Pastor's first wife was poisoned

AftenPoften - Norway/February 1, 2004

Swedish authorities have decided to reopen the investigation into the death of Pentecostal pastor Helge Fossmo's first wife, who was found dead in the family bathtub in 1999, newspaper Aftonbladet reports. Fossmo (picture), along with his female neighbor, currently stands charged for the murder of his second wife and the attempted murder of his neighbor's husband in the Swedish village of Knutby.

The sensational case, which has dominated headlines in both countries, took a new, lurid twist when an autopsy report from the death of Fossmo's first wife, Helene, was revealed to contain a reference to the opium-like substance dextropropoxiphene being present in her body when she died.

Pastor Fossmo found the body of his first wife himself on Dec. 18, 1999 after a friend woke him to deliver a car key. He and the friend discovered the lifeless body of Fossmo's wife, wearing a nightgown and lying in the bathtub.

Police investigated the incident, which occurred in the same house Fossmo lives today, as a suspicious death. Helene Fossmo was found to have died from striking her head on the bathtub faucet and the case was dismissed.

Dextropropoxiphene may be used in painkillers and can induce sleepiness. Forensic medical expert Olle Lindquist told Aftonbladet that the substance could be easily concealed in a colored drink and at high doses could paralyze the respiratory system.

Pastor Fossmo is not now a criminal suspect in the reinvestigation of the death of his first wife.

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