A Canadian woman stands accused of poisoning a Pinellas Park man for his money, but there’s far more to the story than that. Police say it’s a classic case of “black Widow” murders with a link to our city.
Investigators say Melissa Ann Shepard met men online and established a relationship with them. That’s what they say happened with a man in his 70s from Pinellas ark. Alex Strategos was a divorcee who ran across Shepard on a dating site. Strategos had a history of small strokes. One night, while the couple had a meal in a restaurant, the man suffered a larger stroke and was forced to getbetter at his home for a while. Shepard volunteered to move into the house with Strategos to help him convalesce. While the family thought the offer was a bit odd, they welcomed her help.
That’s when things went straight to hell. The man suffered more ailmsnts, sending him to the hospital 8 times in 2 months. When tested, doctors found high levels of diazapines in Strategos’ system. The family began to suspect Shepard of trying to poison their dad. That’s when the man was placed in a nursing home, where he eventually got better. As their father got better, family members discovered that the woman had gained power of attorney over their dad’s estate. That means that shepard could sell his home, his car and many other things. That’s when a full investigation was launched into the woman, and what they discovered was astounding.
Melissa Ann Shepard had over 30 convictions and numerous aliases. She had multiple husbands who had all died from mysterious circumstances. She had done time for fraud. Police suspect that greed was the reason for the woman’s crimes. She was convicted on manslaughter charges for the death of Strategos and served 6 years. Shepard is now an advocate for women who have suffered abuse. The story is currently being featured on “Black Widow Murders” on Oxygen. Source: Oxygen.com
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