Authorities probe Tennessee woman's claim that doctor husband poisoned her coffee

Authorities are investigating a Tennessee woman's claim that her doctor husband tried to poison her by slipping high levels of barium into her coffee.

Liesa Hill, a Chattanooga pharmacist, filed an order of protection Friday against her husband, Dr. Hal Hill, saying she suspected he was poisoning her coffee and causing her to be ill, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Lab tests confirmed last week that a sample of coffee the woman gave authorities contained high levels of barium, a poisonous heavy metal that causes flu-like symptoms, according to the newspaper.

No charges have been filed, but Hamilton County and Lookout Mountain investigators spent about two hours Tuesday afternoon searching the couple's home in Lookout Mountain, Tenn., a few miles from Chattanooga.

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Liesa Hill said she stopped drinking the coffee after she suspected her husband of 14 years had been poisoning it for months. Her attorney, Chrissy Mincy, said her client's health has improved markedly.

Lawyers for Dr. Hal Hill, meanwhile, have denied the allegations against him.

"We strongly deny any allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct toward his wife," his attorney, Lee Davis, told the newspaper. "I expect there will be a full investigation, and I hope that nobody will rush to any conclusions."

"I think law enforcement and the community are aware of how a hasty, media-fueled investigation can sometimes lead to an unfair and wrong conclusion," he said.

Hal Hill, a 51-year-old doctor of infectious disease, is not allowed near his home since the emergency protective order was filed Friday. The couple have two children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.