APPLETON, Wis. - Darshana Patel told authorities she became suspicious as she watched her boyfriend stir a smoothie at an ice cream store. When he offered it to her, she noticed powder on the cup's rim, she said. Patel, who was pregnant, feigned illness and did not drink it.
In a criminal complaint, Patel, a 39-year-old physician, says she sent the powder to a laboratory and it turned out to be mifepristone, the substance in the abortion pill known as RU-486.
The test results came too late: She suffered a miscarriage, her second within a year.
On Thursday, Manishkumar M. Patel, 34, an Appleton businessman who owns service stations, was accused of slipping the drug to her without her knowledge.
He was charged with seven felonies and two misdemeanors, including attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child, stalking, burglary, and two counts of violating a restraining order. A judicial official ordered him held on $750,000 bail.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 991/2 years in prison and a $92,000 fine.
Wisconsin is one of 37 states, including Pennsylvania but not Delaware and New Jersey, with a "fetal homicide" law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"These allegations are devious, diabolical and disturbing," Outagamie County Court Commissioner Brian Figy told Manishkumar Patel at a hearing.
Defense lawyer Thomas Zoesch said he expected his client would plead not guilty.
Patel is married to another woman, and Outagamie County sheriff's officers described him as manipulative and controlling of the alleged victim. She bought vehicles for him as well as the home he and his wife live in, they said.
Darshana Patel and Manishkumar Patel are not related. Patel is a common name among Indian Americans.
The complaint depicts a long-running affair that produced a child, now age 3, but soured.
Darshana Patel said she became pregnant with Manishkumar's child in September 2006 - a child he denied was his. She miscarried two months later.
She became pregnant with his child again in August 2007, the complaint said, and this time she noticed how attentive Manishkumar became.
He prepared meals for her at times. Police are investigating whether he tampered with her food before she discovered the allegedly tainted smoothie.
A short time after she said she noticed powder on the smoothie cup, her doctor saw problems in her hormone levels. She contacted the lab to test the substance in the cup. While waiting for a kit to test the substance, she miscarried.
The lab test then discovered the RU-486, the complaint said. She obtained a restraining order Nov. 13.
The complaint said a search of Manishkumar Patel's residence found an envelope containing pills labeled as mifepristone, or RU-486. He told deputies he got the pills from India, according to the complaint. Access to RU-486 is strictly regulated in the United States.