Cheri and Harald were married for 14 years. They were once so inseparable that they started a framing business so they could be together at work. Cheri thought she had married her soul mate.
When their first child was born, Cheri says Harald became distant. The birth of their second child didn't change anything. To lift his spirits, Harald took a trip to Norway to visit relatives. When he came home, he remained emotionally distant. Then Harald started receiving letters from Norway at work and getting calls from a woman with a foreign accent. "I said, 'Who are the letters from?' And he said they were from his first girlfriend," Cheri says. "And I said, 'Well, if you're just friends, then can I see the letters?' He just got angry and he threw them out."
Soon after, Cheri began noticing Harald's behavior becoming more strange. Meanwhile, several incidents left her questioning her own sanity.
Cheri says that when she walked up the staircase in their home at night, it would be completely clean. When she would walk down later, she would find marbles or small toy cars strewn on the stairs...just the kind of thing that could cause a serious fall. Also, Cheri noticed a bitter, metallic taste in glasses of water and other food that Harald would prepare for her. One time, while eating pizza, she noticed bright green crystals lodged under the cheese. Cheri says her husband told her they were just herbs. When the couple had sex, Cheri says she would "notice a bright, bright green discharge" right after.
One day Cheri found a canister hidden in the bathroom. It was filled with a strange green powder. "I thought, 'Oh my God," she says. "It was the same color I had been noticing in my food and in my clothing." That powder—which Harald not only put in Cheri's food, water and clothing, but also on the condoms they used when they had sex—was rat poison.
Before Harald returned home Cheri got a protection order, hired an attorney, filed for divorce and changed the locks on her house. When she confronted Harald, he confessed to everything while she secretly recorded the call.
Harald was arrested and pleaded guilty to four counts of contaminating a substance for consumption. He's currently serving 10 years in prison.
Cheri says she never actually believed Harald was planning to murder her. "I just didn't want to accept it, that he would do that to me after all those years together," she says. "In addition to being my husband, my lover and the father of my children, I thought he was my best friend."
Cheri has a message to anyone who worries they may be in a similar situation. "I want people to know that they have to trust their gut," she says. "Try to find an objective party—a minister, a counselor, or someone that's not too close to the situation—so that you know that they have an objective opinion and can really help you."
"It's not that you're stupid," Oprah says. "You didn't listen to your 'wise self.' That's what your intuition is. It's your wise self."
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