911 operators in Coldwater, Michigan, received a frantic phone call in February 2009 when Tom Foley called to report a possible homicide at his house. When first responders arrived on the scene, they found his wife, Darlene “Dar” Foley, lying in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor. ‘Dateline: Mystery at Heath Bar Farm’ chronicles the gruesome incident and portrays how the police tried to bring the perpetrator to justice. Let’s delve into the crime’s details and learn more about Dar’s murder, shall we?
How Did Dar Foley Die?
A resident of Coldwater, Michigan, Darlene “Dar” Foley was just 41 at the time of her death. She had built a happy life with her husband, Tom Foley, and the two were proud parents to their son, Heath. Besides, Dar was pretty close to her family, and she shared an intimate bond with her siblings, Ladana, Lynn, and Marla. Interestingly, people who knew her described her as a loving and kindhearted woman who loved helping others in need. While Dar earned a living as an Elementary School Teacher, she was highly family-oriented, prioritizing her loved ones over everything else.
On top of it, Dar maintained a friendly relationship with most, making her sudden demise even more shocking. On February 7, 2009, 911 operators in Coldwater received a call from Tom Foley, who sounded frantic and terrified. He mentioned that he was doing small chores around the house when he heard a gunshot and found his wife unresponsive on the bathroom floor. First responders reached the location within minutes, but it was too late, as Dar had passed away by then. The police found a completely devastated Tom on the scene while the couple’s son, Heath, and his friend, Skylar Wattie, were playing nearby.
Incidentally, the bathroom looked like something out of a horror movie, with blood splatters all over the wall. The window leading out was also broken, and Dar lay in a pool of blood on the floor. Subsequently, an initial medical investigation noticed severe bullet wounds to the victim’s head. An autopsy later determined that Dar was shot at point-blank range with a shotgun, which left her fatally injured and led to her death. Additionally, the police found initial evidence of a robbery gone wrong, although the truth was far from it.
Who Killed Dar Foley?
Although law enforcement authorities found evidence of a possible robbery during the initial investigation, signs soon pointed to a planned homicide. For starters, while the bathroom window had a shattered windowpane, there wasn’t any evidence of anyone actually breaking into the house. A DNA sweep of the bathroom did not reveal any foreign intruder, and nothing appeared to be stolen from the household. On top of it, the weather made the surroundings quite wet, and the police were sure that an intruder would have left muddy footprints.
Yet, a thorough search of the property failed to reveal even a single footprint that might belong to the intruder. Since Tom Foley had already insisted on his innocence, the police decided to question Heath and his friend, Skylar, as they were playing video games at the house shortly before Dar’s death. When questioned, both claimed that minutes before the gruesome homicide, Tom came into their room and asked them to play outside near the barn. Skylar also mentioned that the former was alone in the house with Dar at that time. They soon heard a loud crash, which sounded like a gunshot or a windowpane being smashed with force.
While such a statement made Tom a person of interest in the investigation, the police soon learned that he was in a challenging financial situation and Dar had a substantial life insurance policy to her name. Hence, putting two and two together, the police were convinced that he murdered his wife for insurance money before making the incident look like a break-in. Surprisingly, this theory was supported by the victim’s sisters, who claimed that Dar and Tom weren’t a good match from the very beginning.
Thus, with enough circumstantial evidence to warrant an arrest, the police took Tom into custody and charged him with his wife’s murder. Once presented in court, he pled not guilty and insisted on his innocence. Yet, the prosecution got Heath and Skylar to testify against Tom, and the jury eventually convicted him of first-degree murder. However, before he could be sentenced, a witness claimed to have seen the murderer. She further insisted that on the day of Dar’s death, she saw a white car storming out of the Foley driveway and even got a good look at the driver, who looked nothing like Tom.
Subsequently, two more witnesses came forward and claimed to have seen the same white car either parked near the Foley house or driving away, all within two hours of Dar’s death. This new information was enough to fetch Tom a retrial; although the prosecution brought in several witnesses who tried to paint him as a cheating husband, it did not affect the outcome. Eventually, after considering the evidence, the jury acquitted Tom Foley of all charges in 2011. However, the case hasn’t progressed much since then, and Dar’s murder remains unsolved.
Read More: Tom Foley: Where is Dar Foley’s Husband Now?