NEW SWEDEN — One of the parishioners who drank arsenic-tainted coffee at a church in northern Maine nearly six years ago has died. Frances “Fran” Ruggles was 67.
The family says Ruggles died at her home on April 4 after battling health problems related to the arsenic poisoning on April 27, 2003. A memorial service will be held Wednesday at Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church in New Sweden, where the poisonings took place.
One person died and 15 others were sickened after drinking the tainted coffee. A church member killed himself days later and took responsibility in a suicide note.
Several of the victims have suffered long-term health problems. A church statement said the regional bishop’s office “holds the Ruggles family close in prayers with Christian love and consolation during this time of loss.”