Texas Woman Who was Under Investigation Over Ex-Husband's Death, Charged with Murder of Second Husband After He Dies of 'Suspicious Illness'

  • Updated

A Texas woman whose husband died of a "suspicious illness" last month was indicted by a grand jury for felony murder on Friday, the Chambers County Sheriff's Office announced.

Sarah Jean Hartsfield, 48, was arrested on Friday and is being held on a $5 million bond.

Joseph Suffered from Diabetes, Hospital Staff Found Insulin Levels Extremely High

Sarah Hartsfield and Joseph Hartsfield
Sarah Hartsfield and Joseph Hartsfield Facebook

On Jan. 7, Sarah made a 911 call regarding a medical emergency with her husband, Joseph Hartsfield. Medics responded to the home in a gated community in Beach City and started administering aid.

Joseph was transported to the emergency room at Baytown Houston Methodist Hospital. Staff at the hospital called 911 because they thought his illness was suspicious.

Officials told ABC13 that 46-year-old Joseph had diabetes. They said his insulin levels were extremely high four to six hours before Sarah called 911. They said that his glucose monitor had sounded an alarm for quite some time before action was taken.

Insulin is essential for diabetes patients to help control their blood sugar levels but an overdose of insulin or insulin poisoning can lead to hypoglycemic coma, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Detective Found 'Additional Inconsistencies' in Sarah's Story

Detectives arrived at the hospital and found "additional inconsistencies" in the story about Hartsfield's illness. According to authorities, Joseph was in a coma for a week before death. Joseph later died of what Sheriff Brian Hawthorne believes was foul play.

"The story that the wife gave the hospital, the deputies, the detectives do not match up to the forensic evidence," Hawthorne said.

In a post on Joseph's Facebook profile, Sarah attributed Joseph's death to a stroke. "Joe's death was preventable but it had to be his choice...that's still beyond comprehension to accept. I wish he'd thought more of who he'd be leaving behind that'd give anything to have him here," she captioned an image explaining the cause of an ischemic stroke.

Sarah was Under Investigation Over Previous Ex-Husband's Murder

In 2018, Sarah was investigated by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota after her previous husband was shot and killed. Ultimately, she was not charged. Sheriff Hawthorne said they are aware of that case and have been in contact with the agency.

"Their case was investigated," Sheriff Hawthorne said. "I'll definitely support the findings, and it was a grand jury that made the decision up there. Now that's not to say new information may come to light where they may re-open the case, but obviously, that would be up to the Douglas County Sheriff."

Aside from the outcome of death, Sheriff Hawthorne said there are no similarities between the case in Minnesota and Houston. The medical examiner's office has not given an official cause of death.

This article was first published on February 7, 2023
Related topics : Diabetes