Investigation Discovery’s ‘Til Death Do Us part’ narrates the shocking murder of Frank Rodriguez in the hands of his wife, Angelina Rodriguez, in an episode called ‘Flowers on the Road.’ The crime is a perfect example of how a tiny slip in a heinous plan can eventually lead the law directly to the culprit. Besides, the case has been distinguished from others, primarily due to the murder weapons: Oleander and anti-freeze. The unique nature of the story had us deeply intrigued to find out more about it. If you are curious, too, we might have the answers to your questions.
How Did Frank Rodriguez Die?
Born in 1959, Frank Rodriguez was the second among the six children of the Rodriguez family. He grew up in rural Illinois with his siblings. Even though he played football, his heart lay with baseball. In an episode of NBC’s ‘Dateline’ called ‘The Devil in Disguise,’ Frank’s sisters talk about the personality he kept. According to them, he was quite the prankster and loved cracking jokes with them. He was also known for lending a helping hand every now and then. After graduating high school, Frank enlisted in the Navy and, around the same time, got married to a local girl. However, the marriage ended in a divorce owing to Frank’s constant absence from his home because of his job.
Following his divorce, Frank floundered around switching up jobs and relationships till he found a place called Angel Gate Academy in San Luis Obispo. He excelled in that job and was very good with the kids. It is here that he met Angelina Rodriguez first in February 2000 and very soon came to call her his soulmate. Their whirlwind romance soon took to the aisle, and they were married by April 2000. Angelina already had a daughter who was nine years old at the time of her marriage to Frank. Her name is Autumn. While Frank got the family he had been yearning for, this was Angelina’s fourth marriage.
The marriage, which seemed to be the beginning of a beautiful life ahead for Frank, would soon be the cause of his death. After the wedding, Frank was later offered a teaching job at Los Angeles Unified, and the couple moved to Montebello, California. On September 9, 2000, only a few months after their marriage, the police turned up at the Rodriguez residence in the 800 block of North Marconi Street in Montebello, early in the morning. They were received by Angelina, who led them through the door to her husband. Frank was lying dead in a pool of blood on the floor of the couple’s bedroom. The preliminary investigation that followed unraveled a web of lies.
A subsequent autopsy conducted on Frank’s body failed to determine the exact cause of death. Frank had maintained good health throughout his life. Eventually, the sheriff’s detective Steinwand and his partner, Joe Holmes, took over the case and ordered additional tests from the lab after Angelina told them she believed that Oleander and Anti-freeze had been used as a poison to kill her husband. The test reports revealed the presence of both the poisons in Frank’s body. Angelina was arrested thereafter.
Who Killed Frank Rodriguez?
Angelina Rodriguez, Frank Rodriguez’s wife of a few months, killed him. The investigators who responded to Angelina’s call on September 9, 2000, were rather surprised with her reaction to her husband’s death. Angelina seemed to be too calm and composed for someone who had just lost her husband. She seemed to have no problem talking to people about the case. Moreover, court documents point out that she contacted her insurance company just a few minutes after the coroner’s investigators left the residence. According to a West Covina insurance salesman, she called to inquire after the life insurance of $250,000 she had taken out on her husband just three weeks prior to his death.
During the interrogations in the weeks after Frank’s death, Angelina tried to avert the blame on one of Frank’s co-workers. When she was pressurized by the authorities, she mentioned poison and how she believed that her husband had been poisoned by Oleander and anti-freeze. The confirmation of her thoughts through test reports left no space for doubt. Angelina was arrested in February 2001 when she was busy hatching yet another plan to trap their landlord in a legal case for asbestos poisoning.
During Angelina’s trial, it was proved that soon after the insurance policy had been drawn, Frank started feeling ill. Detectives said that Angelina used oleander extracts to weaken her husband and then killed him with the help of anti-freeze infused Gatorade while pretending to nurse him back to health. She had previously tried to kill Frank on another occasion when she loosened the natural gas valves in their garage.
Angelina was convicted of Frank’s murder in October 2003, along with special allegations that she had committed the murder for financial gains. She was additionally implicated in the death of her 13-month-old daughter back in 1993, based on the evidence presented. While in jail, awaiting trial, Angelina also tried to threaten a witness from testifying against her. The court sentenced Angelina to death on January 12, 2004. The stark absence of any remorse in Angelina’s reaction throughout her trial left the court shocked, so much so that it elicited a statement from Judge William R. Pounders. “In the past 20 years, I have never seen a colder heart,” he said.
Read More: Where Is Angelina Rodriguez Now?