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Complex Case Unfolds in North Dakota: Woman Charged in Alleged Poisoning of Boyfriend, Citing Financial Motives

According to authorities, a lady in North Dakota was detained and accused this week of allegedly killing her lover, who passed away last month after being poisoned. They speculate that Ina Thea Kenoyer, 47, the suspect, killed Steven Edward Riley, Jr. possibly for financial gain.

According to a news release posted on the Minot Police Department’s Facebook page, Kenoyer was brought into jail on Monday and charged with class AA felony murder. If found guilty, a class AA felony in North Dakota carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Riley, 51, a resident of Minot, a city in North Dakota located about 50 miles south of the Canadian border, died. Kenoyer was charged by police in Riley’s death. According to investigators, Riley was romantically involved with Kenoyer, a resident of Minot.

Riley was sent from a nearby hospital in Minot to a hospital in Bismarck, where he passed away on September 5. Riley’s official cause of death was found to be ethylene glycol toxicity, which is a common element in antifreeze, according to the results of a later autopsy. Kenoyer “had financial motives to murder Riley,” according to the police. Kenoyer is being detained in Minot at the Ward County Jail.

The investigation that followed Riley’s death and preceding Kenoyer’s custody was described in detail in a statement that CBS News acquired on Wednesday. It included interviews with a few of Riley’s close friends.

Riley “believed he was to become the recipient of a large inheritance and was planning on meeting a lawyer at the airport on 09/03/2023 to complete that transaction,” according to the affidavit, which also stated that on September 3, Riley’s friends saw his health “decline rapidly” at the airport. Theresa Akin, who is friends with both Riley and Kenoyer, reported that earlier that day she had witnessed Kenoyer flinging some of Riley’s belongings outdoors. Kenoyer was upset, Akin said to the police, because Riley “was going to get his inheritance and leave her.” According to the affidavit, Kenoyer thought Riley would earn more than $30 million.

Friends reported to authorities on September 3 that Kenoyer accused Riley of having a “heat stroke” in response to his progressively severe symptoms, saying Riley “just needed to go home and rest after the airport.” The acquaintances additionally reported that Kenoyer “made comments after Riley’s death that he had been infected with freezing fluid even though there were no laboratory work tests for freezing fluid had been completed, and no physicians had shared any details about Riley’s situation … which includes the act that he died.”

Suspected Poisoning of Boyfriend Reveals Complex Legal Entanglement

Riley’s body contained deadly amounts of ethylene glycol when he passed away, according to a coroner’s test of his blood. Ethylene glycol is a major component of freezing fluid. Kenoyer had earlier implied that Riley had been consuming a substantial amount of alcohol, but tests performed on Riley upon being admitted to the hospital revealed no evidence of alcohol consumption.

Considering herself Riley’s “common law wife” after ten years of dating, Kenoyer informed detectives following Riley’s death that she intended to divide his inheritance with his son.

According to the statement, “Ina Thea Kenoyer was furious to learn that North Dakota prohibits common law marriage and that she would not be eligible to a portion of any inheritance.”
The Minot Police Department’s investigations commander, Capt. Dale Plessas stated in a statement that “this case was highly complex.” “Thank you to everyone who provided us with details which helped our investigators piece this together.”
Kenoyer and the events leading up to Riley’s demise are still under investigation.

This year, at least four people have been suspected of using poison to kill their spouse or partner in the United States; the claimed occurrence in North Dakota was the fourth instance. A former medical resident and poison specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota was accused just last week of killing his wife, a 32-year-old pharmacist who passed away in August.

The author of a children’s book on grieving was charged in May with killing her husband at their Utah home by poisoning him with a fatal amount of fentanyl. Additionally, authorities claim that a dentist in Colorado put cyanide and arsenic into his wife’s pre-workout smoothies in March, leading to the dentist’s arrest on first-degree murder charges.


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