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Florida woman said husband’s fatal stabbing was an accident as she cut pizza, cops say

Rachel Fidanian, 38, was taken into custody at her home in Lakeland, Florida, after deputies obtained a warrant for her arrest on Wednesday, according to authorities.
Rachel Fidanian, 38, was taken into custody at her home in Lakeland, Florida, after deputies obtained a warrant for her arrest on Wednesday, according to authorities. Polk County Sheriff’s Office

A Florida woman faces second-degree murder charges after her husband’s stabbing death because her ever-changing story — in which she called it an accident — failed to add up, authorities said.

Rachel Fidanian, 38, was taken into custody at her home in Lakeland after deputies got a warrant for her arrest on Wednesday, more than three months after the stabbing, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The death of Rachel Fidanian’s husband, 40-year-old Bryant Fidanian, was called in to 911 at 9:30 a.m. on June 25 as an accidental stabbing by his wife, the sheriff’s office said. Bryant Fidanian died soon after the stabbing at a hospital.

The medical examiner’s autopsy found that four inches of a filet knife’s blade had cut into Bryant Fidanian’s second rib bone on his left side, and had also slashed his pulmonary artery. The death was ruled a homicide, according to the sheriff’s office.

But an arrest affidavit said that Fidanian’s explanation to deputies went through multiple iterations — including that she had been cutting pizza for her husband, holding her pet dog in her arm or doing dishes when she lost her balance and accidentally stabbed Bryant Fidanian with a filet knife, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release Thursday that “none of her explanations were plausible.”

“The suspect made a lot of excuses, but none of them made sense,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “Our detectives did a thorough investigation. In the end, they determined this was an intentional act of domestic violence.”

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Fidanian’s arrest affidavit said she first told 911 dispatchers that she had been doing the dishes and holding her dog, and then accidentally stabbed her husband when she ran toward him and slipped. But later, Fidanian said she had been slicing pizza before the stabbing and told dispatchers she did not want to go to jail, WFLA reports.

Investigators said that in another version of the story, Fidanian told them she had been cutting the pizza when she saw her dog whimpering and covered in feces, and went outside to grab the pet, WFLA reports. Fidanian said she and her husband both walked toward the dog as it defecated and urinated, but Fidanian tripped on a rug and inadvertently stabbed her husband, the affidavit said.

But authorities said there were no feces or urine marks on the flannel robe Fidanian said she had been wearing during the incident, the TV station reports.

The affidavit said Fidanian described her marriage as “wonderful” to investigators and claimed she and her husband rarely argued, despite a handful of witnesses reporting loud fights from the home and seven calls to the sheriff’s office from the address since 2016, including one that led to her husband’s arrest, the Sentinel reports.

Fidanian is being held at the Polk County Jail, the sheriff’s office said.

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