Man charged with drowning wife in South Barrington claims 'no recall' in interrogation video
In 2013, when authorities questioned him about the 2000 death of his wife Cynthia Hrisco, Frank Buschauer admitted the South Barrington couple had relationship problems.
Most centered around Hrisco's complaints over cost overruns and poor construction of their home, which was built by his cousin, said Buschauer, who is charged with drowning his wife in the bathtub of their Overbrook Road home on Feb. 28, 2000.
"I described it as being nibbled to death by a duck," he said in the videotaped interrogation from 2013, which his defense attorneys played Tuesday during Buschauer's bench trial in Rolling Meadows.
Tuesday's evidence consisted entirely of the video interrogation.
Hrisco, 47, was found lying unresponsive on the floor of the couple's bathroom. 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. Buschauer was charged with her murder in 2013. He has pleaded not guilty.
During the videotaped interrogation, Buschauer described his wife as difficult, controlling and "more focused on her wants and needs than our wants and needs."
He said Hrisco wanted his cousin to pay them $50,000 and suggested they file a lawsuit. Eventually both sides enlisted help from a mediator to resolve the financial dispute.
During the interview, Buschauer told South Barrington Police Sgt. Bryant Haniszewski and Cook County State's Attorney investigator Bob Riordan he was sorry he married.
"I didn't see divorce as an option ... If at all avoidable, it should be avoided," said Buschauer, who became visibly upset in court Tuesday while watching the interrogation video.
Eventually the officers inquired about what transpired on Feb. 28, 2000.
Buschauer, now 70, told them Hrisco took a bath while he watched TV and read in bed where he eventually fell asleep. He said he awoke about 2:30 a.m. to their 13-month-old son crying. Noticing Hrisco was not in bed, he said he entered the bathroom, saw water running into the jetted tub but didn't see his wife. Reaching into the water, he pulled her up, he said.
"I knew she was dead ... She wasn't breathing," said Buschauer, who stated he pulled Hrisco from the tub, laid her on the floor and called 911.
He told Haniszewski and Riordan that police arrived about 15 minutes later.
"I got there within a minute," Haniszewski said in the video.
Haniszewski, who was the first officer on the scene, told Buschauer that pooled blood indicated Hrisco "been in that position for some time."
"Frank, if you had something to do with this, we need to know now," Riordan said to Buschauer in the video.
Buschauer responded that he didn't recall anything.
"And that's the truth," he said.
More of the videotaped interrogation will be played Wednesday.