A lawyer representing the estate of Leslie Buck, the popular Stonington schoolteacher who died mysteriously after being abducted in May 2002, filed a lawsuit Thursday in Superior Court blaming her husband for her death.
Buck's husband, Charles, told police he found his wife dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs in their Mystic home on May 4, 2002, two days after she escaped an abduction. She died of head injuries. No one has been charged, but Stonington police have labeled her death "suspicious.''
Buck asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination last July when he was called to testify in the trial of Russell Kirby, who is serving a 21-year prison sentence for abducting Leslie Buck.
Police questioned Charles Buck at the time of her death. Kirby was in custody when Leslie Buck died.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed by Deborah J. Tedford, the administrator of Leslie Buck's estate, states that prior to Leslie Buck's death, her husband was having an extramarital affair with another woman and "solicited'' Kirby to "take the life of'' Leslie Buck, who was 57.
Charles Buck could not be reached for comment Thursday. His lawyer, Donald Beebe of Norwich, did not return a call for comment.
The lawsuit recounts the May 2, 2002, abduction in which Kirby used a stun gun to shock Leslie Buck. He then beat her, tied her hands and feet and drove her to his house in her vehicle. Buck told authorities she escaped from Kirby when he stopped the car on I-95 and got out. She had an extra key for her car in her purse and used it to drive away.
"Two days later,'' the lawsuit states, "Charles Buck did brutally, and with malice aforethought, attack, assault, and batter'' Buck, "causing severe and fatal injury to her ... he left her to die at the bottom of the stairs within their home.''
The lawsuit claims Charles Buck's actions were "calculated, planned, willful and intentional.''
At a 2002 probate court hearing, an attorney for the Buck family raised concerns about Charles Buck's ability to be administrator of Leslie Buck's $1.5 million estate, citing news reports that Buck had a mistress -- a Mystic bartender who had purchased a $235,000 home in Westbrook without a mortgage.
Shelley L. Graves, a lawyer for the estate, said the wrongful death lawsuit seeks "justice for Leslie.''
"This is something we've been actively investigating ourselves and we've reached a point where it's the right time to do this,'' she said. Leslie Buck's estate has also filed a lawsuit against Kirby. That case is pending in Superior Court in New London.
The lawsuit against Charles Buck seeks damages in excess of $15,000.