A University of Pittsburgh neuroscientist was charged today with criminal homicide in the death of his wife, a doctor, who collapsed in their home and died three days later of acute cyanide poisoning.
Dr. Robert Ferrante, 64, allegedly killed his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein, 41, by lacing her creatine drink with cyanide on April 17, the same day the couple had exchanged text messages about how a creatine regimen could help them conceive their second child, according to a criminal complaint released today.
Authorities had previously acknowledged Klein had cyanide in her blood when she died. However, today was the first time her death was publicly labeled a homicide.
Ferrante, who is considered a leading researcher of Lou Gehrig's Disease, was charged today with one count of criminal homicide.
Ferrante was taken into custody in West Virginia after his counsel apparently advised him to leave Florida, according to the Allegheny County, Pa., District Attorney's Office.
"Because the defendant is facing a criminal homicide charge and has the financial means to travel anywhere, a national law enforcement bulletin was broadcast concerning this defendant," read a statement by Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County DA.
"This evening our office was notified by the West Virginia State Police that they had located the defendant and his vehicle near Beckley, W.Va., and shortly thereafter he was taken into custody," the statement added. "Our office will be working with prosecutors in West Virginia to extradite the defendant in a timely fashion."
A Pittsburgh Police official said authorities had information Ferrante may have been planning to return to Pittsburgh when he was caught and no additional charges were planned "at this point" based upon his trip from Florida.
Klein collapsed at her home in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood and later died on April 20 at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where she was chief of the division of women's neurology and an assistant professor of neurology, obstetrics and gynecology.