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Police: N.Y. Man Served Wife Lethal Cocktails

Prison (credit: AP)

Prison (credit: AP)

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CARMEL, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Investigators in Putnam County believe they’ve cracked a peculiar case.

CBS 2′s John Slattery reports two months after a woman was poisoned to death, the victim’s husband has been arrested.

Josephine Kovacs, a licensed massage therapist, died in June at the age of 48 – just days after going blind. Hospital doctors suspected she had been poisoned.

The victim’s brother, Mike Avolio, said Monday he can’t believe his sister was poisoned, and that his brother-in-law is facing charges.

“It’s beyond belief,” said Avolio. “We feel like we’re in a bad movie, or living a nightmare.”

Investigators say it was her husband, Micahel Kovacs, 57, who used methanol to do the job. The sweet smelling concoction is used in everyday products like anti-freeze and solvents.

“She was given access to methanol in two soft drinks,” Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith told CBS 2′s John Slattery. “Served by her husband.”

Investigators will offer little about the particulars of the case, so as to not jeopardize the prosecution. The couple was married 17 years and had no children. A realtor says the wife was preparing to list the house for sale, but knew of no problems in the marriage.

“She was somebody that…looked into your eyes,” said Annie Coffey. “That’s what she said to me. I remember people because I look people in the eyes when I talk to them. I’ll never forget them.”

Nor do neighbors know of a motive, neither does the victim’s brother.

“I don’t know if it was jealousy or frustrating in some way,” Avolio said. “We were unaware of any problems in the marriage.”

The autopsy showed that methanol had been present in Josephine Kovac’s system, but it fook weeks for investigators to figure out where it allegedly came from.

Michael Kovacs is charged with manslaughter in the second degree. He is being held without bail.