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updated: 6/22/2013 7:13 PM

Woman charged in antifreeze poisoning deaths of husband, son

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Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A southwest Missouri woman confessed to pouring antifreeze in drinks to fatally poison her husband and son and attempt to kill her daughter over a 14-month period, according to court documents.

Diane Staudte, 51, of Springfield was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count of armed criminal action. She is being held without bond. A spokeswoman for the Greene County prosecutor's office didn't immediately return an email Saturday from The Associated Press. It wasn't clear if Staudte had an attorney.

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Staudte initially told law enforcement that her husband, Mark Staudte, 61, hadn't been feeling well and suffered from seizures before his April 2012 death, the probable cause statement said. And she said her son, Shawn Staudte, 26, had been sick with flu-like symptoms before his death in September.

The Greene County Medical Examiner initially ruled that the husband died of natural causes and that the son's death was the result of prior medical issues. But an anonymous tip led authorities to re-examine the deaths earlier this month following the hospitalization of Diane Staudte's daughter, 24-year-old Sarah Staudte, the statement said.

A detective wrote that a nurse told him that although Sarah Staudte's condition was potentially fatal, Diane Staudte had visited only a couple times and not stayed long. The nurse described Diane Staudte's actions as "inappropriate," saying she joked and laughed with hospital personnel. The nurse also told the detective that Diane Staudte told her that she planned to go on an upcoming vacation to Florida regardless of her daughter's status.

A doctor told the detective that Sarah Staudte's condition was "very suspicious" and said he suspected the young woman had been poisoned.

Diane Staudte admitted under questioning to poisoning her family by putting antifreeze in their soda and Gatorade over several days, the statement said.

She told the detective that she killed her husband because she "hated him" and her son because he was "worse than a pest." Staudte said she wanted to kill her daughter because she "would not get a job and had student loans that had to be paid," the probable cause statement said.

The probable cause statement said Sarah Staudte is expected to live but may have permanent damage.

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