Police: Man strangled ailing wife because he couldn’t afford her care

Posted at 9:29 AM, May 7, 2024

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (Court TV) — A Missouri man allegedly strangled his ailing wife because he couldn’t care for her anymore, according to court documents obtained by Court TV.

Ronnie Wiggs was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree murder. Authorities say Wiggs “choked” his wife as she lay in a hospital bed. A “Code Blue” was called and medical staff were able to regain her pulse, but she had no brain activity, states a probable cause statement. The victim was at the hospital for a new port for dialysis.

ronnie wiggs mugshot

Ronnie Wiggs (Independence Police Department)

Wiggs fled the hospital, but later returned with a witness identified as the victim’s son. Authorities say Wiggs confessed to the witness and a nurse that he killed his wife. Wiggs was initially arrested for first-degree domestic assault since his wife was not pronounced deceased at the time.

Authorities say Wiggs admitted to a detective that he “killed the victim by choking her and covering her mouth and nose to keep her from screaming.” He also admitted it wasn’t the first time he tried to kill his wife, with the last time being at a rehabilitation facility.

“The defendant advised he was depressed and killed the victim because he could not take care of her anymore and he could not pay the medical bills that had been acquired,” states a probable cause statement.

The victim was pronounced deceased on Saturday. Wiggs made his first appearance Monday. He is currently being held on a $250,000 bond.