Irvine, CA

Yue Yu: Woman accused of poisoning husband three times indicted on charges; also faces divorce court

Lavinia Thompson

Yue “Emily” Yu once balanced it all: a successful career as a dermatologist, a marriage, two kids, and life in a $2.7 million mansion, but now, due to an indictment by the Orange County District Attorney’s office in a statement they released, she will be balancing both a divorce and a criminal trial, accused of poisoning her husband on three separate occasions.

A grand jury indictment was unsealed on April 5, 2023, revealing that the 45-year-old woman from Irvine, California has been charged with three felony counts of poisoning and one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury, according to the Orange County DA’s statement. Her arraignment is scheduled for April 18 in Santa Ana.
Yue YuPhoto byIrvine Police Department

Her husband, 53-year-old radiologist Dr. Jack Chen, began noticing a weird taste in his morning tea in early April 2022, the DA statement says. After being diagnosed with stomach ulcers, gastritis and inflammation of the esophagus, he installed cameras in the kitchen of the family home, CBS previously reported. What that video captured, prosecutors say, disturbed both Chen and the detectives to whom he handed over the footage.

On July 11, 18, and 25, 2022, the cameras captured Yue in the kitchen, pouring a substance from a bottle of liquid drain cleaner into her husband’s tea which he left on the counter, the DA statement alleges. Chen collected samples of the tea and turned it over to detectives, who handed it over to the FBI. Further testing “confirmed the substance was consistent with liquid drain cleaner.”

Police arrested Yue in early August 2022, then released her from custody after she posted a $30,000 bond, the statement says. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Yue tormented Chen with her actions.

“Our homes should be where we feel the safest. Yet, a licensed medical professional capitalized on her husband’s daily rituals to torment her husband by systematically plying his tea with a Drano-like substance intending to cause him pain and suffering,” Spitzer said. “Thank you to the Irvine Police Department for its diligence in thoroughly investigating this case and to Deputy District Attorney Diana King for her conscientious legal review that allowed the case to be successfully presented to the Grand Jury for an indictment.”

The former couple faced divorce court on April 11, 2023, according to the New York Post. After the hearing, Yue’s divorce attorney, David Dworakowski, told the New York Post that ants had infested the home and his client was merely trying “unconventional methods” to combat the insects. Pouring Drano into the hot lemonade tea drink would attract the ants, then kill them, he claimed. He then called it “odd” that Chen allegedly gave the footage to his divorce attorney before calling the police.

“Dr. Yu has been a physician for many years, has never been in trouble before and is a loving mom. We believe there is a sinister motive on the part of her ex-husband to take advantage of her in their divorce case,” Dworakowski told the Post.

His remarks echo those of Yue’s former attorney, David Wohl, who no longer represents Yue yet called Chen “desperate” to divorce Yue and take the kids, and was willing to ruin her life and reputation to do so, CBS previously reported. He defended Yue last year by claiming she poured Drano into the cups to prevent splashing while using the liquid for clogged drains.

Chen’s attorney, Steven Hittelman, said that Chen and the kids have a domestic violence restraining order against Yue, NBC reports. Yue is permitted supervised visits with the children, aged 8 and 9.

“We are satisfied that the grand jury saw the evidence and made the decision that we believe is the appropriate decision and this is another step in getting a horrible turn of events resolved,” Hittelman said.

Yue has filed to have Chen financially support her, as she claims his allegations have prevented her from working since last year, NBC says. Chen said in the restraining order that he refused to post bail for her after her arrest when she called him from prison last year.

Chen also accuses Yue and her mother of being emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive towards the kids, NBC reports.

Yue is required to “self-report to the Medical Board of California, which will determine whether she will be allowed to continue to practice medicine,” the DA statement says.

The DA adds that if convicted, Yue could face a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months.

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Long time true crime lover and blogger who has spent years reading and studying criminal psychology. I also write mystery fiction books, and have a diploma in journalism.


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