An Illinois man is accused of drunkenly drowning his wife in a hot tub — allegedly closing the lid on her as she “desperately” tried to climb out — and then leaving her to die, NBC News is reporting.
Eric Huska, 58, of the Chicago suburb of Wheeling, Illinois, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Authorities say that on Saturday night, Huska and his wife, Laura, had been drinking and were hanging out in their hot tub. At some point, according to police, Laura became “distressed” and wanted to get out of the hot tub. Eric tried to help her get out, but was unsuccessful. He then allegedly closed the hot tub lid on top of Laura, and walked into the house.
90 minutes later, he returned to the hot tub — and found Laura inside, unresponsive.
Police and an ambulance were called to the scene, and EMT’s tried to perform CPR on her, but were unsuccessful. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office has since ruled her death a homicide.
The entire thing was captured on surveillance video, although it has not been released to the public.
Wheeling police Deputy Todd Wolf says, via the Metro, that alcohol almost certainly played a role in Laura’s death.
“She wasn’t in any condition to get out on her own, and she would’ve had to lift the lid to get out.”
Eric Huska has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after police say he closed the lid of a hot tub on his wife, Laura Huska's, head while she was "distressed," trapping her inside and then leaving her to die at their Wheeling, Illinois, home: https://t.co/C37AjxONAi pic.twitter.com/HyxvtSSlhi
— Tom Cleary (@tomwcleary) February 12, 2019
It remains unclear, as of this writing, whether Huska deliberately murdered his wife — or if her death was a horrible, alcohol-fueled accident. However, a Metro reporter looked over a Facebook account belonging to a man using Eric’s name, claiming to be from Wheeling, and bearing pictures that resemble Eric and Laura. The reporter concludes that the Facebook page betrays no signs of any trouble in the couple’s marriage, and indeed shows several photos of an apparently-happy couple living their best lives. That Facebook page appears to have since been deleted.
Similarly, according to the Sun, Wheeling police say they have no records of any incidents where officers were dispatched to the Huska home.
Huska has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. If convicted and sentenced to the maximum possible penalty, he faces up to 14 years in prison. He has since been freed on a $10,000 (or $20,000, according to the Metro) personal recognizance bond. This means that he doesn’t have to put up any money, but that he will be fined that amount if he fails to turn up at any court appearances and is later apprehended.