A Pasco woman is accused of poisoning her then-husband by putting pesticide in his Keurig water reservoir and on his toothbrush.
Chelsea B. Schmitt, 41, allegedly broke in to her former West Richland home last June while her husband was out of town for the weekend with his girlfriend.
The couple had been separated since late December 2015, with Schmitt living in Richland. When it came time for her to move again, she was given permission to use her husband’s utility trailer.
However, prosecutors allege Schmitt did a lot more when she went to the home that weekend.
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Andrew Schmitt returned from his trip to find the home in disarray and a number of items missing. Additionally, his girlfriend’s SUV, which had been locked up in a detached shop, was smashed with a baseball bat, and sugar and liquid soap were poured into the gas tank, court documents said.
When the courthouse opened that Monday, June 27, Andrew Schmitt filed a petition for a domestic violence protection order for himself and his three sons.
The following day, he started feeling ill after taking “a couple of gulps” of his morning coffee at home. He later was fixing a flat tire on his boat trailer when his first wife and their children noticed he was red and sweaty and “his veins were all sticking out of his neck and looked as though he was going to explode,” documents said.
Andrew Schmitt, 41, was driven to a Tri-City hospital for treatment and released. Medical staff drew blood and urine samples, and notified law enforcement about the poisoning.
After a lengthy investigation by West Richland police, which included testing samples at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, charges were filed this month against Chelsea Schmitt.
A summons has been sent to Schmitt to appear Feb. 23 in Benton County Superior Court for second-degree assault with domestic violence, first-degree malicious mischief and residential burglary with domestic violence.
She now lives in Pasco, according to court documents.
Schmitt filed for divorce on June 27, the same day her husband sought the protection order. The divorce was finalized Dec. 13.
Judge Carrie Runge, who granted the husband’s request, prohibited Schmitt from having any contact with her ex and his sons through July 22.
According to court documents filed in the new criminal case, the husband changed his locks Jan. 1, 2016, after Schmitt moved out. He left the spare keys for the house and the separate shop building in a drawer where he normally kept keys.
The husband was away at a funeral the next month when Schmitt allegedly called him and said she was in the house and got in through an unlocked door. That concerned him, because Schmitt knew where the spare keys were stored, so he changed all the locks again, documents said.
Then in June, Andrew Schmitt was at his girlfriend’s residence when his wife again called to say she got into the house through an unlocked door, documents said.
When the couple left town June 25, he told Chelsea Schmitt through text message that it was OK for her to borrow his utility trailer to move. The trailer was parked outside.
Meanwhile, the interior of the home had been left clean and tidy because the husband was selling the home and expected a prospective buyer to come by the following evening upon his return.
Schmitt told police she and her teen son went to the home and discovered his vehicle did not have the correct trailer hitch ball. She admitted taking several items, including her husband’s golf clubs and a laptop computer, court documents said.
Her son added that he helped remove a large picture over the fireplace, a television with stand and a small dresser, and that he saw his mother get some items from the kitchen, documents said.
Andrew Schmitt immediately called police when he returned home June 26 and found it a mess with items missing, including money that had been stashed in a safe. He realized the spare keys also were gone.
He had to climb through an unlocked window to get into his locked shop, and that’s when he discovered that his girlfriend’s Ford SUV had the lights and windshield bashed out and the hood was dented, court documents said. Pesticide chemicals that were stored on a top shelf had been moved to the shop floor, and one container was now empty.
Andrew Schmitt, in his petition, said she also stole hard drives and all his passwords to personal accounts.
“She has continued to threaten me and I fear her coming to the house while my children are there, doing something else violent,” he wrote.
Andrew Schmitt reported feeling horrible and throwing up on June 28 after drinking his brewed coffee. After being treated at the hospital, he suspected something had been done to his coffee and went home to check the machine.
He found the water had a chemical odor and was discolored. That same smell was present on toothbrushes that belonged to Andrew Schmitt, his girlfriend, and his children, documents said.
Investigators collected the toothbrushes, the coffee maker’s water, the remainder of the Keurig coffee and samples of the pesticide in the shop. All of the evidence taken from the home tested positive for that chemical, court documents said.
Chelsea Schmitt admitted being in the house for about 30 minutes and taking some of her husband’s property, but she claimed to have no knowledge about the pesticide and the coffee maker, documents said.
Officers found that Schmitt rented a storage unit June 27 and security video showed her unloading property from an SUV and trailer five times that day.
In 2011, Schmitt reported that her hand was cut and wine was splashed on her clothes and across the room when her husband knocked a glass out of her hand during an argument.
Andrew Schmitt pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault with domestic violence, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to one day in jail with 364 days suspended, court documents said.
A second charge for felony harassment was dismissed because prosecutors could not prove that the victim — Chelsea Schmitt’s husband before Andrew — was placed in reasonable fear that Andrew Schmitt would carry out a threat to kill sent via text message, documents said.