Springfield Woman Accused of Using Antifreeze to Murder, Poison Family

Published 06/21 2013 06:01PM

Updated 06/21 2013 06:59PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A Springfield woman is behind bars at the GreeneCounty jail after she allegedly killed members of her own family, according to authorities.

Diane Staudte, 51, has been charged with murder in the first degree for the death of Mark Staudte, murder in the first degree for the death of Shawn Staudte, and assault in the first degree and armed criminal action for seriously injuring Sarah Staudte after attempted murder.

The case began from an anonymous tip on June 11 and the Springfield Police acted quickly.

Incidents started with Staudte's family last year when her husband Mark died in the family home in April. Staudte's son, Shawn, 26, then died in the home in September

After each death, Staudte had an explanation; her husband had been having seizures and her son had flu like symptoms. The Greene County Medical Examiner ruled them both to be natural causes.

Suspicions were raised, however, when Staudte's daughter was brought to Cox Hospital this June.  It was soon discovered that she had been poisoning her own family.

According to a statement, Neal McAmis, the police officer assigned to follow up on the tip, went to Cox South Hospital and spoke with the nurse in charge of Sarah's care.

"I was told that Sarah's condition was serious and potentially fatal," McAmis said in the statement. "The doctors did not know what was wrong with Sarah, but said she was unresponsive and was brought to the hospital with near fatal PH levels."

The statement goes on to say that Staudte visited her daughter in the hospital and her actions were described as 'inappropriate' by a nurse.

"She told me that Diane did not act how a mother should act," said McAmis. "She sai Diane was aware Sarah's condition was life threatening, but said Diane made jokes and laughed with hospital personnel... She said Diane told her she had a Florida vacation planned in the upcoming week. Diane told her she was still planning to take the vacation, no matter the status of Sarah."

The doctor describes Sarah's condition as very suspicious and he believed that the girl had possibly been poisoned, according to the statement.

On June 20, Staudte agreed to go to the Springfield Police Headquarters for an interview. Initially, she denied any involvement in the deaths of her family members, but then her story changed.

Eventually, Staudte admitted that she used anti-freeze to poison them all.

According to the statement, Staudte researched the use of anti-freeze as a poison on the Internet.

"She admitted that she poisoned Mark over a three day period," said McAmis. "She put the anti-freeze in his Gatorade. She stated she killed Mark because she hated him. She admitted that she poisoned Shawn over a two day period...because he was worse than a pest."

Staudte admitted to poisoning Sarah over a four day period because she would not get a job and she had student loans that had to be paid.

Sarah is expected to live, but may have permanent damage from the poison.

Staudte is in the Greene County jail on hold without bond awaiting a court date.

See court documents below.

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