• Rod Kackley

Poisoned At Church: A Shocking True Crime Story


Seventeen years ago this month, Dale Anderson got some coffee and snacks after Sunday morning services at the Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church in New Sweden, Maine. Fifteen other people did the same. All of them became violently ill. When Dale and his wife got home, he says, "I started puking my guts out." His friends who had the coffee and snacks all had the same reaction. They were rushed to a hospital in Caribou. From there, Dale and several others, the most seriously ill, were rushed to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. All survived except one. Seventy-eight-year-old Walter Morrill died. Twenty-four hours later, police, doctors, and poison control specialists had the answer. All sixteen parishioners had been poisoned. Someone dumped arsenic in the coffee. But who? Was there someone evil in the church who'd poisoned sixteen people and killed Walter Morrill? The killer answered that question. Five days later, a fellow church member, Danny Bondeson, shot and killed himself on his family farm. And, yes, he left a note. Danny admitted putting the arsenic in the coffee the previous Sunday. "I acted alone. I acted alone," Danny wrote in his suicide note. But why? The New York Times reported the poisoning was the result of a theological battle when two Lutheran churches were consolidated into one, Gustaf Adolph Lutheran. One set of the faithful said the priest should face the congregation when blessing the host. The other side said the priest should be facing the altar. Danny, an usher at Gustaf Adolph Lutheran, was on the losing side. So, one Sunday, while everyone else was worshiping, he was dumping arsenic into their coffee. A state police investigation concluded Danny told the truth in his final note, he acted alone. But Dale Anderson doesn't believe it. "There's more to it than Danny," he told WGME-TV. "He maybe knew something about it, but I think there's more people out there."



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