Woman accused of fatally poisoning friend with eyedrops

Wisconsin caregiver allegedly gave a woman in her sixties a fatal dose of the liquid medication before staging her suicide and stealing from her estate.

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mug shot of Jessy Kurczewski
Jessy Kurczewski
(Waukesha County Sheriff)

A Wisconsin woman is accused of poisoning her friend with eyedrops and fraudulently gaining money from the dead woman’s estate, according to prosecutors.  

Jessy Kurczewski, 37, of Franklin, was charged Friday with first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of felony theft.

The case dates back to Oct. 3, 2018, when cops responded to the victim’s home in Pewaukee, after Kurczewski reported that the woman had stopped breathing.

The complaint does not name the victim, but local station WISN identify her from estate records as Lynn A. Hernan.

Hernan was found unconscious on a recliner with a “large amount of crushed medication on her chest and a plate directly to the left of her with a large amount of what appeared to be crushed up medication still on the plate,” according to the complaint.

Investigators learned that Kurczewski had been caring for the victim and had power of attorney for her, as well as keys to her home.

An autopsy later revealed that Hernan, who would now be 65, had died not from the crushed pills but rather a fatal overdose of tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in eye drops.

The medical examiner concluded at the time that it would be “impossible to have that level of tetrahydrozoline in the blood just by using it in the eyes,” the complaint states.

Kurczewski was arrested in July 2019 after investigators obtained a warrant to search her home.

During a police interview, she “adamantly denied” killing Hernan, saying the victim “must have staged her own suicide with the crushed pills.”

However, Kurczewski soon changed her story, claiming that she had helped the victim commit suicide.

The suspect told detectives that on the day of her friend’s death she had given her a water bottle containing the contents of six bottles of Visine, a brand of eye drops.

Prosecutors also allege that Kurczewski committed more than $290,210 in fraud, including over $130,000 transferred from the victim to her ” fraudulently” by check.

Kurczewski appeared in Waukesha County court Monday, where she was held on $1 million bond.

She is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on June 25. 

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