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A Bitter Pill to Swallow Forensic Files Case Study: Maynard Muntzing & Michelle Story

A bitter pill to shallow forensic file case study

Full Summary of A Bitter Pill to Swallow Case

Michelle Baker (33 years), a firefighter and paramedic, Ohio was introduced to Dr. Maynard Muntzing II (33 years), a successful doctor. 

After 1 month of dating, Maynard starts living with Michelle in her house. The relationship soon gets more serious when they start planning a wedding after Michelle got pregnant.

Not a Perfect Trip. On a trip to Key West, Maynard asked her to postpone the wedding plan. Later that night, the couple went to Hard Rock Café where she felt cramps and bleeding. She even consult Dr. John M Shie but no abnormality was found. 

Michelle’s Own Research: With time, Michelle’s cramps and bleeding increased after she started staying with Maynard at his new house. She researched that it may be due to endometriosis (a condition in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus). 

Dr. Maynard Muntzing was caught cheating on Michelle: On 4th July 2000, Maynard left Michelle for a fishing trip. But that was a coverup. Michelle overheard Maynard’s voice on a radio show dedicating a song to his ex-girlfriend Tammy Erwin. She went to Tammy’s house, found Maynard there, and got separated.

Later, Maynard called Michelle for apologizing on a picnic where she again started cramping, bleeding, and vomiting. 

Michelle’s sister Melinda suspected that cramps only occurred when she was with Dr. Muntzing. 

The Hidden Camera. To confirm the theory, Michelle planted a video camera inside a silk plant. She asked Maynard to prepare the drink and what she saw was horrifying. Maynard was caught on camera adding something to her drink. She took the drink sample and gave it to the cops.

After consulting with a pharmacist, police discovered that it could be Cytotec, a stomach ulcer medication.

The Something is Cytotec. Using Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer, it was confirmed that the drink contains Cytotec.

Police’s Trap! They installed a camera in the kitchen and were watching it live from the garage. 

They Got the Doctor. Maynard was caught while spiking the drink with Cytotec. More Cytotec vials were discovered in Maynard’s car. As a result, Maynard was convicted and sentenced to five years of imprisonment.

List of Evidence Against Maynard Muntzing

S.No.EvidenceImportance to the Case
1.Videotaped by MichelleOn suspicion, Michelle videotaped Maynard adding something to her drink.
2.Drink SampleMichelle collected drink sample given by Maynard and hand over to police for testing.
3.Videotaped by InvestigatorsMaynard was caught adding something to her drink and cops arrested him right away.
4.Cytotec vialsIn the car, police found more vials of Cytotec.

Forensic Analysis of Evidence

A. Cytotec Drug 

Forensic Analysis of Evidence of cytotec

Cytotec (Misoprostol) is a drug used to treat acute ulcers in the stomach. It is very similar to prostaglandins present in the stomach.

 The function of the drug is to reduce stomach acid production and prevent stomach damage. It can be harmful to the fetus of the pregnant woman and cause miscarriage.

B. Instrument Used: Gas Chromatograph-Mass spectrometer

GC-MS is an advanced instrument that combines the separation ability of a Gas Chromatograph with the identification ability of a Mass spectrometer. 

GC-MS is generally used for the analysis of volatile compounds or non-volatile drugs using derivatization

Note: Derivatization is the process of chemically altering an analyte. They alter particular analytes in order to improve their chromatography, thermal stability, or their identification. Derivatization for GC-MS typically involves silylation, alkylation, or acylation reactions. [ScienceDirect]

Principle of Gas Chromatography: The basis of separation is the difference in boiling points of the various compounds in the sample mixture. 

Lower boiling point compounds will elute and be detected earlier, and the peak will appear at a shorter retention time.

Identification using Mass Spectrometer: Identification is based on the ionization of the compounds eluted from the Gas Chromatograph followed by the separation of ion fragments (formed after ionization). 

The ions are separated according to the difference in Mass/Charge ratio. The mass spectrum is generated which is compared with reference data for qualitative determination of a compound.

How did Dr. Maynard Muntzing II Gets Caught?

On account of her regular cramps, bleeding, and vomiting, Michelle’s sister Melinda suspected that whenever she meets Dr. Maynard, her illness occurs. 

Michelle planned to know the truth.

She videotaped Maynard adding something to her drink with a video camera planted inside a silk plant. She also collected the drink sample and handed it over to police for testing.

Police, being clueless about the drug, consulted a pharmacist for possible medication and found Cytotec, a stomach ulcer drug can be a possible choice. This helps in narrowing down the search for possible drugs and reducing analysis time by experts.

The drink was confirmed to contain Cytotec by GCMS

However, the insufficiency of evidence prevented them from arresting Maynard. So, they set up surveillance in the kitchen and watching the footage from the garage. 

As soon as Muntzing was found adding something to the drink again. This time police had caught him red-handed.

The drink was also confirmed for Cytotec. On searching Maynard’s car, they found more vials of Cytotec. 

All the evidence led to the arrest and court trial of Maynard.

Why Investigators Set up their own Surveillance Rather than Videotaped Evidence by Michelle? Is it not evidence?

Videotaped by Michelles was also evidence but more like a corroborative one. It doesn’t define some facts such as what he was adding.

And before getting to a conclusion, investigators want to confirm the obligation against Dr. Maynard. There were two possible theories in their minds:

  • Theory 1: Videotaped by Michelle Doesn’t point out what he was adding.
  • Theory 2: Maybe Mechelle (submitted sample to police) drugged herself and framed Dr. Mynard Muntzing to take revenge for leaving her and marrying his ex-girlfriend Tammy Erwin.

General FAQs

How Maynard used Cytotec and why did he choose it?

Cytotec is generally prescribed for stomach ulcers, it is easily available and also used for inducing labor. So, he spiked the drug in Michelle’s drink Also, he knew that miscarriage can be a side effect if taken by the pregnant woman. So, he chooses this drug.

What happens to Michelle’s baby?

Michelle gave birth to a stillborn baby girl named Mckayla. However, Mckayla couldn’t make it and her death remains unclear. However, Michelle believed that it was all because of Dr. Maynard who drugged her Cytotec when he had a chance.

Why Video evidence by Michelle was not enough?

Because (reason 1) there was no proof that it was Cytotec that Maynard was adding to Michelle’s drink. (Reason 2) Michelle might drug herself to frame Dr. Maynard as revenge for leaving her for her ex-girlfriend.

What was the conviction for Maynard and his wife (ex-girlfriend)?

Maynard Muntzing pleaded guilty for contamination of a substance for human consumption and attempted felonious assault. On October 26, 2001, he received a five-year prison term in addition to losing his medical license. Tammy also pleaded guilty to filing up the prescription of Cytotec. She was put on probation.

Where is Maynard Muntzing Now?

From reports on Forensic Files Now, in 2007 Muntzing filed bankruptcy, and in another report, Maynard and Muntzing were still married and living in Lima, Ohio.

References:

  • Forensic Files: Season 7, Episode 18 – A Bitter Pill to Swallow [Youtube]
  • Maynard Muntzing: A Physician Who Did Harm [Forensic Files Now]
  • Forensic Files Now: Recaps and Updates to 40 Favorite Cases [Book]
  • CYTOTEC [Link]
  • Derivatization Methods in GC and GC/MS [Research Paper]
  • Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry – A Practical Guide: Fulton G. Kitson, Barbara S. Larsen and Charles N. McEwen , Academic Press
  • Chromatographic Methods, 5th Edition: A Braithwaite, F.J.Smith, Kuwer Academic Publishers – Chapter 5 (Gas Chromatography) and Chapter 7 (Chromatography and Spectroscopy Techniques)

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