Homicide detectives are working on a Brooklyn murder mystery after autopsies determined that a 63-year-old woman and her four-year-old grandson were both fatally poisoned last year.
Law enforcement sources said Tofoon Man, 63, of Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights initially sought treatment at Mount Sinai Hospital of Brooklyn on Feb. 17, 2021 after complaining of stomach pains while inside her home. But her condition rapidly deteriorated and she died at the hospital on Feb. 17.
Three months later, authorities said, Man’s grandson — Wilhelm Ducatl, 4, of 65th Street in Mapleton — began complaining of stomach pains on the morning of May 24, prompting a call to 911. EMS rushed him to Maimonides Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition; Ducatl died there two days later.
The two suspicious deaths prompted a joint investigation by the NYPD and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. As part of the probe, Man’s body was exhumed for further examination.
On Feb. 16 — nearly a year after Man’s death — the OCME reported to the NYPD that both Man and Ducatl died of poisoning. Sources familiar with the investigation said that the official cause of their deaths was acute thallium poisoning.
Thallium, a heavy metal that’s produced as a chemical byproduct, is typically used in the production of electronics. It has some medical uses, as a radioisotope of thallium is used in nuclear stress tests.
The heavy metal is also used in soluble, highly toxic salts that are commonly found in rat poison and insecticides.
It’s not clear, at this point, exactly how Man and Ducatl had taken in the fatal toxin, according to authorities.
A source familiar with the investigation said that Man had been living with Ducatl and his parents at the time of her death. The child’s parents were also in the midst of a custody battle, the source added.
So far, detectives have not yet publicly identified a suspect in the case, or have anyone in custody for questioning. No arrests have been made, and the investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding the homicides can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.