Henry “Butch” Sochalski, a retired police officer, was found dead in a hospital bed following elective back surgery. Jan Sochalski, his wife of 44 years, is accused of killing him and has been charged with second-degree murder, WFTV reported.
Henry was on a ventilator before he died, and Jan denies any involvement in his death.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Henry Died May 19 & Jan Is Accused of Killing Him
Jan Sochalski, 61, was found lying on top of her husband Henry, 64, at a Florida hospital in May, according to New York Daily News.
A nurse told investigators that she walked into Henry’s room and found Jan Sochalski lying across her husband’s chest, according to a police report obtained by the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The nurse said Jan had one hand around his stomach and the other across his mouth and nose. Another nurse said it appeared she was “pinching the victim’s nose,” the newspaper said.
About 30 minutes later, Henry was dead. An autopsy was done the next day, but results didn’t come back until August 17. The autopsy revealed Henry died of asphyxia of the mouth, nose and trachea, according to Detective Dave Dinardi.
The next day, August 18, Dinardi was told by the medical examiner’s office that Sochalksi had called to ask if her husband was brain dead at the time of his death, the newspaper reported.
2. Henry Was on a Ventilator Before Dying
The arrest report said Henry went into respiratory and cardiac arrest April 9 following elective back surgery at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach. Henry was then placed in a unit called “comfort care,” or palliative care at the hospital.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal obtained a written statement from Florida Hospital spokesperson Lindsay Rew in regards to the case. Though she could not comment on the case, she said hospital officials are cooperating with police. She said the facility has a “dedicated team that devotes significant resources to develop programs to ensure everyone remains safeguarded.”
3. Jan Is Also Accused of Giving Him Extra Pain Medication & Was Irate Over His Level of Care
After his back surgery, Mr. Sochalski was prescribed the painkiller dilaudid, which was patient-controlled by pressing a button, WNDB reported the police report as saying.
The staff checked the pain medication machine and found the button had been pressed 264 times over an 8 hour period, though it was only supposed to be pressed six times per hour, according to the news station.
A staff member observed Jan, a retired nurse of over 40 years, administering the pain medication to her husband. She was then asked to stop administering the medicine to Henry, the police report said.
Jan had been complaining about her husband’s care after he went into respiratory and cardiac arrest, according to an arrest report. She was so irate about his treatment that in late April she threatened to go home and get his firearm to “shoot the people on the seventh floor” of the hospital. Police were called to the hospital, but a nurse was able to calm Jan down and she wasn’t arrested.
4. They Were ‘Childhood Sweethearts’
According to the obituary, Henry and Jan were high school sweethearts who were married for 44 years. The obituary also stated:
Butch was a lifetime member of the PBA and a member of The Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, for which he was an Executive Officer. He never missed a chance to ride his motorcycle, which was his true passion. Butch was a man of few words who was a beloved father and husband and always loved watching his grandsons play sports.
The couple moved from New Jersey to Florida 13 years ago, the obituary said.
5. A Service Dog Fund Was Set Up for Jan After Henry’s Death
A fund was set up to get Jan a service dog after Henry’s death, on inmemoryof.org. The website states that Jan has a disability for which a service dog could assist, but it is not known what that disability is.
Jan denies having any involvement in her husbands death, according to police. She is being held on a $250,000 bond.