Lakeland Woman Arrested for 2nd Degree Murder for The Stabbing-Death of Her Husband
Following a three-and-a-half month investigation, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 38-year-old Rachel Fidanian of 3701 Wheeler Road, Lakeland, for the stabbing-death of her husband on June 25, 2018.
At 9:32 a.m. on that Monday morning, a 9-1-1 call was made with the information that 40-year-old Bryant Fidanian had been accidentally stabbed by his wife in their home. He died a short time later at the hospital.
Throughout the investigation, Mrs. Fidanian gave several inconsistent statements about the events which resulted with her husband being stabbed in the shoulder. Her account of the stabbing centered on her either tripping or slipping while holding her dog in one hand, and a filet knife in the other. Mrs. Fidanian attempted to demonstrate how she was holding her dog, for example, but she was unable to pick it up. Ultimately, detectives determined none of her explanations were plausible.
An autopsy by the Medical Examiner’s Office determined that four inches of the blade cut through Mr. Fidanian’s second rib bone (left side) and cut the pulmonary artery. The Medical Examiner has ruled the death as a homicide.
“The suspect made a lot of excuses, but none of them made sense. Our detectives did a thorough investigation. In the end, they determined this was an intentional act of domestic violence. Incidentally, her arrest occurred during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff.
On October 10, 2018 an arrest warrant was obtained for Rachel Fidanian for 2ndDegree Murder (F-L), and she was arrested at her residence, and transported to the Polk County Jail.
Below is the text from the affidavit.
On June 25, 2018 at approximately 0932 hours, Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to 3701 West Wheeler Road, Lakeland, Florida in reference to a male subject that had been stabbed. The suspect, Rachael Fidanian, called 911 requesting assistance because she had accidentally stabbed her husband, Bryant Fidanian (victim), in the shoulder area.
During the suspect’s recorded 911 call, she gives two different explanations for the stabbing. The suspect initially stated she was holding her dog while doing dishes. The suspect stated she ran towards her husband, slipped, and the knife entered his shoulder area. Later in the same phone call, the suspect stated she had her dog in her hands while slicing pizza. She stated she went to talk to the victim, tripped, and accidentally stabbed him. The suspect stated this act was an accident and she did not want to go to jail. Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) personnel responded to the scene to provide medical care. Once they arrived they received no response at the front door. PCFR personnel entered the residence and was approached by the suspect, who was nude. As PCFR was attending to the victim, the suspect started to explain to them what had occurred.
The suspect told PCFR she was slicing a pizza she had just cooked and noticed her dog had defecated on itself. The suspect stated she went to clean the [filtered] and still had the knife in her hand at the time. The suspect told PCFR personnel as she walked over to the area of the [filtered], she tripped, and fell into the victim.
PCFR personnel observed a knife at the victim’s feet, but the knife was later moved and placed on the kitchen counter so they could treat the victim.
The victim was transported to Lakeland Regional Health for further treatment, where he ultimately died as a result of the stab wound.
During the investigation I met with the suspect in front of her residence. Prior to interviewing the suspect I read her Miranda. The suspect stated she understood her rights and would speak with me regarding what had occurred. At the time of this contact I observed the suspect to have a bruise under her left eye, which worsened as the day progressed. During this initial interview, the suspect provided different details as to how the victim was stabbed.
The suspect stated she woke up at approximately 0800 hours and cooked a frozen pizza for her and the victim.
While she was cooking this pizza, the victim was asleep on the living room couch. Once the pizza was finished, she sliced half of it and ate. The other half was left for the victim to eat later.
The suspect stated while eating, she walked throughout the house cleaning, although my observations revealed the residence to be cluttered. The suspect stated she then used a filet knife to slice the other half of the pizza for the victim. During that time she heard her dog outside whimpering. The suspect stated she walked to the sliding glass door, with the knife still in her hand, to see what the dog was whimpering about.
The suspect stated she looked through the sliding glass door and observed orange [filtered] covering the dog. The suspect stated she ran outside, picked her dog up, and brought him inside the residence. The suspect stated when she brought the dog inside, the dog was urinating and defecating on itself and the living room floor.
At this time she asked the victim for help cleaning the dog. The suspect stated the victim got up off the couch and walked towards her. The suspect stated she then walked towards the victim as well, tripped on an area rug, and fell forward, stabbing the victim.
The suspect described carrying the dog across her left arm, with the*filtered*of the dog resting on the inside of her right elbow. Her right hand was held up in the air with the knife in her right hand. The blade wa*filtered*tended out in front of her.
During my contact with the suspect she was wearing a black and red flannel robe. The suspect stated she was wearing this robe throughout the morning and, most importantly, when she picked up her dog that was urinating and defecating on itself and inside the living room. A search warrant was obtained and executed for the suspect to take photographs, fingernail swabs, and to obtain the flannel robe. I inspected the robe and observed no signs of [filtered] or urine on the robe. Additionally, detectives searched the living room and back yard area where the dog was supposedly urinating and defecating on itself.
Detectives observed no signs of urine or [filtered] in the area described by the suspect.
Regarding the bruise below her left eye, the suspect stated her dog had head butted her when she picked it up on a previous day. The suspect then later stated the victim had accidentally struck her with his elbow while they were
both trying to pick up the dog.
During the interview, the suspect was questioned about her relationship with her husband. She stated their relationship was wonderful and the victim was a great husband. The suspect stated the two of them did not yell at each other, fight, nor have they ever walked out on each other during arguments. The suspect stated the last time they had argued was approximately three weeks prior, which was in reference to the dog.
Contrary to the suspect’s statement regarding her relationship with the victim, detectives interviewed witness REDACTED. Witness stated on June 24, 2018 (day before the victim was stabbed) he was outside his residence and observed the victim leave his (victim’s) residence. Witness observed the victim leave on foot with a camouflage backpack. The victim walked towards Kathleen road in the rain. Witness stated he then observed the suspect exit their residence, enter their vehicle, drive erratically towards the victim. Witness observed the suspect stop in the area where the victim was and yell at him. Witness could not hear exactly what the suspect was yelling, but could tell she was yelling at the victim. Witness stated the victim continued walking and turned north on Kathleen road, and the suspect continued to follow the victim, driving erratically. Witness stated the suspect returned to the residence and the victim returned approximately 30 minutes later.
During a neighborhood canvas, REDACTED, were interviewed. REDACTED stated they both had encounters with the suspect and victim. They both stated they often heard yelling and screaming coming from inside the residence. In October 2016, the suspect ran to their residence late at night. She was naked and claimed the victim struck her and threatened to kill her. He also left and took her vehicle. They contacted 911 and allowed the suspect to stay in their residence. The suspect then began breaking things and turning over items in the house, so they allowed her to leave. The suspect was transported to LRMC pursuant to a Baker Act that night.
It was found the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has responded to seven (7) previous calls for service at their address (3701 West Wheeler Road, Lakeland) since September 2016. Three of these calls for service were 911 “hang up” calls where law enforcement took no action. Three of these calls were disturbances involving the suspect and victim where no crime was substantiated. One call for service resulted in law enforcement arresting the victim for aggravated battery against the suspect when he broke her arm (PCSO case number 16-41823).
The suspect was also submitted for a Baker Act that night PCSO case number 16-41824). On June 26, 2018 an autopsy of the victim was performed by Dr. Stephen Nelson. The knife collected at the scene was identified as a filet style knife with a six inch blade. Dr. Nelson determined four inches of the knife blade
penetrated the victim. The knife cut through the second rib bone (left side), just below the collarbone, and cut the pulmonary artery, just above the heart. The Cause of Death was determined to be Stab Wound of Chest and the Manner of Death was ruled as a Homicide.
An additional search warrant was obtained for the suspect’s person on June 26, 2018 in order to document the bruise under her left eye and how it had progressed. Contact was made with the suspect at her residence. During this contact the suspect stated she had questions for detectives about how the investigation was going. After the search warrant was completed and pictures were taken of the suspect’s bruise, she offered to demonstrate how she tripped on the rug.
When the suspect started to demonstrate her actions, she hesitated, and looked around to find the place where she tripped. When confronted with the fact she did not trip as she had stated previously, the suspect then stated she must have tripped on a towel in the living room. The suspect was again confronted with the fact there was no towel in the area that appeared to have been flipped over. The suspect then made a completely different statement for how the victim was stabbed.
The suspect stated she picked the dog up and entered the house with the knife in her right hand as before. She was standing in the living room and asked the victim for help cleaning the dog. At that time, the victim became upset and a verbal argument ensued. The argument was because the victim was primarily responsible for caring for the cats, while she was primarily responsible for caring for the dogs. The suspect then stated the victim told her he constantly cleans up dog [filtered] inside the house, though she never cleans the cat litter. The suspect further stated they were both angry and walking towards each other. As they approached each other, the suspect stated she turned her body to the left to show the victim the dog’s rear end, with the [filtered] on it, at which time the knife
went into the victim’s chest.
The suspect then demonstrated to detectives how she picked the dog up. Detectives observed the suspect to struggle and the dog attempted to bite at her multiple times. The suspect, with two free hands, was not able to pick her dog up. Detectives observed the suspect was unable to pick her dog up with two free hands, and could not possibly pick her dog up with one free hand and another hand holding a knife. Detectives confronted the suspect about on this fact and she stated she did not want to speak any further without an attorney.
During the investigation, the suspect provided different explanations as to how the victim was stabbed. Each account changed or additional details were added by the suspect. Once confronted with conflicting facts, the suspect changed her statements completely. None of the explanations provided by the suspect were plausible explanations for how the victim was stabbed.
Based on the evidence at the scene and the suspect’s statements there is probable cause to believe the suspect committed the act of second degree murder by acting with a depraved mind, without regard for human life, and killed the victim by stabbing him in the upper torso.