Chambers County woman given $5M bond after she's charged in husband's murder

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Woman given $5M bond after she's charged in husband's murder
Sarah Jean Hartsfield, a Chambers County woman accused of killing her husband Joseph, is in jail on a $5 million bond. We're following that story and more in our top stories above.

BEACH CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- A woman accused of killing her husband is being held on a $5 million bond in Chambers County.

The sheriff's office said it believes that Joseph Hartsfield died of foul play.

On Jan. 7, Sarah Hartsfield made a 911 call regarding a medical emergency with her husband. Medics responded to the home in a gated community in Beach City and began administering aid. Joseph was transported to Houston Methodist in Baytown.

At about 6:30 p.m. that day, the sheriff's office received a call from the hospital about the patient's suspicious illness.

Officials told ABC13 that 46-year-old Joseph had diabetes. They said his insulin levels were extremely high four to six hours before Sarah called 911. They said that his glucose monitor had sounded an alarm for quite some time before action was taken.

Authorities arrived at the hospital and began investigating due to what they described as inconsistencies in the information provided by the hospital staff.

"The story that the wife gave the hospital, the deputies, the detectives do not match up to the forensic evidence," Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said.

According to authorities, Joseph was in a coma for a week before death.

Videos shared from Joseph's Facebook page to a group on the social media show his wife, Sarah, hunched over his body, crying as he was wheeled away in the hospital bed to have his organs harvested.

"I think all of that adds up to some of the theatrics we are dealing with in this case," Sheriff Hawthorne said.

Nearly a month after Joseph's death, his wife, Sarah Jean Hartsfield, has been charged with his murder.

Sarah Jean, 48, was arrested and handed a $5 million bond.

The district attorney and the sheriff said she was a flight risk, so they moved quickly with an emergency Grand Jury hearing to charge her and requested a high bond.

In 2018, Sarah was investigated by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota after her previous husband was shot and killed. Ultimately, she was not charged.

Sheriff Hawthorne said they are aware of that case and have been in contact with the agency.

ABC13 reached out to Douglas County to find out if they plan to re-open their case in light of this one but have yet to hear back.

"Their case was investigated," Sheriff Hawthorne said. "I'll definitely support the findings, and it was a grand jury that made the decision up there. Now that's not to say new information may come to light where they may re-open the case, but obviously, that would be up to the Douglas County Sheriff."

Aside from the outcome of death, Sheriff Hawthorne said there are no similarities between the case in Minnesota and Houston.

The medical examiner's office has not given an official cause of death.

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