Orange County

OC Dermatologist Indicted for Allegedly Poisoning Husband With Drain Cleaner

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An Orange County grand jury indicted a dermatologist for allegedly poisoning her husband by pouring liquid drain cleaner into his tea over several weeks.

Irvine resident Yue “Emily” Yu, 45, was indicted on three felony counts of poisoning and one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

The alleged poisoning happened July 11, 15 and 25 of last year. Video captured Yu pouring the drain cleaner into her husband’s tea, which had been left on a counter. Her husband turned samples of the tea over to the Irvine Police Department.

The samples were later tested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which confirmed they were consistent with liquid drain cleaner, the district attorney’s office said.

“Our homes should be where we feel the safest,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a written statement. “Yet, a licensed medical professional capitalized on her husband’s daily rituals to torment her husband by systematically plying his tea with a Drano-like substance intending to cause him pain and suffering.

Yu and her estranged husband, Dr. Jack Chen, have been embroiled in a child custody dispute since last year. She has been granted visitation, but recently filed to have Chen pay support to her, claiming she has been unable to work since the poisoning allegations surfaced.

Chen, a 53-year-old radiologist, filed a restraining order against his 45-year-old wife, Yu, in August.


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Yu, who was arrested by Irvine police on suspicion of attempting to poison her husband, was released from jail after posting $30,000 bail in August. Chen said she called him asking him to post bail but he refused, according to the restraining order.

Yu's previous defense attorney, David Wohl, said she was pouring the clog cleaner in a small cup to clear out the pipes like anyone else would. He denied that she did anything wrong.

In the restraining order applications, Chen said he is “fearful” of living in the same Irvine home with Yu “due to (Yu's) attempts to poison me with Drano.”

Chen also alleged that “both children have suffered physical, verbal and emotional abuse by their mother ... and their maternal grandmother.”

Chen said that in March and April of last year he “started noticing a chemical taste in my lemonade” and soon after that he “developed symptoms that had me see the doctor, who performed an examination and diagnosed me with two stomach ulcers, gastritis and esophagitis.”

That prompted Chen to set up surveillance video in the kitchen, and he attached videos and photos that he alleged show his wife pouring Drano into his drinks.

He said the two began dating in 2011 and married July 4, 2012. He detailed multiple instances of alleged child abuse inflicted on their children.

“After the children were born, I became concerned about Emily's behavior,” Chen said. “Not only was she very demanding of me that I give her massages -- one time when I could not because I was sick she stepped on my head until I did -- she also began hiding money from me.”

He said his wife's “parenting – if you could call it that – revolves around yelling, insulting, verbally abusing, hitting, pushing, pulling and being emotionally abusive.”

He claimed that if the two children said they enjoyed spending time with him, she would “put them in their room and yell at them until they assured her they would not show affection toward me.”

He also accused her of “sleep deprivation” punishment at times.

Yu is scheduled to be arraigned April 18 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. She faces a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months if convicted on all counts.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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