A Poisoned Milkshake Complicates Custody Considerations

Posted by Joseph Lento | Sep 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

Child custody battles can be confusing and contentious. It can be easy for partners (or ex-partners) to fight or harbor bitter feelings against each other, especially if one feels that the other is controlling access to their child. There are many legal actions that one can take to improve a heated child custody fight.

Attempting to poison your ex by lacing a milkshake with homemade toxins is not one of these recommended actions.

If you anticipate a contentious custody fight, you should seek legal aid and work with your lawyers towards a favorable outcome. This is far preferable, and likely more effective, then attempting to make your own poison from beans ordered off the Internet.

A Complicated Custody Battle Escalates Dramatically

In Pittsburgh, over Memorial Day Weekend this year, Jessica Ewing took her daughter, Mia, to visit family.

Unfortunately, a week prior, Ewing had lost her rights to see her daughter unsupervised. Instead of following this rule, Ewing picked Mia up from school and disappeared with the child. Fortunately, several days later, Ewing returned Mia safely to her father.

Later that same day, Ewing faced charges and an arrest. She pled guilty shortly thereafter. However, child kidnapping was not the only charge Ewing faced. She faced a secondary charge of reckless endangerment, in an alleged incident involving a poisoned milkshake.

Previous Attempts with DIY Poisoning

Since 2018, Ewing and her husband, Michael Funes, had been locked in a custody battle over their daughter. The battle was not going well. Case in point: Last year, over Memorial Day Weekend 2019, Funes reported that his wife had attempted to poison him by spiking a milkshake with ricin, a poisonous substance.

This milkshake was not a surprise. Since the early days of their custody battle, the defendant had allegedly been giving her husband bad food, such as undercooked chicken. Funes threw proffered food away at every juncture, not trusting Ewing at all.

In July of 2018, Ewing's mother justified Funes's fears. Ewing's mother said that Ewing was planning to “use a stolen Amazon gift card to buy castor beans and make ricin.” Later, the state department subpoenaed Amazon and discovered that Ewing had indeed purchased the beans.

Shortly thereafter, when Ewing offered Funes a milkshake, Funes put it in the freezer and had it analyzed at a toxicology lab. Once the lab confirmed that the drink contained ricinoleic acid, an atypical and highly toxic ingredient for milkshakes, Funes called the police.

Ultimately, A Possible Failed Poisoning Attempt

Ewing's new husband, Martineau, followed up with the police shortly thereafter to confirm that ricinoleic acid isn't the same as ricin. Martineau stated that one of the police investigators “told [him] there was a castor-oil based substance, a non-dairy substance, in there but it was non-lethal.”

As part of Ewing's most recent sentence, the court mandated that she continue with treatment and medication.

While your custody battle may be less complex, it likely isn't less painful. To work towards a safe and sensible outcome, it's best to work with experienced custody lawyers. At the LLF Law Firm, we're ready to help. Call our Family Law Team at (888) 535-3686 or contact us online to discuss your options.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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