ST. PETERSBURG — The slaying of Dr. Teresa Sievers was as mystifying as it was gruesome: After she didn’t show up for work one day last June, a worried colleague found the petite redhead’s body, bloodied and mutilated, face-down in her kitchen, with 17 crescent-shaped indentations on her head.
Someone, according to documents, bashed her with a hammer.
Why anyone would want to kill the 46-year-old married mother of two was a disturbing mystery.
To her patients, friends and family, Sievers was a popular, competent and friendly doctor who talked about the importance of holistic care and championed women’s health by writing columns in local newspapers and magazines. Some half-jokingly called her “Mother Teresa” because of her compassionate nature.
Two months after Sievers’ death, two men from Missouri were charged with killing her, but authorities revealed nothing about why the suspects might have done it.
The Lee County State Attorney’s office recently released thousands of pages of documents in the case. An affidavit from a lieutenant with the county Sheriff’s Office revealed this explosive allegation: Sievers’ husband orchestrated the killing. That allegation now figures into court wrangling over custody of Sievers’ children.
Mark Sievers has not been charged with any crime. The allegation that he was involved in his wife’s killing surfaced when discovery documents were released in the cases of Curtis Wayne Wright Jr., 47, and Jimmy Rodgers, 25, the two men charged in her death.
Sievers’ attorney, Lee Hollander, said his client denies any involvement in his wife’s slaying.
Witness statements in court documents allege that Sievers hired Wright - a longtime friend - to kill his wife. Wright then planned to pay Rodgers $10,000 to help him, the documents say. Rodgers is in a Missouri jail on an unrelated gun charge.
According to the documents, the Sieve rs family went to Connecticut to visit relatives in June, but Teresa Sievers returned alone to the family’s Bonita Springs home.
Detectives linked Rodgers and Wright to the crime by using rental car GPS records and surveillance camera at a Fort Myers Wal-Mart where they were spotted buying flushable wet wipes, 30 gallon trash bags, a lock pick set, black shoes, water shoes and black towels.
The detectives also said Mark Sievers called his own mother - who was at the Florida home caring for the family’s pets - and asked her to leave the house alarm de-activated because his wife was expected to arrive later that night.
Rodgers told his girlfriend that Wright was hired to kill Teresa Sievers for insurance money, and that Wright was to pay Rodgers $10,000 for his assistance, according to an account the girlfriend gave investigators.
The documents also paint a portrait of a marriage punctuated by affairs and financial troubles. Sievers took out several life insurance policies on his wife, totaling $4.4 million.
Mark Sievers was in court Monday because the state Department of Children and Families asked a judge to remove his two daughters from his care. The agency argued that Sievers’ likely arrest and the nature of the allegations against him warranted the removal.
DCF program administrator Theresa Fracek told the court she believes there’s an “impending danger” to the children based on the documents released last week.
“There’s a lot of concern about what that reaction is going to be to the children if this becomes an arrest,” Fracek said.
A Lee Circuit judge, however, found no probable cause to remove the girls, ages 8 and 11, and Sievers will be allowed to maintain custody of his daughters. Judge Lee A. Schreiber acknowledged the DCF’s suspicions, but added, “That’s not the standard for removing children, so I deny the shelter petition,” local media reported.
Hollander said he hadn’t read the documents released last week that alleged his client planned his wife’s death. But Hollander added that it was unclear why, if detectives are alleging Sievers orchestrated the death of his wife, they haven’t arrested him.
“They’re just trying to screw with him,” said Hollander. “I really have no idea at this point what they’re going to do.”
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said the investigation is ongoing.