A chemical engineer in California spent more than a year trying to kill a colleague by poisoning her food and water with "toxic amounts of cadmium," prosecutors say. David Xu, 32, is being held without bail on charges including premeditated attempted murder resulting in great bodily injury and felony poisoning, ABC reports. Court documents state that the victim, a fellow engineer at Berkeley Engineering and Research, noticed "a strange taste or smell from her water and food" after she left it unattended at work, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. She experienced "immediate and significant health problems" and was hospitalized more than once, according to court documents.
Investigators say that after two of the woman's relatives became ill after drinking from her water bottle, blood samples showed that they all had elevated levels of cadmium, a metal often used in rechargable batteries. Court documents state that investigators checked surveillance footage and saw Xu pouring a substance into the woman's water bottle on Feb. 11 and March 4. Tests on the water found toxic levels of cadmium. No motive for the alleged poisoning was disclosed, reports KGO, which notes that Xu worked as a consultant in materials and chemicals and has served as an expert witness in the field. The victim, identified in court papers as Rong Yuan, is still recovering. (Last month, a German man was sentenced to life in prison for poisoning his co-workers' sandwiches.)