Last Wednesday, a judge denied Ingolf Tuerk’s request to return home to his estranged wife, Kathleen McLean, who had accused him of repeatedly attacking her over the past few months.
The next day, the once-prominent surgeon returned to her Dover home just the same. This time, authorities said Monday as Tuerk was arraigned on murder charges, his violent outburst was fatal.
Tuerk told police that over drinks Thursday evening he and McLean had an argument and she hit him in the head with a glass object. Tuerk, standing over 6 feet tall with a muscular build, reacted by choking her until she passed out, according to a police report filed in court.
Tuerk, 58, ″realized he went too far,” police wrote.
In a panic, Tuerk carried her body to her Jeep, drove to a nearby pond, and dumped her remains, he told investigators.
When investigators arrived, they found McLean’s body in the water, naked from the waist up, according to police. Rocks and stones had been placed in the pockets of her pants.
On Friday, Tuerk was found unconscious in a Dedham hotel with superficial lacerations on his left wrist and a knife and needle nearby. While speaking with investigators at Norwood Hospital the next day, Tuerk waived his Miranda rights and confessed to killing his 45-year-old wife, according to the police report. He gave investigators detailed directions to the place he had dumped her body, which police found Saturday night.
Arraigned by video conference, Tuerk pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail. Dedham District Court Judge Michael Pomarole also revoked the personal recognizance bail set when Tuerk was charged with twice attacking McLean earlier this year.
Tuerk’s lawyer, Howard Cooper, did not challenge the no-bail order but said he may seek his client’s release once he receives police reports and other evidence from law enforcement. Pomarole ordered the investigative material to be provided to the defense attorney.
Tuerk was a top surgeon at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton before he was fired last year after the state attorney general’s office found he had fraudulently billed for more than $31,000 in bogus surgeries and services. He agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve the allegations, the attorney general’s office said.
Cooper said some of Tuerk’s former patients had reached out to him to express their support.
“Dr. Tuerk has long had a reputation as an extraordinary physician and surgeon,” Cooper told the Globe. “The number of people he has helped and whose lives he has saved over the years include people from every background, every nationality, every religion and race. I have had people reaching out to me, telling me that Dr. Tuerk saved their lives.”
McLean had three children and ran Birch Tree Energy and Healing in Sudbury, which offered Reiki and other holistic health services.
She and Tuerk married in Las Vegas in December after he surprised her with a marriage license, court documents show. The couple had been together for more than two years.
McLean filed for divorce on Feb. 7, a few days after she told police Tuerk was abusing her. He had lost his job and just sat around the house, she said.
“She said she was afraid of Ingolf and did not know what he would do once she had filed for divorce,” according to a police report. She told family members and two friends who were police officers about the abuse “in case something happened to her.”
She described a December incident when Tuerk slammed her head into the headboard of their bed, then used one hand to choke her while covering her nose and mouth with the other.
“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.”
In January, Tuerk picked her up and threw her to the ground during an argument, she told police. She hit the floor so hard that her shoes were knocked off.
After both incidents, Tuerk told her he loved her, she said. She also told police Tuerk would track her location using her iPhone, and in one instance, Tuerk called everyone on her recent contact list to find out who she had spoken with.
But earlier this month, McLean said she did not want to pursue criminal charges and asked that the restraining order against her husband be vacated.
“I feel safe and would like to bring my family back together with my husband,” McLean wrote in an affidavit filed May 2. “My goal is to salvage our family including reuniting with my husband as father and stepfather to my children.”
When Tuerk was found unresponsive in the hotel, he was given a dose of Narcan, but Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Lisa Beatty said Monday it was not certain that he had overdosed.
Around 4:30 a.m. Friday, Tuerk had texted a friend, according to court records.
“I am sorry brother but she is a vindictive devil, she played us all," he wrote. “I am really sorry brother but she manipulated us all.”