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Toxic Vows: The Murder of Alan Duvall

In 2005, Alan Duvall and Tami Engleman were married in Southern Indiana. Alan was sixty years old, and Tami was forty-seven. The two found each other late in life and married after just a short amount of time together. They seemed madly in love, but after a while the two would get to know each other and realize not everything was picture perfect. This is the story of toxic vows and the murder of Alan Duvall.

Alan Duvall was born November 6th, 1945, in Indiana. Alan was a former Navy Seal and father to two sons. After leaving the Navy, Alan worked several jobs including landscaping, as a jewelry store manager, and a handy man at a hotel in which he lived. He needed three jobs to keep up with his tastes for nice things include jewelry and a nice car. His appearance of having money may have been one of the things that attracted Tami Engleman, a nurse’s aide and single mother. Tami also liked nice things and invested in her own appearance through plastic surgery. She was a stunning woman, easily attracting Alan Duvall.

Once Alan and Tami tied the knot and bought a house, tensions began to show in the marriage. Tami’s youngest child, still at home, argued with and disrespected Alan regularly. Tami over-indulged her children, adding to tensions. Alan was not without fault either. Alan drank a lot. Those who knew him described in Fatal Vows that Alan always had a beer in his hand and drank every day. Tami had her own addiction; shopping and spending money that the couple didn’t have. These issues lead to marital issues within a year of the wedding.

Neighbors began to see a man coming and going from the Duvall house during the day. One neighbor notified Alan, and he came home and caught Tami having an affair with one of her patient’s sons. The man, who was an insurance salesman, carried on an affair with Tami for quite some time. In the midst of this affair, he even sold her an insurance policy on Alan Duvall. When Alan learned of the affair, he cut Tami off financially and closed their joint bank account.

The police were called to the Duvall house on at least one occasion when Tami’s daughter accused Alan of hitting her. Although the police noted Alan Duvall was heavily intoxicated, there was no evidence of an assault. There were no charges filed, but Tami officially kicked Alan out of the house at that time. Despite the separation, Alan was hoping to rekindle things with his wife and make it work. Alan came over on numerous occasions to mow the grass and do household chores for Tami. He continued to support Tami financially.

On the morning of August 24th, 2007, Tami Duvall called 911 and said, “I think he’s dead” (Brown, 2019). She went on to explain that she arrived home from work to find her husband, Alan Duvall, dead in a chair in the backyard. She told the operator that he drank heavily, and she was concerned he may have had too much to drink. She said the night before, Alan had been at the house to fix an air conditioning unit, became overheated, and went outside to cool down (Duvall V. Indiana, 2012).

Authorities found Alan fitting in a chair on the back porch deceased. There were no signs of violence or a struggle. Initial toxicology results showed that Alan Duvall had a blood alcohol level of 0.436% (Duvall V. Indiana, 2012). This lead police and the coroner to believe the cause of death to be acute alcohol poisoning and heat exhaustion. Tami requested Alan be cremated.

Friends and family of Alan Duvall were immediately suspicious of Tami. First, Alan never wanted to be cremated and had always asked for a military funeral (Fatal Vows). In fact, he owned a burial plot. Second, they didn’t believe Alan would die from alcohol poisoning because he was an avid drinker. Finally, they were suspicious of Tami when they learned she had an insurance policy. Before the body could be cremated, investigators decided to order a full autopsy on Alan Duvall.

Three weeks later, Tami Duvall was brought in for questioning when the results of Alan’s autopsy showed some surprising findings. First, Alan had eighty times the therapeutic dose of Flexeril in his system. Second, he had one-hundred times the therapeutic dose of morphine in his system. Tami now had to explain the situation. She said that her husband had committed suicide and was a drug user. She said that her husband was over the night before his death and when she refused to get back together, he told her he would kill himself. Not believing him, she said she went upstairs to bed. The next day, she found him with a bottle of morphine and Flexeril next to him. She said she hid that evidence to protect his reputation (Fatal Vows).

Family and friends of Alan Duvall immediately poked holes in Tami’s story. Alan was not known to use any kinds of drugs other than alcohol. They also said he was in no way suicidal, even though he was depressed about his marriage. Tami’s own daughter told authorities that she believed her mother killed Alan. She said that Tami told her once that the perfect murder would be to poison someone and request immediate cremation (Fatal Vows).

Despite the toxicology results and suspicious behavior of Tami, authorities did not believe they had enough to charge Tami with a crime. However, the investigation was open, so Tami was unable to collect on the life insurance policy she had on Alan. She sold her house, but money started to dwindle. Tami was growing inpatient and asked detectives if they would close the case so that she could collect the insurance.

Police used that as an opportunity to ask Tami more questions. They asked her where she was working and when she shared her worked history, there was on nursing facility she had worked at in the summer of 2007 they were not aware of. They decided to go to the facility to ask about Tami. They learned that when Tami worked there, a hospice patient’s morphine had gone missing. Tami left the job soon after. Police then learned that a family member of Alan’s was prescribed Flexeril and believed Tami had stolen Flexeril from her.

Three years after Alan Duvall’s murder, Tami Duvall was arrested for murder, insurance fraud, and obstruction of justice (Schilling, 2010). Police believe Tami lured Alan to the house with a promise of reconciliation. She made him dinner and poured him a long island iced tea with Flexeril diluted in the drink. They believe she mixed the morphine solution in chocolate pudding she fed her estranged husband. When Alan was unconscious, but not dead, she poured the rest of the morphine bottle down his throat, killing him.

At trial, prosecutors presented the theory of the crime and included Tami’s motive as financial with the $100,000 life insurance policy. They presented evidence of her affair with the insurance salesman. He testified that “he advised Duvall not to attempt to collect on the policy because Alan died during the policy grace period and it would look suspicious” (Duvall V. Indiana, 2012). However, Tami made a prompt claim with the insurance company.

Tami’s former employer testified that there was documentation of a mysterious disappearance of a bottle of Roxanol, a concentrated liquid morphine, that belonged to a hospice patient. Alan’s friend testified that she recently had a party in which Tami and Alan attended and the Flexeril was out in plain view and then went missing. She also testified that Alan had no history of ingesting drugs other than alcohol.

A former boyfriend of Tami Duvall testified that Tami had tried to get him to sign a life insurance policy and he believes that she tried to poison him with pudding (Duvall V. Indiana, 2012). Tami then accused the boyfriend of stealing her property, which he denied. This was just months before she married Alan Duvall.

More testimony demonstrated that Alan believed he and Tami were in the process of reconciliation, whereas Tami’s friends believed she planned to divorce Alan. A friend of Tami’s testified that Tami told her she wanted to be with the insurance salesman. Additionally, Tami told her that Alan believed the insurance policy was mortgage insurance and not life insurance. She also made a comment questioning “if he took the whole bottle, would he die?” (Duvall V. Indiana, 2012) referring to little yellow pills. Flexeril are little yellow pills.

A convenience store clerk testified that she served Tami Duvall at 7 am the morning of the 911 call, which came in at 8 am. She said that Tami looked distressed and told her she had found her husband dead that morning. She told another friend via telephone at 7:30 am that she was “tying up her dogs and Alan was unconscious” (Duvall V. Indiana, 2012). Why didn’t she call 911 until 8 am? Finally, the prosecution presented evidence that Alan owned a burial plot, yet his wife insisted he be cremated.

Tami Duvall was found guilty and sentenced to fifty-five years in prison, a sentence too short in the hearts of those who loved Alan Duvall. She is currently being housed a Rockville Correctional Facility. Her earliest possible release date is in 2040. She will be eighty-two years old. Tami and Alan met and married quickly, and their wedding vows were toxic vows that led to the death of Alan Duvall.



**The podcast episode for this story is exclusive to Patrons**

References

Indiana Department of Corrections (2022) Tami L Duvall; Retrieved from: Indiana Offender Database Search

FindAGrave (2022) Alan William Duvall; Retrieved from: Alan William Duvall (1945-2007) - Find a Grave Memorial

Schilling, C. (2010) Woman charged with murder: accused of poisoning husband for insurance money; The Republic; 07 Aug 2010

Obituaries (2007) Alan W. Duvall; The Republic; 26 Aug 2007

Brown, J. (2019) Alan Duvall murdered by wife Tami for money: Fatal Vows investigates tonight; Monsters & Critics; Retrieved at: Alan Duvall murdered by wife Tami for money: Fatal Vows investigates tonight (monstersandcritics.com)

Duvall V. State (2012) Tami L. Duvall V. State of Indiana; Retrieved at: DUVALL v. STATE | FindLaw

Marriage Licenses (2005) Alan W. Duvall and Tami L. Engleman; The Republic; 11 May 2005

Fatal Vows (2014) Death for Dessert; Season 3 Episode 5; Available on Discovery Plus

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