Monday, March 27, 2006
Woman accused of poisoning neighbor
Brian Hausler met us in a park about a mile from his house. He was friendly, but I could sense he was enormously stressed. We put a microphone on him, and began to roll tape, as we walked on a cold spring day.

"People keep asking questions," he said. "Did we have an affair? Did I lead her on? There was no affair. I did not lead her on."

Brian is talking about his neighbor, 33-year-old Tina Vazquez. Vazquez is now behind bars, charged with first degree assault for poisoning Brian's wife Angie.

Brian said he and Angie and their two young children moved to Bonne Terre, Missouri, a small town south of St. Louis, about a year-and-a-half ago. Last summer, they became friends with Vazquez, a neighbor. At first, Brian said, she came over with her husband; then they separated. Vazquez soon became a regular visitor, and did some babysitting for Brian and his wife.

At some point last fall, Brian's wife Angie started to have ongoing flu symptoms. Then, earlier this month, Angie got very sick and called 911.

Doctors said she'd been poisoned -- that she must have ingested a toxic substance recently. Angie told her husband that Tina Vazquez had given her an antibiotic capsule about a half hour before the worst symptoms came on. Brian became suspicious, and confronted his neighbor.

"I said, 'What's going on Tina?' And she said, 'I did something bad. I put something bad in Angie's medicine,'" Brian told me.

Police said that "something" was sodium nitrite, a substance used for curing meat. Investigators said Vazquez worked at a meatpacking company, and substituted a toxic dose of the chemical in the antibiotic capsule she gave to Angie Hausler.

"And I asked her why," said Brian. "She just said she thought she could make me happier."

Detectives told us that Tina Vazquez claimed she and Brian Hausler were having an affair, but Brian says that's not true. He says his wife is now home, and recovering.

Brian suspects his neighbor was slowly poisoning her over the course of several months. So far, police allege only one poisoning attempt. But prosecutors say that if she's convicted, Tina Vazquez could face up to life in prison.

Neither Angela Hausler nor Tina Vasquez would speak to us for this story. Tina Vasquez hasn't yet made a plea in this case, and tomorrow (Tuesday morning), she'll make her first court appearance to face formal charges.
Posted By Keith Oppenheim, CNN Correspondent: 6:12 PM ET
  9 Comments
This type of story really blows my mind. Society encourages us to be nice to our neighbors and promotes a sense of community. Who can you trust?
Posted By Anonymous Augie, Boston MA : 6:52 PM ET
It seems that people who make the news are becoming more and more bizarre. I'm afraid that we are all acting out our day-dreams without realizing that our actions are real. Have we gotten virtual time, the present, and TV all muddled in our brains? This is the stuff Agatha Christie was made of. And,as far as I know she never,ever blogged.
Posted By Anonymous Marie,Laredo TX : 7:15 PM ET
Just one question? ok, more than one. Why would Brian want to talk with CNN? Why so stressed if he and his wife were victims? Why would Vazquez quickly admit to poisoning his wife if she hadn't been lead on in some way? Maybe she's crazy -- Maybe He's crazy? All I know, is the wife is crazy if she sticks around to find out.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl, Raleigh NC : 9:30 PM ET
Sounds like another news report about a mentally disturbed person going over the deep end. Is this "blog-worthy"?

Seems like anytime the news story is about something bad that "could happen to anyone", it gets heavily promoted by the media. Why is that...maybe that question would make a more interesting blog.
Posted By Anonymous Jethro in Albany : 10:21 PM ET
hmm, i guess she's obssessed with brian
was she out of her mind or what?!
gee, there's a lot of crazy people out there , beware everybody!! :)
Posted By Anonymous rach,rochester,NY : 11:20 PM ET
Imagine that: A botched attempt in the murder of one of the beautiful-people by a minority on national news. It must be a very slow day in the news world. Thanks for telling, I feel enlightened. Now I'll go read something about one of those horrible, little third-world countries where people are dying because they are so impoverished they cannot even afford to buy shoes. Oh, and what about the war? You know; that big push for freedom in Iraq where thousands are dying because someone said "mission accomplished".

I am a Caucasian from the U.S. living in Tokyo where skin color doesn't matter to most, particularly those of us who have lived in places, like the U.S., where it matters to so many. This is another reason why many of us are here. Thanks for the reminder.

The U.S., in spite of being one of the most globally active countries on the planet, surely doesn't understand the importance of being globally minded.
Posted By Anonymous Bill S. Tokyo, Japan : 2:18 AM ET
There are crazy people in the world. So, some people are going to have an unfortunate experience with some of them. Sorry for this guy, his wife and kids. And very glad that it was discovered before they came to lasting harm.
Posted By Anonymous Jackie Aldridge, Alameda, CA : 2:25 AM ET
Bill S. - I haven't seen any pictures of either party, so I'm not sure where the comments about "beautiful people" and minorities is coming from. I guess you're judging by the last names of both parties - but since they're both married women and their maiden names aren't given it's a bit of a leap. I guess you're so quick to make that assumption because skin color matters so little to you?
Cheryl - I don't know about you, but I'd be totally stressed out if someone had tried to kill my hubby and then claimed I'd been sleeping with them. I'd just be freaked out if someone tried to kill my husband, period!
I guess this falls under the category of "human interest", which is really only interesting because humans rarely do anything that makes sense.
Posted By Anonymous Lauren, Dayton OH : 1:14 PM ET
I hate to mention this to Bill S, but despite the last name, Tina Vasquez is white.
Posted By Anonymous Nick D., Saint Louis, MO : 1:27 PM ET
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