Ingolf Tuerk pleads not guilty: Former star Boston surgeon confesses to strangling wife to death, dumping body in pond during a fit of drunken rage. Career implosion.
A prominent Massachusetts surgeon who saw his career implode after becoming embroiled in false medical billing has admitted to strangling his wife to death during a fit of rage and then leaving her body in a pond near their Dover home, according to prosecutors.
Ingolf Tuerk, 58, pleaded not guilty on Monday in Dedham District Court to murdering his wife, Kathleen McLean, 45. The former ‘star surgeon’ was denied bail.
According to prosecutors, Tuerk was found unresponsive in a Dedham hotel on Friday with cuts to his wrists, arms and legs a day after his wife’s murder.
A syringe was also found nearby, according to NBC Boston.
According to investigators, Tuerk and McLean were in their home in Dover on Thursday night when they began to argue while drinking.
Tuerk told investigators that during their argument, McLean struck him with an object, possibly some kind of glass, according to MassLive.
Tuerk told investigators that he started to choke McLean until she passed out.
Prosecutors said Tuerk then realized that his wife was dead inside the couple’s bedroom.
The surgeon is then alleged to have picked up McLean’s lifeless body and hauled it into a vehicle.
Tuerk then took his wife’s body to a nearby home that he knew was unoccupied at the time, according to prosecutors.
The doctor placed rocks inside his wife’s pants in order to weigh her body down. Tuerk then hid her body in a pond on the property, according to authorities.
After his arrest, Tuerk is said to have waived his rights and explained to police where to find his wife’s body.
Surgeon found at nearby motel unconscious with syringe nearby
Investigators found McLean’s body at around 11pm on Saturday.
A medical examiner said McLean had bruising around her neck and signs that she had been strangled.
Dedham police on Friday received a phone call from a man who said his ‘ex-wife,’ McLean, was missing.
The man, who later turned out to be Tuerk, said he believed McLean was located at the Residence Inn hotel in Dedham.
Tuerk told police nobody had seen his wife since she was inside their home at 1am on Friday.
When Dedham police went to Tuerk’s hotel room, they knocked, but nobody answered.
Management then gave officers a key to the room. According to prosecutors, when they opened the door they found Tuerk unresponsive.
He had suffered lacerations to his left wrist and was apparently drinking, according to prosecutors.
Officers also found a knife nearby. They then administered Narcan to Tuerk after seeing a syringe.
The officers were unsure if Tuerk injected himself with some kind of drug, according to prosecutors.
Tuerk was then rushed to Norwood Hospital.
Investigators then tried to locate McLean by pinging her phone. The ping led officers to the couple’s home in Dover, but she wasn’t there.
‘I went too far’
Law enforcement officials then began a search for McLean, knowing full well that she had complained about being physically abused by her husband.
On Saturday morning, Tuerk regained consciousness and was awake and responsive at Norwood Hospital.
Prosecutors said that he revealed what happened on the night of the murder.
‘He said that the victim struck his head with an object,’ according to the prosecutor.
‘He said that he reacted to that aggressive situation and that he had choked the victim.’
Tuerk told investigators that McLean was fighting back but she eventually lost consciousness.
The surgeon said he realized ‘he went too far.’
Weeks before her death, McLean accused Tuerk of ‘strangling’ and ‘cutting her with scissors’ and was so afraid of his ‘abuse’ that she took out a restraining order.
McLean’s body was discovered by Massachusetts State Police in a pond near the couple’s Valley Road home in Dover on Saturday.
Records have revealed mother-of-three McLean told police her husband repeatedly abused her during their marriage, just months before her murder.
The couple, who had been together for two years, were married in December.
Just two months later in February, Tuerk was facing charges that he had choked her and cut her with scissors, The Boston Globe reported.
Dr. Ingolf Tuerk of Dover is facing murder charges after the Norfolk District Attorney alleges he killed is wife, 45-year-old Kathleen McLean. Neighbors say her body was found in this pond a half mile from their home. Tuerk, a urologist, was taken into custody overnight. #wcvb pic.twitter.com/dXnNUtH99c
— Peter Eliopoulos (@petereliopoulos) May 17, 2020
Dover wife files for divorce from abusive surgeon husband
Ingolf Tuerk pleads not guilty: McLean told officers Tuerk was physically abusing her and she was filing for divorce.
‘She said she was afraid of Ingolf and did not know what he would do once she had filed for divorce’, the report said.
She confided in family members and two friends who were police officers about the abuse ‘in case something happened to her’, the Globe added.
New details have emerged about Tuerk’s alleged volatile behavior, which was reportedly fueled by heavy drinking and a despondent attitude that got worse after he was fired from his job.
McLean went to police in Dover on February 3 and told investigators that she was being physically abused by Tuerk and that she wanted a divorce, according to The Boston Globe.
She described one particularly violent incident that was detailed in a police report.
According to McLean, she and Tuerk got into an argument while they were in bed in December.
During the fight, Tuerk slammed McLean’s head into the headboard and then used one hand to strangle her, according to the Globe.
Tuerk is then alleged to have used his other hand to cover her nose and mouth.
‘McLean stated that she felt like “she had trouble breathing and thought she was going to die” and “everything went black”,’ according to the police report.
‘During the incident she screamed and one of her kids heard her.’
McLean also told police that in January, Tuerk picked her up and threw her to the ground during an argument.
She told police that she hit the floor so hard that it knocked the shoes she was wearing off of her feet, according to the police report.
McLean told investigators that after both incidents, her husband told her he loved her.
She also described to police another incident she called ‘bizarre.’
McLean told investigators that Tuerk picked up a pair of scissors and told her: ‘I’m the king of this castle…you are only a guest.’
Tuerk then cut off a small piece of her hair, according to McLean. When she tried to stop him, he sliced her hand.
McLean told police that this incident took place right in front of her son.
She said he had lost his job and sat around the house.
Angry and very controlling:
One friend said Mclean had described her husband as ‘angry and very controlling’ and claimed ‘he put hand on her in the past’.
In March, McLean called a newspaper reporter with the Dover-Sherborn Press and revealed that she was frightened of her husband.
She told the newspaper she didn’t feel she was being adequately protected by the criminal justice system.
Weeks earlier, Tuerk was arrested for violating a restraining order that his wife sought against him.
Tuerk was arraigned in Dedham District Court on February 6. He pleaded not guilty.
The next court hearing was postponed to a later date.
In addition to charges of violating a restraining order, Tuerk was also faced with charges of assault and battery on a household member, a charge of strangulation/suffocation and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
But court papers reveal that early this month the pair had reconciled, with McLean asking for the restraining order to be lifted.
She said she did not want to pursue criminal charges with the couple agreeing to attend couple’s counseling.
‘I feel safe and would like to bring my family back together with my husband’, she wrote in a May 2 court affidavit.
A former athlete meets Reiki teacher
McLean, a Reiki teacher and master, was a mother to three children of her own while Tuerk is the father of two teenage boys, court records show.
Reiki, or energy healing, is a form of alternative medicine that involves hands-on treatments that are used to cure illness.
According to Twitter Tuerk was born in Germany and he describes himself on social media site as a ‘robotic surgeon’.
He was also a member of the East German Olympic decathlon team in 1980, but he quit athletic competition when he entered medical school.
LinkedIn listed the surgeon as chief of urology at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston.
In 2009, St. Elizabeth’s used Tuerk on its billboard that was posted above the Massachusetts Turnpike.
The hospital even featured Tuerk in a video infomercial. According to the Globe, Tuerk was praised as an innovator in the field of laparoscopic surgery.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive, low-risk operation in which doctors can look inside a body by making tiny incisions in the abdomen or pelvis.
Star Boston surgeon’s career implodes:
According to friends of McLean, Tuerk began to grow more violent as his career was on the decline.
‘The slow deterioration of his career as doctor and surgeon is when he started getting more violent,’ Larry Corcoran, 50, told the Globe.
A spokesperson from the hospital’s parent, Steward Medical Group, provided a statement that said Tuerk was fired in February.
‘Dr. Tuerk has not seen or treated patients as part of Steward Medical Group for more than a year. He was formally terminated in February,’ said Patrick Lombardo, Executive Vice President, Human Resources.
Tuerk, while working for the hospital, was accused of falsely billing Medicaid and agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve the allegations under the terms of a settlement made in November, the office of Attorney General Maura Healey says.
A statement from Healey’s offices says Tuerk, ’caused improper billings to MassHealth of over $31,000.’
Tuerk also agreed to implement a multi-year compliance program at his own expense if he continues to practice medicine in Massachusetts after 2019.
‘False billing is a serious issue that hurts people in need of health care,’ says Healey in the statement.
‘It is important that all doctors follow the law, and our office will aggressively pursue those who overbill our health care system.’
Tuerk also was alleged to have billed MassHealth for office visits that ‘used billing codes indicating he was present or supervising other medical professionals, despite patients only being seen by an unsupervised resident or fellow.’
It remained unclear what led to the star surgeon ‘falsifying billing’ records and to what degree that was reflective in medical practice.
After his firing, Tuerk is alleged to have turned to heavy drinking.
The surgeon prior to the deal had been credited for removing a cancerous tumor discovered in Massachusetts man after he was he was injured in a shark attack in 2015.