MANCHESTER — An Earlville man was arrested on a murder charge Thursday, months after police say his wife was stabbed in the back with a corn rake.
Todd M. Mullis, 42, was charged with first-degree murder Thursday in Delaware County District Court, according to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Authorities say Mullis used a corn rake to kill his wife, Amy Mullis, 39, on Nov. 10 at the couple’s home. An autopsy showed she died from stab wounds to her back.
During the investigation, authorities learned the couple struggled with marital problems for years and Amy Mullis was having an affair with another man. Friends and family members told investigators Amy Mullis was scared of her husband and wanted to leave him.
On Nov. 10, Todd Mullis called 911 reporting his wife was “unresponsive” at the couple’s Earlville home in the 1700 block of 255th Avenue, a rural area northeast of Manchester in northeast Iowa.
Todd Mullis told deputies he and their 13-year-old son were working in the hog building on their farm that day, according to a search warrant affidavit. His wife was also helping in the barn but had recently returned home from surgery and appeared to have dizzy spells, Todd Mullis told investigators. He asked her to grab a pet carrier from a nearby shed before going into the house to rest, then continued to work in the hog barn with his son, according to the affidavit.
Todd Mullis said he looked later and did not see the pet carrier outside, so he asked their son to check on his mother, according to the affidavit. Todd Mullis told investigators he heard his son yell and then ran over to find Amy Mullis in a crouched position just inside the shed doorway with a corn rake impaled in her back, the affidavit said.
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Todd Mullis told investigators he took his wife out of the building and pulled the rake out of her back. He then put her his pickup truck with their son and drove toward the hospital as he called 911. First responders reached them midway to the hospital and put Amy Mullis in the ambulance to take her to Regional Medical Center in Manchester where she was pronounced dead.
An autopsy on Nov. 12 showed Amy Mullis’ injuries were not consistent with falling onto a four-tined corn rake, as suggested by her husband, according to authorities. There were six puncture wounds to her body. Two of the six wounds were at an upward angle and four were at a downward angle, according to a state medical examiner. Her death was ruled a homicide.
In a second interview with investigators on Nov. 16, Todd Mullis said he found out his wife had an affair in 2013 after reviewing her phone records and it “devastated” him. He told investigators he confronted his wife and the man but they denied it. He told authorities his relationship with his wife, up to her death, was good. The couple were married since 2004.
The affidavit shows law enforcement discovered Amy Mullis was having an affair last year. The man she was involved with told authorities their relationship began in May 2018 and continued until the week of her death.
The man told authorities he last saw Amy Mullis on Nov. 5. He said she wanted to leave her husband back in the summer but was “scared to death” of him, according to the affidavit. She told the man, “If he catches me, he might make me disappear,” he told investigators.
The man said he feared for his safety if Todd Mullis found out about their affair, authorities said.
Authorities found text messages from Amy Mullis to her friends, saying things were tense at home. At 8:11 a.m. on the day of her death, she texted a friend saying things were still tense.
Authorities said Amy Mullis told friends that she wanted to divorce her husband, and that if he found out about the affair he would kill her.
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In the months leading up to her death, a friend said Amy Mullis told her if she came up missing to look for her body in a wooded area that she and her husband recently purchased. She told the friend that if she was found dead “You’ll know Todd did something to me,” according to the affidavit.
During the investigation, authorities seized an iPad and found Todd Mullis, four days before his wife’s death, searched the internet for “organs in the body,” and then on May 10 searched “killing unfaithful women” and “what happens to cheaters in history.”
Todd Mullis is being held at Delaware County Jail without bail, according to the sheriff’s office.
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