Thursday, February 10, 2011

BJU Graduate Accused of Poisoning Husband with Thallium

A Beijing University graduate was charged with murdering her husband, a Qinghua alum. The couple were residents of Monroe Township of Middelsex County, NJ.

Wang Xiaoye (blue shirt in the middle), the victim earned a BS from Nanjing University and a Master degree from Qinghua University before caming to the States for PhD study at UPenn (PhD. MEAM '02). Wang worked as a computer engineer of PolyPaths, a financial company in NYC.

Li Tianhe, the wife, graduated from Beijing University with a BS. in Chemistry in 1995 after 6 years of study, followed by a Master degree in 1998. Friends said Li obtained another Master degree from U Penn before launched a job at Bristol-myers Squibb Company, a biopharmaceutical company in NJ. Li, a Chemist, has direct access to heavy metal material Thallium at work.

Their two years old son is under foster care. It is not sure at which point the 10 years marriage turned sore, but neighbors near their Monroe house all said they observed intensified domestic dispute since they moved in 2 years ago. Police car was constantly summoned to the otherwise quiet upscale community, multiple times in a bad week. One neighbor commented to a TV reporter "the woman's voice was higher than the man's voice". Given the cop culture in the US, one can only speculate that in every case when the police found the woman abusing the man each time they went in. Otherwise, the man would have been taken into custody at the scene. Police field guideline requires the officer to arrest the male partner if they observes a mark or have reason to believe an abuse by the male, even if the woman does not want to press charge.

Both Beijing University and Qinghua University had seen excessive share of Thallium poisoning cases. The a 'first Thallium poisoning case of China', a sophomore student Zhu Ling of Qinghua paralyzed and excessive amount of Thallium was found in her body. The suspect was one dorm roommate (8 students shared the room), but no one has been formally charged till this day. Zhu Ling's sister, a Beijing University student, died in a mysteriously way when hiking in a park with a group of Beijing University students. A few years later, one male student in Beijing University poisoned his classmate with Thallium, but confessed to the police just in time to save the poor boy's life.

Wang checked in a Princeton hospital for flu like symptom. When doctors were confused on his condition kept worsening under intensive medical care of two weeks, a nurse, "who remembering a case of Thallium poisoning in the 1990s in China", suggested to include a test for Thallium. Wang was diagnosed on 1/25/2011, but it was too late to save his life. Wang passed away the next day.

related reading:
High Profile Homicide Cases of Chinese Students in the US
Hospital Faulted for Thallium Poisoning Death

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