It’s 1990’s New York and newly wed couple Stacey and Michael Wallace appeared to have it pretty well. They were in the throws of their new lives together as a married couple and were the proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Ashley and Bree. Ashley was the couples first born daughter and was shortly followed by Bree who was the apple of Michael’s eye, whilst Ashley had a close bond with her mother.
Stacey worked during the day as an ambulance dispatcher and Michael worked a night shift as a mechanic, meaning they’d spend little time together as a couple. This dynamic initially worked out pretty well for the couple where their childcare was concerned , as it meant that there was always a parent at home to care for the children. However, working such different hours ended up putting a strain on Stacey and David, and they’d often find themselves arguing and clashing. Michael was a heavy drinker, which Stacey openly admitted she didn’t like and this too, along with his favouritism towards their youngest daughter caused strain on their marriage. There were also rumours of mutual affairs between the couple and that Stacey was preparing to approach Michael with regards to getting a divorce.
In 1999, the couple were still very much together although the marriage continued to be strained. Michael began suffering with various health problems, including chest problems, sickness, skin and balance issues and headaches. The concerned family urged him to see his doctor, who believed that Michael was suffering from inner ear issues.
Michael’s health continued to decline over the festive period and into January of that new year. On the 11th of January, Stacey was working her day shift whilst Michael was at home with oldest daughter, Ashley. It was this afternoon that Michael’s health took a further turn for the worst and he was discovered unresponsive in the living room by Ashley, who alerted emergency services. Michael was rushed to the hospital but was sadly pronounced dead on arrival.
Despite having been unwell for sometime and young in age, doctors concluded that Michael had passed away of a sudden heart attack and stated that they would not be performing an autopsy, meaning that the family could go ahead and make funeral arrangements. This also meant that Stacey was able to claim the $55k dollar life insurance policy that was set up in the event of Michael’s passing. (there’s your first alarm bell, folks)
Husband number 2.
In 2001, Stacey met David Castor through her boss at work. The pair hit it off quickly and began dating. David had a grown up son from a previous marriage and was an active outdoors man. He enjoyed biking and also owned a boat. Despite being a father already, David did not take kindly to Stacey’s daughters and made it clear that he would never look upon them as being his own. He was strict with them and expected them to do as they were told at all times which they very much resented. The girls feelings towards David were mutual, with them viewing him as wanting to replace their beloved late father.
Despite these discrepancies, Stacey and David went on to marry in 2003 with Stacey taking David’s surname. Stacey’s girls kept their fathers name and remained Wallace’s.
The couple had two years of a fairly happy marriage before things began to get rocky between them, with them arguing frequently and often clashing over various issues.
On August the 22nd 2005, Stacey called 911 from work, panicking. She informed the operator that her husband had failed to show up to work that day. She told them that she had last seen him at 5am that morning in their home heading to their bedroom after an argument. Stacey said that David had been carrying a bottle of Southern Comfort with him into the room and that he had locked her out refusing to speak with her any longer. She said that as she left for work a few hours later, she could hear him through the door snoring and assumed he was sleeping off his hangover and that they’d patch things up later that day.
When police arrived at the Castor’s home, they had to break down the still locked bedroom door. Upon entering the room they were met with the sight of David Castor lying face down on the bed, quite clearly having had passed away. There were two glasses on the nightstand next to the bed, one containing juice and one that contained what looked like antifreeze. Under the bed there was also an open bottle of antifreeze within reach of David. It appeared that he had taken his own life.
The property was sealed off and searched, with the cause of death suddenly becoming suspicious with the finding of a turkey baster in the kitchen dustbin. It appeared to have traces of alcohol on it. Stacey Castor was adamant that David had killed himself, telling police that he had been suffering from depression since losing his own father a few months prior, however his family and friends were certain this wasn’t the case. More suspicions were raised when it became clear that David had left everything in his will to Stacey and her daughters. (surprise surprise right?)
With the suspicions growing, detectives began to look into the background of Stacey’s first marriage to Michael Wallace and his sudden death. Despite Castor telling them that Michael had suffered numerous health problems, police found that the most severe medical issue he had experienced before his death was a hernia. This spurred them on to arrange for Michael’s body to be exhumed and have an autopsy carried out. If their theory was correct, they would find that his organs would be crystallised due to antifreeze poisoning. Sure enough this was the conclusion of the autopsy and Stacey Castor was brought in for questioning regarding the deaths of both of her husbands.
An attempted suicide.
During her interview on the 7th of September, Stacey freely answered questions put to her by detectives. However she found herself tripping up when she was asked about the glasses that were on the nightstand in the bedroom. When she was shown a photograph, she pointed at one of the glasses and proclaimed “that is the glass I poured the anti—I mean cranberry juice into.” She was of course pulled up on this slip up, but she accused detectives of trying to frame her and refused to continue the interview. Before her refusal to speak anymore, it was also noted that the way Stacey pronounced antifreeze was rather odd, with her referring to it as “anti free”. This slip up would prove to be useful in the ongoing investigations.
When Stacey’s oldest daughter Ashley Wallace was informed that her father’s death had been due to poisoning rather than a heart attack, she was quite understandably shaken. She called Stacey to discuss the news. Little known to Stacey, the phone had been tapped by police in order to gain further information on the case. Stacey told Ashley to calm down, and to come home where they could both enjoy a drink after their “hard day”.
Ashley recalls drinking with her mother, and finding the drink’s far too strong for her. She said that she had a couple of drinks and then fell into bed, waking the next day feeling unwell and hungover. She went to school as usual and then arrived home to Stacey asking if she fancied having more drinks, to celebrate her 21st birthday early. Ashley agreed once again but struggled to drink the cocktails again, telling Stacey they tasted unpleasant. In response to this Stacey gave Ashley a straw and told her to just put it to the back of her throat and drink it anyway so she wouldn’t have to taste it but could still get drunk. Again, after an evening of drinking together, they went to bed.
The next morning Bree Wallace, the younger of the two girls went to her sisters bedroom to wake her up ready for the day ahead. She found Ashley barely breathing and screamed to her mother to call 911 immediately. There was a note next to Ashley on the bed that had been typewritten and signed off by her claiming that she was behind the deaths of both her father and her stepfather. The letter stated that she was so guilt ridden by her crimes that she could no longer go on and intended to take her life.
She was rushed to hospital where thanks to efforts by the medical staff she was stabilised. Just 15 minutes later, she too would have died. She had a concoction of drugs and alcohol poisoning.
When she came round she was met with an array of people around her, including detectives who wanted to question her with regards to the admissions made in her letter.
The web begins to untangle.
Ashley adamantly denied any involvement in the crimes, and tells the detectives that she had absolutely no intentions to take her life. She said she hadn’t typed the suicide note and that the last thing she could remember was going to bed after drinking with her mother days prior.
After this admission from her daughter, Stacey Castor was promptly arrested and taken into custody charged with murder and attempted murder as well as forgery relating to David Castor’s will.
During her trial, evidence against her was in abundance. From the phone tapping results to her fingerprints and DNA being found at the scenes and even linguistic forensic evidence. It was noted that the way that antifreeze was spelled in the letter found with Ashley was spelled “anti free” which was the same way Castor pronounced it in her initial interviews with police.
Her defence team had Ashley on the stand and accused her of the crimes, proclaiming that Stacey had been wrongly accused and that it was her daughter who was responsible. This however crumbled, and Stacey Castor was found guilty of all charges. She was sentenced to 51 years in prison on the 5th of March, 2009. She would never see her daughters again, nor did they want anything to do with her.
Stacey Castor continuously professed her innocence and said she would never confess to killing her husbands and trying to pin it on her daughter by attempting to kill her too.
She died in prison in 2016, due to natural causes, never having admitted to her vile crimes.