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North Dakota woman pleads guilty to poisoning an old friend of a $30 million inheritance

A North Dakota woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing her boyfriend of 10 years by poisoning him because she thought he would leave her after inheriting $30 million, according to court records and officials.

Ina Thea Kenoyer, 48, was arrested Oct. 30 and charged with killing Steven Edward Riley Jr., 51, last month, according to Minot police. Police believed Kenoyer had “financial motives to kill Riley.”

On September 3, Riley went to the airport with friends to meet a lawyer because he thought he would receive a large inheritance, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in the North Central Judicial District of North Dakota. His friends told investigators he planned to leave Kenoyer, with whom he had been in a relationship for 10 years, after receiving his inheritance.

Another friend told investigators that Kenoyer threw his belongings out of the home they shared that afternoon because she was angry that Riley would break up with her after receiving an inheritance of more than $30 million, according to the affidavit. It is not clear whether Riley had actually inherited a large sum of money.

At the airport, Riley told his friends that he felt drunk despite not drinking alcohol, complained of stomach pain and almost fell over while trying to walk. They wanted to take him for medical treatment, but Kenoyer, who claimed to have medical training, said Riley was “suffering from heat stroke and just needed to go home to rest after the airport,” according to the affidavit.

The next day, an ambulance was called to a home in Minot, North Dakota, where Riley was found unconscious. He never regained consciousness and died on September 5, according to the affidavit.

An autopsy showed the cause of death was poisoning, police said.

An attorney for Kenoyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Riley’s family and friends told police they were concerned Kenoyer had poisoned him with antifreeze because she had made comments in the past, and after his death, made comments that he had been poisoned, despite not having any information about his condition received from medical professionals. according to the statement.

After Riley’s death, Kenoyer told detectives that she considered herself his common-law wife and planned to share his inheritance with his son. When she was told that North Dakota does not recognize common-law marriage and that she was not entitled to Riley’s inheritance, Kenoyer became enraged, the affidavit said.

Kenoyer also told detectives that she made Riley sweet tea the day he became ill, which easily disguises the ethylene glycol in antifreeze, according to the affidavit.

Kenoyer was taken to the Ward County Jail after her arrest and charged with murder. She pleaded guilty to intentional murder with extreme indifference. She will be sentenced on August 13, according to court records.

An attorney for Kenoyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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