By Shereen Siewert
A Wisconsin man has been convicted of murder in the drowning death of his wife 19 years ago in the bathroom of their suburban Chicago home.
A Cook County judge announced the verdict Friday against 70-year-old Frank Buschauer, saying he didn’t believe Buschauer’s claims of a memory lapse over what led up to Cynthia Hrisco’s February 2000 death in South Barrington.
South Barrington police Officer Bryant Haniszewski, the first person to arrive at the home the night Buschauer called police, found Hrisco lying facedown on the bathroom floor, unclothed. Buschauer told police he had gone to sleep and woke up at 2:30 a.m. when his wife had not gone to bed. He said he found her unconscious in the tub, lifted her out and called for help, according to authorities.
An autopsy revealed that Hrisco had bruises on her neck, scalp and left eye along with scrapes to her nose, chin, abdomen, knees, arms and knuckles, prosecutors said. The cause of death was drowning, but the medical examiner said the manner of death was undetermined.
Buschauer told police at the time that it was possible that he killed his wife but he could not remember. No charges were filed.
Buschauer, a retired engineer, moved to Wisconsin and was arrested in 2013 after investigators reopened the case. He had been free on a $200,000 bail bond awaiting trial.
Three forensic pathologists determined Hrisco’s death was a homicide, with the autopsy finding numerous injuries to her face, arm and legs indicating a struggle.
Defense attorney Allan Ackerman said an appeal of the verdict is planned.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.