On June 6 th, 2012, AnneMarie Fitzpatrick was celebrating her wedding anniversary with her husband, Joseph Fitzpatrick III. AnneMarie drowned when the ATV she and her husband were riding backed down an embankment into a creek on their property at 2200 Old Forge Road, Chanceford Township, York County. At the time, Joseph Fitzpatrick III told emergency responders he pulled his wife out of the creek and performed CPR until crews arrived.
Today, after a 21 month long investigation, State Police arrested Joseph Fitzpatrick III and charged him with criminal homicide. On the night of the accident, Fitzpatrick told police his wife was not very experienced at driving an ATV. After a nice dinner and riding the ATV along the creek and sitting and reminiscing until sunset, AnneMarie wanted to build a fire. The couple decided to ride back to their house to retrieve a propane torch. The house is up a steep hill from the creek, and the next thing Joseph remembered was flipping backwards. He told police he searched for his wife for several minutes and then called 911 from a cell phone he’d left on a nearby table. As he was on the phone, he spotted AnneMarie floating on the opposite side of the creek.
Investigators noted that while AnneMarie suffered bruises and abrasions all over her body, even a broken rib, Joseph had no visible injuries, despite reportedly experiencing the same fall on the ATV from the bank into the creek. Troopers say Fitzpatrick changed his story in their interview with him just two days after AnneMarie’s death. He initially said he had shifted the ATV into gear, then later said he did not. He also told the investigators that his marriage was solid and there were no problems between him and AnneMarie.
But AnneMarie left behind evidence that there were serious problems. One of her co-workers found a note written in AnneMarie Fitzpatrick’s daily planner that read: “06/06/12. If something happens to me- JOE.”
During a review of her emails from work, investigators discovered one sent to ‘email@example.com’ on June 6th at 10:30am. The subject line read “if something happens to me.” The address ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ was AnneMarie’s personal e-mail account. The e-mail reads, “Joe and I are having marital problems. Last night we almost had an accident where a huge log fell on me. Joe was on the pile with the log and had me untying a tarp directly below.”
Police also found evidence that Joseph Fitzpatrick was having an affair when they dug into his work e-mail account and Facebook page. Fitzpatrick and his love interest exchanged multiple proclamations of love and sexual attraction. Fitzpatrick told his love interest he was going to leave AnneMarie.
When police interviewed Fitzpatrick’s love interest, she told them she had given Joseph an ultimatum: if he wanted to be with her, he had to leave his wife.
That was on or about June 2, 2012, according to court documents.
She also told police that Joe told her he was going to talk to AnneMarie about separation and divorce on June 6th. He called his mistress around 10 pm and told her there had been an accident involving his wife. He called her again that night as he drove himself to the hospital, and again on the morning of June 7th. He told her to delete messages between the two of them from her Facebook page. He also warned her that police would be coming to speak with her.
Investigators discovered Fitzpatrick conducted two internet searches in the days before his wife’s death. On June 1st, Fitzpatrick did a Google search using the words “life insurance review during contestability period.” Then, on June 5th, he Googled “polygraph legal in which states.”
Fitpatrick had three life insurance policies on AnneMarie and stood to gain $1,714,000 from her death.
An accident reconstructionist says if Joseph Fitzpatrick and AnneMarie experienced the fall the way Joseph describes it happened there is no way he would not have suffered similar injuries. Further, a certified expert on aquatic death, Andrea Zaferes, reviewed the evidence in the case and says the facts and circumstances reported by Joseph Fitzpatrick could not have happened.
Watch FOX43 News’ Katie Kyros full report above.