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Pennsylvania woman poisoned grandmother's chili, police say

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania woman was charged with killing her grandmother by poisoning her chili more than three years ago, police said on Thursday.

Shelby Lyn Adams, 40, also is accused of stealing $12,000 from her grandmother's bank account, police said.

The grandmother, Ada Adams, 90, was found dead in her apartment in May 2008, but the case took more than three years to investigate, police said.

The charges against Shelby Lyn Adams, of York County, were filed on Wednesday.

"It's a long time, but it's a complicated case," Police Chief Tom Gross said. Autopsy results took months, and there was a personnel change within the police department during the investigation, he said.

"We don't have too many poisoning cases," he added. "It required a lot of scientific work on the part of several experts."

Just days before her death, Adams had visited a doctor, who proclaimed her to be in good health, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by police with a York County court.

The granddaughter, who admitted to police she had been having financial problems, told investigators she brought her grandmother Wendy's chili on May 25, 2008, the affidavit said.

She said she returned the next day and found the elderly woman was not feeling well.

The following day, Ada Adams was found dead by her son.

An autopsy found she died from an opiate overdose and that her system was loaded with a lethal level of morphine.

Police said in the affidavit that Shelby Lyn Adams had access to morphine because she worked in a local hospital and that she allegedly spiked the chili with the drug.

Before her grandmother's death, Shelby Lyn Adams allegedly stole $12,000 from her bank account, police said.

Shelby Lyn Adams has been jailed on charges of homicide, forgery and theft. No bail was set. It was not immediately clear if she has retained an attorney.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)

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