Did Stupidity Cause This Death?


I hate to even ask this question, because we are dealing with intelligent people here.

The question focuses on Emily Fazzino’s parents. Her father owned a highly successful grocery store chain. And I’m always of the opinion that behind every successful man is a wife who had a lot to do with his success. Any successful business I’ve ever seen had at least one or two rough times in the beginning, and without the woman there to urge the man on, it fails.

Emily Fazzino had filed for divorce from her husband Alexander a few weeks before her death.

Emily Fazzino had a prescription drug problem. It may have started when she was a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, which she was when she and Alexander first met. I don’t think anybody involved in this disputes that she became a drug addict, perhaps after her marriage. She bounded between several doctors and several pharmacies getting her prescriptions filled.

I’m surprised the authorities weren’t called by some pharmacist who might have suspected Emily was abusing drugs, but it didn’t happen. After all she was the daughter of a prominent Boone, Iowa family. Surely no one of that rank would abuse drugs.

She went over to her parents’ house for three or four nights, the time was different in TV’s “Dateline Extra” and another story. She was going to detox supposedly to get clean in her upcoming legal battle to get custody of their three children.

If the TV program is to be believed, her parents certainly knew of her addiction. And they were using this three or four nights at their home for her to be cured of her drug addiction.

Surely if her family had not read anything about drug addiction, they had certainly seen something about it on TV, and the length of time it takes for a cure, if indeed a cure is ever successful.

There she was “drying out” more like she had become addicted to an 81 mg aspirin to prevent a heart attack when she was 60, rather than some hard drugs.

She went back to Alexander and their children after the three or four nights “detoxing” by going cold turkey, at her parents’ house.

Alexander maintains she was taking a bath upstairs, had been up there a while, when he went up to check on her, and found she had drowned in an overflowing bathtub where the water was still running.

In the pursuit investigation, Alexander said he cut off the water, and tried several times to lift her out of the bathtub, but she kept sliding back into the bathtub.

When he was tried for murder in early 2016, the prosecutors claimed he choked her to death, and that the marks on her face and neck were proof of it.

I’m sure when Alexander tried to pull her out of the bathtub, he was grabbing anything he could, not thinking that any marks on her head and neck would be considered murder marks.

To my readers, try lifting up someone who is unconscious, and you’ll find their weight seems to have doubled from the actual weight of that person. If it is an emergency, you will not be choosing how you lift them up.

The toxicology report said Emily had no drugs in her system when she died, I’m sure the results of her three or four days and nights of cold turkey.

But what her parents must have failed to consider is that the drugs might be out of her system, but the desire for drugs is still there, a desire that probably exceeds any desire by any human being to not use them anymore. At least that’s what I’ve been told by the druggies I know who made it through rehab, and were able to sustain themselves to be clean.

Emily called her parents that night she died, and told her father she was afraid of her husband Alexander. She apparently did not tell this to Alexander.

She had been in the bathtub when the paramedics arrived, and found that Alexander had been able to finally pull her from the tub and put her on the floor.

Again I must rely on my ex-druggie friends to tell me, but withdrawal from drugs cold turkey-wise is no different from delirium tremens that people experienced from alcohol withdrawal in the old days when alcohol and not drugs was all you had to worry about becoming addicted to.

I can imagine that Emily in her hallucinations saw eight-foot spiders, ghosts, and every other imaginable item that night when she went to take a bath. In her haste to dispense the imaginary she encountered reality when she slipped and fell (there was a bruise on her forehead) and was knocked out, and drowned when she fell into the water, or hit her head when she was thrashing around in the water trying to get rid of what she thought was real but wasn’t.

Alexander argued that she should have been in rehab for at least 30-60 days where professionals could have helped her. I’m sure if he suggested that to Emily, she would have been as receptive as telling Godzilla to remain calm.

Her parents knew she had a problem, but they were a prominent family, and Emily having to go for drug rehab would not have been a shining moment on their resume. Or perhaps they just did not realize the severity of the problem.

Alexander was found not guilty in Decorah in early 2016, a town enough removed from Boone, the site of the Fazzino home, and the site of probable prejudice against him to obtain an unbiased trial.

While all of this was going on, Fazzino’s daughter who was six at the time, developed acute myeloid lymphoma, but with treatment, seems to have finally gotten a clean bill of health.

Emily’s father said the jury found Fazzino not guilty, and everyone should just move on. Whether that’s talk or he really meant that, only time will tell.

I’m not sure whether Fazzino will let Emily’s parents see their grandkids ever again. I know it would be a strain, but to me he should consider it. What do my readers think?

We can consider if Emily’s parents had told her she had to go to rehab to get professional help, she might not have gone anyway. Whether they or Fazzino could have forced her to go to rehab, only Iowa law knows.

I do think that Alexander or her parents could have threatened Emily with the fact they would go to the police, and tell them she had obtained those drugs under a false pretense, and she could either go to jail or rehab. Nobody knows what Emily’s state of mind at that time, but I have to believe she would have chosen rehab rather than jail.

This is a sad case, a very sad case. Another one of those it might have been. Today Emily would have been 36. If she were clean, she and her husband Alexander might be raising their family, and their children would be happy instead of the life they now have to endure as they become older.

I’ve never found anything in murder cases I write about with any redeeming qualities. I’ve never found a death of this nature, as are others I write about similar in nature, to have any redeeming qualities.

I am involved when I write their stories. Sometimes I can’t quite leave it when I have finished writing the stories. They linger in my mind, but I find at some point, I must move on to retain my sanity.

Do I think that Emily had a deficiency in her character because of becoming overcome by drug use? No, not really. Many a strong person has had that to happen to them. From what I’ve been told, addiction to drugs is so powerful there is nothing else like it in the world.

The only true salvation might have been if Emily had thought before she took that extra pill or two beyond the prescribed dosage. Had thought of what it would do to her and to her family. She must not have thought about that.

1 comment

  • In reply to Jackie Matthey.
    Good point. Thanks.

    The amphetamines were major in being in her system. I do wonder at what point her brain may have become “fried” after she had been on drugs for an extended period of time, and would have affected her balance, even without amphetamines. She was a death waiting to happen.

    I run into medical mistakes more than I care to in some murder cases. One story I wrote about resulted in a second murder because the coroner ruled the first murder was an accident. The killer was connected to both cases. I blamed the coroner, a lady. After the second murder, the coroner went back and changed the first death to undetermined from accidental. The murderer was never tried for the first, what I choose to call murder, so I guess the only thing accomplished by changing the coroner’s ruling to undetermined was that if the coroner went out to the first victim’s grave site and read her the revised report. I doubt that happened.

    That’s the one that is glaring in my mind. There are others I could look up.

    TV programs also make mistakes. I try to find several stories to verify any one fact. I even read the court record in the trial if it is available. Most of that is quite boring, but now and then I run across an important point that was missed by TV.

    Sometimes the TV scriptwriter will, depending on whether he/she thinks the person going to trial is guilty or innocent, or is already on trial, or has been tried, the TV scriptwriter injects their opinion into the script by the way they write it. That should not be, but it is. It only takes a word or two here or there.

    I am reluctant to say there is collusion between the coroner and the district attorney’s office in not revealing information that is very relevant to the trial. Maybe once that’s happened in all the stories I’ve done.

    I did write about one prosecuting attorney in the DA’s office who hide info from the defense, and got a conviction. That case is up for a new trial, this time will all the exculpatory evidence available that would have produced a not guilty verdict in the first place.

    Glad to have an expert (you) to set the record straight.

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    2017/01/03 at 4:36 pm
    Select comment Jackie Matthey
    Im a medical technologist…..I watched the Dateline TV show on, The Quiet One”. Found it very interesting that they said she had no drugs in her system. The toxicology report they show on the program clearly said she was positive for amphetamines. So she was on drugs. Review the program and see for yourself…how could they not see what was plain for any medical provider and pathologist?

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