The Attempted Murder of Cheryl Ehrenfeld

Medina County's Battered Women's Shelter is a place to go for women in need of help. Whether they are being physically or verbally abused, the Battered Women's Shelter is the place to call. Sometimes it is hard to recognize the problem, and admit to yourself that something is wrong. The Battered Women's Shelter is here to help those women who are in need of a shelter and a home away from the abuse.

Many women never seek the help of the Battered Women's Shelter because they think they can take care of it on their own. This is similar to Cheryl Ehrenfeld's story. Her husband was physically harming her, and she took her own steps to figure out the problem. Although it worked in the end, the Battered Women's Shelter may have been able to help her much sooner. Some stories like Cheryl's seem hard to believe, because you never quite know what goes on behind closed doors.

Harald Ehrenfeld seemed like the perfect husband. He met his wife, Cheryl in 1968. They were engaged after just two short months. After nine years of happily being married, they had their first son, Karl, on November 7, 1998. But shortly after their son was born, Harald began acting strangely.

Cheryl said it was painful to watch Harald try to interact with Karl, as well as their later son. When Karl was only eight months old, Harald went on a trip with his mother to supposedly visit family in Norway, including a distant cousin named Hilda. When he returned from the trip, he began to act suspiciously around Cheryl. Harald wrote letters to Norway that he wouldn't allow Cheryl to look at. His coworkers also noticed his odd behavior. He would spend hours in the corner at work on long distance calls.

A few months later, Cheryl began to notice other strange happenings. She would notice matchbox cars strategically placed on the stairs in their homes. Harald also began insisting on making Cheryl's food for her. She said that she noticed that the food he made had a bitter, metallic-taste. One day when she was eating pizza that her husband made for her, she lifted up the cheese that he put on top, and found little green crystals. She immediately suspected that Harald might be trying to poison her, but she did not leave the house. She sent the green crystals to a lab for testing, but before the results even came back, Harald admitted to putting rat-poisoning in her food.

One day, a co-worker of Cheryl and Harald found why Cheryl would be trying to rid of Cheryl. Hidden in the ceiling of the couple's small business office were pictures of and love letters to Helda, the long-lost cousin of Harald's in Norway. Harald was arrested on July 1, 2005, and plead not guilty by reason of insanity to the food contamination charges being pressed against him. During the trial when Harald was given the opportunity to address his wife, he said he was "truly sorry." Cheryl finally divorced him in August.


Harald Ehrenfeld in Court

Harald Ehrenfeld in Court

While in court, Harald plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Prior to his arrest, Ehrenfeld admitted himself to a psychiatric facility, where he confessed to caretakers. The admission into this facility could have saved him up to 60 years of jail time. He was being charged with six first-degree accounts of felony for poisoning his wife's food. Image courtesy of the Medina Gazette 11/11/04 View File Details Page

Rat Poisoning

Rat Poisoning

Harald Ehrenfeld tried to sneak rat poisoning into his wife's drinks at first, then into her food. She went around seven months without ever noticing the additions to her food. She finally noticed it one day while eating a piece of frozen pizza that her husband added extra cheese to. She was unsure of what the green crystals were, but she immediately figured out that her husband was trying to poison her. Image courtesy of Nick Marsh View File Details Page

Cheryl Ehrenfeld

Cheryl Ehrenfeld

From the beginning, Cheryl thought that her husband Harald was too good to be true. He was always so funny and charming, and she couldn't imagine a more perfect man. Her instincts turned out to be correct. Harald began to do odd things around the house, and her speculations grew even more. She wanted to report him but was scared no one would believe her. Who would believe that a man they loved and respected would do something as crazy as try to poison his own wifez She turned out to be right, and reported her husband. Cheryl stood up for herself and made things right. Image courtesy of the Medina Gazette View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Payton Lower and Erin Winchester, “The Attempted Murder of Cheryl Ehrenfeld ,” Discover Medina, accessed July 22, 2017,

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