Woman Accused of Fatally Poisoning Friend With Eye Drops

A Wisconsin woman has been charged with first-degree murder after the authorities alleged that she poisoned a friend with eye drops in 2018.

On Friday, Jessy Kurczewski, 37, from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of felony theft, according to state court records. She is currently being held in Waukesha County Jail on a bond of $1 million.

The authorities were called to the house of one of Kurczewski's friends, Lynn Hernan, on October 3, 2018, after she called the police to report the homeowner was not breathing. When officers arrived, they found Kurczewski's friend unconscious lying on a recliner chair.

Hernan had a "large amount of crushed medication on her chest and a plate directly to the left of her with a large amount of what appeared to be crushed up medication still on the plate," according to a criminal complaint obtained by Fox 10.

Kurczewski told the authorities that she and her mother, Jennifer Flower, had been caring for Hernan, had keys to her home, and indicated that she had power of attorney over the woman.

Investigators initially believed that the death was the result of a drug overdose, but a friend of Hernan said she had doubts about the claims and suggested that Kurczewski may have been involved.

The autopsy results showed that the woman died of a fatal dose of tetrahydrozoline, which is the main ingredient in eye drops, and the Waukesha County medical examiner said that it is "impossible to have that level of tetrahydrozoline in the blood just by using it in the eyes," according to the complaint.

Although tetrahydrozoline is safe to use in the eyes it is poisonous when ingested, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

On July 9, 2019, more than a year after the woman died, investigators searched Kurczewski's property and arrested her, placing her on probation and parole.

During interviews with police on the following day, Kurczewski said that she never gave Hernan eye drops and suggested that she "must have staged her own suicide with the crushed pills."

She also disputed the medical examiner's conclusion and claimed that she had seen the victim drink Visine, a common eye drops brand, with "vodka before her death," according to the complaint.

However, a day later, Kurczewski told the police that she gave Hernan a water bottle with six Visine bottles in it, but claimed that it was "her choice" to drink it.

According to the complaint, the authorities believe that Kurczewski had been stealing from Hernan in the months up to her death. She is accused of committing $290,000 worth of fraud.

Kurczewski made her first appearance in Waukesha County court on Monday. She is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on June 25.

Newsweek has contacted the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department for comment.

Jessy Kurczewski charged after eye drops poisoning
Macro close up eye using eyedrops liquid medicine healthy eyesight clarity concept. A Wisconsin woman has been charged with first-degree murder after she is alleged to have poisoned her friend with eye drops in 2018. mputsylo/iStock / Getty Images Plus