SANTA ANA (CNS) - Arraignment was delayed Tuesday for a Mission Viejo dermatologist accused of poisoning her husband, also a physician, by putting Drano in his tea.
Yue "Emily" Yu is charged with three counts of poisoning and a count of corporal injury on a spouse, all felonies, according to court records. The alleged dates of poisoning were July 11, July 18 and July 25 of last year, according to the complaint.
Yu appeared in court Tuesday, but her arraignment was postponed until May 18 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.
Yu and her estranged husband, Dr. Jack Chen, have been embroiled in a child custody dispute since last year. She has been granted visitation, but recently filed to have Chen pay support to her, claiming she has been unable to work since the poisoning allegations surfaced.
Chen, a 53-year-old radiologist, filed a restraining order against his 45-year-old wife, Yu, in August.
Yu, who was arrested by Irvine police on suspicion of attempting to poison her husband, was released from jail after posting $30,000 bail in August. Chen said she called him asking him to post bail but he refused, according to the restraining order.
Yu's attorney, Scott Simmons, questioned Chen's motives.
"His team of (divorce) lawyers are jockeying for position in the family law case that is ongoing," Simmons told City News Service earlier this month. "You've got to ask yourself why would the first person you go to if you think you're being poisoned would be a divorce lawyer? Why not go to police or an emergency room?
"He's claiming he was poisoned with Drano and he ingested the Drano and as everybody knows it is not an overt poisoning agent. It's caustic. You can smell it, you can taste it. It burns your eyes when you get near it. Dr. Yu is looking forward to getting her day in court where the truth will ultimately come out."
In the restraining order applications, Chen said he is "fearful" of living in the same Irvine home with Yu "due to (Yu's) attempts to poison me with Drano."
Chen also alleged that "both children have suffered physical, verbal and emotional abuse by their mother ... and their maternal grandmother."
Chen said that in March and April of last year he "started noticing a chemical taste in my lemonade" and soon after that he "developed symptoms that had me see the doctor, who performed an examination and diagnosed me with two stomach ulcers, gastritis and esophagitis."
That prompted Chen to set up surveillance video in the kitchen, and he attached videos and photos that he alleged show his wife pouring Drano into his drinks.
Chen said the two began dating in 2011 and married July 4, 2012.
Chen detailed multiple instances of alleged child abuse inflicted on their children
"After the children were born, I became concerned about Emily's behavior," Chen said. "Not only was she very demanding of me that I give her massages -- one time when I could not because I was sick she stepped on my head until I did -- she also began hiding money from me."
Chen said his wife's "parenting -- if you could call it that -- revolves around yelling, insulting, verbally abusing, hitting, pushing, pulling and being emotionally abusive."
Chen claimed that if the two children said they enjoyed spending time with him, she would "put them in their room and yell at them until they assured her they would not show affection toward me."
Chen also accused her of "sleep deprivation" punishment at times.
Chen turned over samples of the tea, which were tested by the FBI, which confirmed it contained a substance consistent with liquid drain cleaner, according to prosecutors.