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Mommy Dearest Frames Her Daughter for Murder: The Stacey Castor Case

Deceit, Betrayal, and the Chilling Crimes of Stacey Castor

By Sally APublished about a month ago 5 min read

Stacey Ruth Daniels, born on July 24, 1967, grew up in Clay, New York, a predominantly white, middle-class suburb just outside Syracuse. Stacey, an intelligent young woman, initially aspired to a career in law, excelling in school and showing promise in her studies.

In 1985, at just 17, Stacey met Michael Wallace. Described as the life of the party, Michael's outgoing and social nature attracted Stacey, leading to a whirlwind romance. They dated for two years before welcoming their first daughter, Ashley, in 1987. A couple of years later, they married in Stacey's parents' home and expanded their family with a second daughter, Bree, in 1991.

Stacey worked for an ambulance dispatch company while Michael worked nights as a mechanic. Their demanding work schedules put a strain on their relationship, leading to a divide within the family. Michael favored Bree, making her a "daddy's girl," while Stacey focused her attention on Ashley, calling her daughter her "best friend."

As the years passed, the Wallace family began to unravel. Rumors of extramarital affairs swirled, and Stacey confided in friends about considering divorce due to Michael's drinking and drug use. However, they decided to wait until after the holidays to make any significant changes.

The Mysterious Illness and Death of Michael Wallace

In late December 1999, Michael developed a persistent cough and fever, which lasted for over six weeks. Despite his worsening condition, he avoided seeking medical help. On January 11, 2000, Michael was home with Ashley when he began acting strangely, his arms flailing before collapsing on the couch. Ashley, thinking her father was just being playful, left to pick up her sister Bree. When she returned, she found her father unresponsive and called 911. Michael, just 38 years old, was pronounced dead.

The doctors concluded that Michael died of a heart attack, but his sister was skeptical, considering Michael's relatively good health. She requested an autopsy, but Stacey refused, accepting the heart attack diagnosis. Stacey collected Michael's $50,000 life insurance policy and took her daughters on a trip to Disney World to lift their spirits.

The Second Marriage and Death of David Castor

In 2001, Stacey began working as an office manager for an HVAC company owned by David Castor. David, a tall and handsome man, quickly caught Stacey's eye, and they began dating. Despite the rapid progression of their relationship, Stacey's daughters were not welcoming of their new stepfather. David's strict rules and demands for respect created tension in the household.

On August 22, 2005, Stacey called the sheriff's office, reporting that David had locked himself in their bedroom after a fight. She explained that David wanted to take her on a romantic getaway for their anniversary, but Stacey insisted the whole family should go, leading to a seven-hour argument. According to Stacey, David retreated to the bedroom with a bottle of alcohol and locked the door.

Days later, a sergeant arrived at the Castor home, kicked down the bedroom door, and found David naked and unresponsive on the bed, surrounded by vomit. Nearby were a glass of cranberry juice, a glass of green liquid, and an open container of antifreeze under the bed. David was pronounced dead, and the coroner ruled his death a suicide by antifreeze poisoning.

Investigating the Suspicious Deaths

Detective Spinelli, suspicious of the circumstances surrounding David's death, began investigating Stacey's past, discovering that her first husband, Michael Wallace, had also died under mysterious circumstances. Michael's body was exhumed, and toxicology reports revealed the presence of antifreeze, with calcium oxalate crystals found in his kidneys, a clear indicator of antifreeze poisoning.

With mounting evidence, authorities wiretapped Stacey's home and monitored her phone calls and visits to the grave sites. Despite the surveillance, Stacey never visited the graves of her husbands.

The Attempt on Ashley's Life

In September 2007, detectives brought Stacey in for questioning. During the interview, Stacey mistakenly referred to cranberry juice as "antifree," quickly correcting herself but arousing further suspicion. Stacey ended the interview abruptly, and investigators continued their surveillance.

On September 7, 2007, Stacey invited her daughter Ashley to drink with her, claiming they both needed to unwind after a rough week. Ashley, trusting her mother, drank a nasty-tasting beverage that Stacey had prepared. The next morning, Ashley woke up with a severe hangover but returned to her mother's house for another drink.

This time, Ashley passed out, and her sister Bree found her unresponsive, prompting Stacey to call 911. Paramedics arrived just in time to save Ashley, who had ingested a potentially fatal amount of painkillers. A typed suicide note was found nearby, allegedly written by Ashley, confessing to the murders of her father and stepfather.

The Arrest and Trial of Stacey Castor

Detectives arrested Stacey, charging her with the murder of David Castor and the attempted murder of her daughter Ashley. Stacey maintained her innocence, insisting that Ashley was responsible for the deaths. However, evidence pointed to Stacey as the mastermind behind the crimes.

Prosecutors revealed several drafts of the suicide note on Stacey's computer, with timestamps showing they were written while Ashley was at school. The note contained Stacey's fingerprints, but not Ashley's, further implicating Stacey.

In court, Ashley testified about her mother's actions, recounting how Stacey had given her the drink that nearly killed her. Prosecutors argued that Stacey's motive was financial, as she stood to gain significant life insurance payouts and assets from her husbands' deaths.

On February 5, 2009, Stacey Castor was found guilty of second-degree murder for David Castor's death and attempted second-degree murder for poisoning Ashley. Stacey was sentenced to 25 years to life for each count, effectively spending the rest of her life in prison.

The Aftermath

Stacey was imprisoned at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, New York. Her earliest possible release date was June 15, 2055, shortly after her 88th birthday. However, on June 11, 2016, Stacey was found dead in her cell, having died of a heart attack with no evidence of foul play.

The legacy of Stacey Castor's crimes is a chilling reminder of the depths of human deceit and betrayal. Her daughters, Ashley and Bree, lost their fathers and their mother in the most horrific way. Stacey's actions serve as a cautionary tale of the devastating impact of greed and the lengths some will go to achieve their sinister goals.

The case of Stacey Castor has been the subject of media coverage, including a 20/20 special and a Lifetime movie titled "Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story." The story continues to captivate and horrify, illustrating the dark side of familial relationships and the ultimate betrayal of a mother's love.

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About the Creator

Sally A

Animal lover 🐾 | Health enthusiast 💪 | Self-development junkie 🌱 | Beauty explorer 💄 | True crimes & mystery enthusiast 🕵️‍♀️ | Let's journey together! 💫

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