Correspondent Troy Roberts reports for "48 Hours Mystery" Saturday, Oct. 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
A young mother poisoned, an upstanding doctor accused, the pursuit of a fugitive across four countries, and an investigation that drew on the resources of law enforcement agencies worldwide. It is a story that friends of Dr. Yazeed "Yaz" Essa say is too bizarre to believe.
Yazeed Essa's life had seemed close to perfect. The successful doctor and businessman had been married for nearly six years to Rosie, a nurse. The couple lived in a beautiful home in a Cleveland suburb with their two young children. But their happy life came to a crashing halt on Feb. 24, 2005, when Rosie was in a minor car accident. While the 38-year-old did not suffer any physical injuries, she passed out and was brought to a Cleveland hospital. Shortly after, she was pronounced dead.
Yaz claimed he had no idea how Rosie could've died, but one thing was obvious to friends and family: she did not die from the car accident. Soon, a more sinister portrait of the dashing doctor emerged - one of a deceptive man, with numerous girlfriends, who may have poisoned his wife.
Tests revealed Rosie died of cyanide poisoning, but when police went to charge Yaz, he had vanished, kicking off a cat-and-mouse chase that would take authorities from the United States, to Canada, and eventually the Middle East.
With a network of family and business contacts, Yazeed made it all the way to Beirut, Lebanon, where he hid, knowing he could not be extradited back to the U.S. But he did not remain underground for very long. Soon Yaz was living large, dating women, spending money and partying in the city's hottest clubs. But his recklessness was about to catch up with him. Ultimately it was Yaz's protector in Lebanon, and even his own brother, who helped bring him to justice.