman’s suspicious mercury poisoning death for the first time.
They say the information should be the basis for a coroner’s inquest examining her death. They also say the police should have become involved in the case much earlier than they did.
“The last thing she asked me was ‘Will I be OK?’ and I never heard her speak again, other than screaming after that,” says Kucerovksy’s sister, Deborah Barter.
Memories of how the 43-year-old Fredericton woman died in hospital five years ago still haunt her family.
When the mother of young twins was first admitted to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital on Aug. 19, 2008, doctors couldn’t explain what was making her ill.
“Some, I think more strongly than others, still had this deep feeling inside that it was something much more sinister,” says Barter. “We voiced that from day one at the hospital.”
Barter says her family was suspicious because her sister was incoherent and her speech slurred.
“We were saying these things and the advice I was getting was, ‘Be careful what you say, this is too horrible.’”
“The reality is there was a gap between the time of her hospitalization and her death where nothing was done as far as investigation because of the nature of the crime,” says her sister, Lori Haggerty.
Investigators confirm Kucerovsky’s death was a homicide, but no charges have even been laid.
The family argues other events inside the hospital should have alerted police.
“What they were hearing from one side versus the reality of the situation, it really should have triggered that we need to persevere evidence the whole way through,” says Corey Woodside, the victim’s brother. “There was an autopsy, a brain biopsy, all these samples are gone.”
The family also questions why Kucerovsky’s hair was cut in the moments after her death.
“Why would you want to shave her head? What’s the need?” wonders Haggerty.
The family says these points should be the basis of a coroner’s inquest. They don’t believe there’s anything the hospital could have done to save Kucerovsky, but they are adamant an inquest could provide valuable information about why she died.
“We just know that things could have been done better, and if things had been done differently, would we be in the same place we are today?” asks Haggerty.
“Possibly, but I believe that if things had been done differently we could have had a very different outcome. We may have seen an arrest in this case.”
Police did arrest a 44-year-old Fredericton man in the case in November 2011 but later released him.
Now police say they don’t have enough evidence to lay any charges, and are calling the case ‘inactive.’
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore