Real Name: Lissette Christine Nukida
Aliases: Lissette Corcova, Lissette Brown
Wanted For: Tampering, Attempted Murder, Escape
Missing Since: January 1993
Details: On February 8, 1991, two patients at the Casa Colina Peninsula Rehabilitation Center in Southern California, Diane Conn and Carolyn Myracks, were in acute distress. One had difficulty breathing while the other lost consciousness. Staff members recalled that the two were fine the night before. They had been admitted to the center to receive intravenous antibiotics for similar infections. Paramedics arrived as the staff worked to stabilize the patients.
Cuban-born nursing supervisor Lissette Nukida remained calm throughout the ordeal. Meanwhile, director of nursing Art Gregoire was alarmed from the start. He knew that what happened to the patients was not a coincidence. The patients were rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment. As a precaution, every I.V. bag in the facility was confiscated for analysis. It was later determined that the two patients were suffering from insulin shock. Fortunately, both were saved thanks to the prompt actions of the staff.
The results of the I.V. bag analysis were stunning: sixteen of the bags had been contaminated with potentially lethal doses of insulin and it was not accidental. FBI agent Denise Deppa was assigned to the case. One of the first person she questioned was Nukida, the nurse who had administered the I.V. She had worked off-and-on at the facility for six months as a replacement. During that time, she earned the reputation of being a diligent nurse who took her job very seriously. She was one of only a handful of people who had access to the I.V. bags. She claimed to have noticed nothing suspicious about the two bags in question.
Agent Deppa next spoke with Nukida's coworker Marie; she helped reconstruct the events of that day. During the incident, Nukida did not want to call 911 because she felt that it was not serious. However, Marie felt that it was a serious situation that needed emergency medical attention. Nukida was also not emotional, upset, or concerned during the incident. Gregorie expected her to be more upset or concerned about the patients.
Investigators determined that the product tampering had occurred at the rehabilitation center. Because she was the nursing supervisor and had access to the bags, Nukida was called in for another interview. She also stated that she was willing to take a polygraph test. Six months into the investigation, she submitted to the test. Midway through, she calmly confessed to tampering with the women's I.V.s by injecting insulin in them. She also confessed that she injected insulin in several plastic bags in a storeroom.
After Nukida was arrested, she told investigators that she did not intend to kill the two women. She claimed that she only did it because she believed that the prison doctors could help cure her headaches, which she claimed she had never received proper treatment for. She was charged with sixteen counts of tampering with consumer products and sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles to await trial. Interestingly, the prison staff who dealt with her claimed that as far as they knew, Nukida never once sought treatment for her alleged headaches.
While in jail, Nukida met a forty-year-old convicted heroin smuggler named Roger Brown. The two soon started a jailhouse romance. They met on several occasions and exchanged letters. In May of 1992, Nukida was released on bail. She moved in with her parents and finally sought treatment for her headaches. In June, Brown was transferred to the federal prison in Lompoc, California. The two remained in contact and wrote dozens of letters to each other. He also called her at every opportunity. Her family felt that she was obsessed with him.
For six months, Nukida visited Brown whenever she could. On October 17, 1992, the two were married in the prison chapel at Lompoc. Three months passed; Nukida continued to live with her parents in Los Angeles. At 2AM on January 5, 1993, she left her parents' home to visit Brown. That same day, Brown was released on parole; the couple vanished soon after. Two months later, Nukida's family received a letter from her, postmarked March 17, 1993 from Oxnard, California. She told her family that she loved them and asked for their forgiveness. She also mentioned that she was working at a school as both a cook and a nurse. Investigators want to find her; they fear that she may commit a similar crime if not found. Her husband Roger Brown is also wanted for violating the conditions of his parole.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the December 1, 1993 episode.
Results: Captured. In September of 1993, months before her story even aired, Nukida and Brown were arrested in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Brown was returned to prison for parole violation. In November of 1994, Nukida pleaded guilty to two counts of tampering with consumer products resulting in serious bodily injury, and four counts of tampering with consumer products. She was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. She has since been released.
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- United States v. Lissette Nukida