Police: Husband of drowned South Barrington woman admitted 'marriage a mistake'

  • Frank Buschauer

    Frank Buschauer

Updated 7/30/2019 6:46 PM

A former Illinois State Police investigator who interviewed Frank Buschauer a few weeks after his wife drowned in a bathtub at the couple's South Barrington home testified Buschauer said he "regretted getting married" and his "marriage was a mistake."

Former investigator Cindy Tencza, who retired in June, testified Tuesday that Buschauer initially told her and her partner that his marriage to Cynthia Hrisco was good. Questioned further, he expressed regrets, she said.


Hrisco, 47, was found lying on the floor of the couple's master bathroom early on Feb. 28, 2000. A Cook County medical examiner ruled she drowned but listed the manner of death as undetermined. In 2012, a second Cook County medical reviewed the autopsy and amended Hrisco's death certificate to include "homicide" as the manner of death.

Authorities charged Buschauer, 70, with his wife's death in 2013. They say the arguments over the construction of their Overbrook Road home, which was built by Buschauer's cousin, soured their relationship. At the time, police considered Buschauer, a chemical engineer with UOP in Des Plaines, a person of interest, but until 2013, they lacked sufficient evidence to charge him. He has pleaded not guilty.

Responding to their question about whether it was possible he killed his wife, Buschauer said "no," Tencza said. Presented with an alternative scenario that he killed her but didn't remember, Tencza testified, Buschauer said "there was a possibility" that between reading, watching television and dozing while his wife bathed, "he may have done something but he doesn't remember."

Questioned by defense attorney Cindy Giacchetti, Tencza said Buschauer was very cooperative, admitting he and his wife had problems and were attending counseling. Tencza said Buschauer signed a Miranda waiver and consented to a search of his home. She confirmed it was police who raised the possibility he killed his wife.

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"You were presenting different scenarios that could have taken place that evening," Giacchetti said.

"Correct," Tencza said.

"He never said he killed his wife," Giacchetti said. "If he had he would have been arrested."

Tencza said Buschauer asked for "truth serum" and was willing to take a polygraph test. The former officer also agreed with Giacchetti's statement that Buschauer "denied more than once he killed his wife accidentally."

However, on redirect from Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Maria McCarthy, Tencza testified Buschauer told them it was possible he killed her but didn't remember.

Testimony will resume Aug. 12.

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