Colorado Dentist Allegedly Kills Wife By Poisoning Her Protein Shakes
James Toliver Craig had allegedly tried to poison his wife another time five years before her death.
James Toliver Craig, a 45-year-old Colorado dentist, has been accused of murdering his wife by poisoning her protein shakes. Angela Craig, 43, passed away after being hospitalized for severe headaches and dizziness. The couple shared six children, according to CBS News.
On Sunday, March 19, 2023, the dentist was arrested and booked into jail. He has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, reported USA Today.
Just a few days earlier, on Wednesday, March 15, Craig drove his wife to the hospital because she was suffering from severe headaches and dizziness. According to a statement from the Aurora Police Department, Angela’s condition deteriorated quickly, and she was soon placed on a ventilator. Not long after that she was declared medically brain dead, and she was later taken off life support by doctors.
The Major Crimes Homicide Unit of the Aurora Police Department wasted no time in investigating the suspicious death, and soon it was revealed that Angela had been poisoned to death.
ABC 13 reported that a colleague had discovered that Craig ordered potassium cyanide and had it delivered to him at his dentist’s office. That colleague told a nurse at the hospital where Angela was being treated about his suspicions.
Police allege that Craig bought arsenic and cyanide, then secretly put these poisons in Angela’s protein shakes. According to his arrest affidavit, text messages between James and Angela show that she was complaining about her head feeling funny and dizzy, and she even shared that she felt drugged.
According to CNN, in the weeks before his wife’s death, James used a computer at his dental practice to do multiple searches for “undetectable poisons”. He also searched to find out “how many grams of pure arsenic will kill a human”. He searched YouTube for “how to make poison” and “Top 5 Undetectable Poisons That Show No Signs of Foul Play”. His arrest affidavit revealed that he also opened a new email account to order arsenic online.
Tragically, Angela had been suspicious in the weeks before her death, but the poisoning wasn’t identified in a previous hospital visit. On March 6, two days after arsenic was delivered to the Craig home, Angela was hospitalized after she felt dizzy, couldn’t focus her eyes, and felt her body responding slowly. The arrest affidavit shows the conditions are symptoms of arsenic poisoning.
Angela sent a text to Craig complaining that she felt drugged. James responded by texting her, “Given our history I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn’t drug you. I am super worried though. You really looked pale before I left. Like in your lips even.”
The history that James was referring to was apparently a time when he had previously tried to poison her. Toni Kofoed, Angela’s sister, told authorities that he had tried to drug her around five years ago with an unknown drug.
After Angela survived the arsenic poisoning in early March, Craig put a rush order in for the potassium cyanide that an employee at the dental office discovered. During the investigation, authorities were able to intercept Craig’s alleged order of Oleandrin, his arrest warrant said. Oleandrin contains chemicals that can slow the heart rate down and can lead to death when consumed, according to WebMD.
Angela Craig sought treatment at the hospital for her symptoms three times in March, but doctors had a hard time diagnosing what was wrong with her.
Police suspect James was seeing another woman, a dentist who flew in for visits with him. This woman also wrote James a sympathetic email about his wife’s struggles before she was declared brain dead, according to USA Today. Detective Bobbi Olson said in the affidavit, "It appears James was flying this woman into Denver while his wife and the mother of his children was dying in the hospital."
“When the suspicious details of this case came to light, our team of officers and homicide detectives tirelessly worked to uncover the truth behind the victim’s sudden illness and death. It was quickly discovered this was in fact a heinous, complex, and calculated murder. I am very proud of our Major Crimes Homicide Unit’s hard work in solving this case and pursuing justice for the victim,” Division Chief Mark Hildebrand stated.
The investigation is ongoing. If you have any information, police request that you please contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720.913.STOP (7867).