SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (STMW) – A northwest suburban woman drowned in her bathtub in 2000 following a long-running argument with husband, who, 13 years later, has been charged with murder.
Frank Buschauer, 65, of Pell Lake, Wis., was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife Cynthia Hrisco, who was 47 when she drowned in her South Barrington home on Feb. 28, 2000, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
Hrisco was found lying facedown on the floor near the whirlpool tub in the master bathroom of the couple’s home, prosecutors said in a release.
The medical examiner found Hrisco drowned, but the manner of death (accident or homicide) was undetermined at the time. The autopsy found hemorrhages on the victim’s neck, scalp and left eye; and abrasions and contusions to her nose, chin and other body parts.
Buschauer, a retired engineer, was interviewed by police several times after his wife’s death and said it was possible he killed her, but said he couldn’t remember and her death may have been a suicide, the state’s attorney said.
In 2010, prosecutors reopened the cold case, including crime scene reconstruction and a forensic re-enactment in the bathtub, which led to the medical examiner ruling the manner of death to a homicide, the state’s attorney said.
The couple had been fighting over their house, which Buschauer’s cousin had built, according to prosecutors. Hrisco was upset with the poor workmanship of the home and the construction cost overruns of up to $200,000.
According to investigators, she wanted to sue her husband’s cousin, but Buschauer refused, thinking it would send his cousin into bankruptcy.
Just days before Hrisco died, she told a friend she was afraid of her husband and they no longer lived together as husband and wife, prosecutors said. The couple, who had been married for three years, had a 13-month-old child together.
Following Buschauer’s arrest Wednesday, he admitted that he had put his hands on his wife’s throat and threatened to kill her, prosecutors said. He allegedly told investigators, “I killed her,” the release said.
“A case may go unsolved for a long period of time, but we never forget our victims and I am pleased that we now have the evidence that is required to bring charges in this case and deliver some justice for Cynthia Hrisco and her family,” state’s attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement.
On Friday, Judge Jill Cerone-Marisi ordered Buschauer — who had been extradicted from Walworth County, Wis., on Thursday — held without bond.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)