By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Police say a central Wisconsin man tried to kill his unborn child by secretly drugging the child’s mother with an abortion pill.

Jeffrey Smith, 32, now faces charges of attempted first degree intentional homicide and unlawful delivery of a prescription drug. The charges were filed early Wednesday in Marathon County Circuit Court, days after the contents of a water bottle tested positive for Misoprostol. The prescription-only drug is used to start labor or cause an abortion, according to the manufacturer’s website.

An investigation began Jan. 28  when police were called to the N. Third Ave. home of a Wausau woman who told investigators she suspected Smith spiked her water bottle while she was in the bathroom. The woman, who is now 21 weeks pregnant, said Smith is the father of her unborn child and has been pressuring her to get an abortion because he “didn’t want anything to do with the child,” court documents state.

The woman showed investigators a series of text messages she allegedly exchanged with Smith between October and January in which Smith repeatedly demanded she abort the child after the woman said she planned to keep the baby.

“You take a pill at the place,” Smith allegedly wrote in a text. “They watch you do it. It’s that simple. Side effects are virtually 0, especially the earliest you do it.”

The woman said Smith came to her house to discuss the baby and left shortly after she went to the bathroom. After Smith left, the woman said she noticed a residue inside her water bottle and called police. Investigators sent the bottle to the state crime lab, where the abortion drug was discovered.

Then on Feb. 1, police searched Smith’s Grand Rapids, Wis. home, where detectives located two empty blister packs for the medications Mifepristone and Misoprostol. After consulting with a local physician, investigators learned that Mifepristone causes a fetus to die, and Misoprostol induces labor.

“As always, our primary concern as this community’s law enforcement agency is the safety and security of our citizens,” said Wausau Police Capt. Matthew Barnes, in a prepared statement. “We are grateful for the partnership we share with the Wisconsin State Crime Lab as well as the assistance from Grand Rapids, WI, Police Department.”

Smith is being held in the Marathon County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 14.