ORLANDO, Fla. – An astronaut charged with attempting to kidnap a rival for the affections of a space shuttle pilot showed no emotions when he told her he was dating another woman, according to court records released Tuesday.
On Feb. 5, Nowak drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront the other woman.
Police say Nowak, a mother of three, donned a wig and followed Colleen Shipman from an airport terminal to her car to confront her, then pepper sprayed her through a cracked window when Shipman wouldn't unlock the door. Police who arrested Nowak and searched her car reported finding a BB-gun, new steel mallet, knife and rubber tubing.
Nowak, 43, pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping and burglary with assault and was released on bond with an ankle monitoring device.
Investigation documents released late Monday and Tuesday by the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office shed some light on the astronauts' relationships.
The documents also include an undated letter to Oefelein's mother in which Nowak wrote that she was taking steps to divorce her husband so she could be with Oefelein.
"Bill is absolutely the best person I've ever known and I love him more than I knew possible," Nowak wrote.
A NASA spokesman didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
Since her arrest, Nowak, has told police that her relationship with Oefelein was more than a working relationship but less than a romantic one. But Oefelein, 41, told investigators they had been romantically involved since 2004.
Nowak's frantic road trip to confront Shipman — she wore adult diapers to avoid having to stop for breaks — may have been sparked after she uncovered steamy e-mails Shipman sent to Oefelein, including one he received during his mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in December, according to documents released Monday. The e-mails do not mention Nowak.
"First urge will be to rip your clothes off," Shipman wrote to Oefelein. "But honestly, love, I want you to totally and thoroughly enjoy your hero's homecoming."
In the letter to Oefelein's mother, Nowak thanked her for supporting her relationship with Oefelein, "especially since my parents are not as supportive right now."
"It really means a lot to me to have another mom to turn to," Nowak wrote. She and her husband separated recently after 19 years of marriage.