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What we know about the case of a Dover woman allegedly killed by her surgeon husband

A Facebook photo of Dr. Ingolf Tuerk and his wife Kathleen McLean.
A Facebook photo of Dr. Ingolf Tuerk and his wife Kathleen McLean.

A former star surgeon at a Boston hospital charged with murdering his estranged wife at their Dover home remained held without bail Tuesday as State Police detectives and crime scene technicians continued their investigation authorities said.

Here’s what we know about the allegations against Ingolf Tuerk, who is accused of killing 45-year-old Kathleen McLean.

Tuerk pleaded not guilty, but police say he confessed

Tuerk, 58, pleaded not guilty in the killing during his arraignment Monday before Dedham District Court Judge Michael Pomarole, officials said.

But Tuerk told investigators he had argued with McLean Thursday night and choked her until she passed out after she hit him in the head with a glass object, according to a police report.


Tuerk “realized he went too far,” and used McLean’s Jeep to take her body to a pond near her Valley Road home in Dover, where he dumped the remains, according to the report.

Tuerk was a high-profile surgeon until he was accused of fraud

Until recently, Tuerk had been a top surgeon at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, lauded for his innovations in laparoscopic surgery.

But in November, Tuerk agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve allegations that he caused his employer to inappropriately bill the state’s Medicaid Program for more than $31,000 in bogus surgeries and services, according to the state attorney general’s office.

In February, Tuerk was terminated from Steward Medical Group, which operates St. Elizabeth Medical Center, the company said in a statement.

McLean said Tuerk was abusive from the start of their months-long marriage

The couple married in Las Vegas in December after Tuerk surprised McLean with a marriage license, court documents show. They had been together for more than two years.

By Feb. 3, Tuerk was physically abusing McLean, she told Dover police. McLean said Tuerk had lost his job and just sat around the house, according to a police report.

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, according to the report. 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.


In a separate interview with Dover police, Tuerk said there had been no physical violence, and the only time he had touched McLean was when she tried to take his phone.

McLean obtained a restraining order but changed her mind

Tuerk was charged in February for two attacks against McLean and released on personal recognizance, which Pomarole revoked Monday. McLean obtained a restraining order against Tuerk, and on Feb. 7 she filed for divorce, documents show.

On May 2, McLean said she did not want to pursue criminal charges and asked that the restraining order against her husband be vacated.

On May 13, a judge denied Tuerk’s request to return home to McLean, but the next day he returned anyway, authorities said. They argued, McLean struck Tuerk with a glass object, and he choked her, according to investigators.

McLean’s body was found sometime after 11 p.m. Saturday, naked from the waist up, with stones in her pockets, police said.

John. R. Ellement, Tonya Alanez, and John Hilliard of the Globe staff and correspondents Lucas Phillips and Abigail Feldman contributed to this report.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.