Bible study partner testifies she never heard Buschauer threaten wife
A friend and former Bible study partner testified for the defense Monday in the bench trial of Frank Buschauer, who is charged with drowning his wife 19 years ago in the bathtub of their South Barrington home.
Heather Roy and her husband participated in a biweekly Willow Creek Community Church Bible study group with Buschauer and his late wife Cynthia Hrisco for several years beginning in 1996. Roy told Cook County Judge Joseph Cataldo that initially Hrisco discussed neither her marriage to Buschauer nor complaints she had about the construction of their Overbrook Drive home, which prosecutors say soured the couple's relationship and led Buschauer, 70, to drown his wife who was the mother of their infant son.
Hrisco, 47, was found lying on the floor of the couple's master bathroom early on Feb. 28, 2000. A Cook County medical examiner initially listed the manner of death as undetermined but in 2012 amended Hrisco's death certificate to include "homicide" as the manner of death.
Police arrested Buschauer in 2013 on murder charges. Prosecutors say arguments over cost overruns on construction of their home, built by Buschauer's cousin, led Buschauer to kill his wife. Buschauer has pleaded not guilty.
Hrisco never indicated Buschauer threatened or attacked her, Roy said.
Roy became aware of the construction and marital issues after the original group disbanded and the two couples continued Bible study on their own, said Roy, who never heard Buschauer threaten his wife.
Mary Ann Antemann, the wife of Buschauer's cousin and the bookkeeper and office manager for his company, Antemann Construction Corp., testified Buschauer paid the company $29,981.11 in September 1997, but a balance remained.
Acknowledging the "substantial" financial dispute between the couple and the construction company, Antemann testified they were in talks to resolve it.
Asked about Hrisco's complaints, Antemann said she was not aware of any plumbing or electrical problems, which prosecutors claim Buschauer had to correct.
"I knew there were issues we needed to take care of," said Antemann, referring to them as a "punch list."
Responding to prosecutors' questions about Hrisco demanding $50,000 from her husband, Antemann stated, "there was no reason to give her money."
Antemann also denied telling Buschauer she and her husband were in debt.
"We didn't need more money, they owed more money," she said.