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9 Years Later, Husband Charged in Death of Woman Who Had Ingested Soap

November 10, 1994

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) _ When Carla Cohn died in 1985, authorities found 2 pounds of soap in her stomach and bruises on her body. Now, nine years later, they think they have solved the mystery of how she died and have charged her husband with murder.

Bruce Cohn was arrested at the time his 29-year-old wife died but was released without being charged. Prosecutors ″couldn’t prove he made her eat the soap,″ said deputy Riverside County district attorney Eileen Hunt.

Authorities reopened the case this spring when Cohn’s 11-year-old son told authorities he was forced to eat soap and dog feces as punishment and was beaten by his father. They obtained court permission to exhume Mrs. Cohn’s body, which was done in September.

The pathologist, Dr. Robert Detraglia, discovered a fracture of a bone at the base of her tongue and concluded the woman had been strangled, Hunt said.

On Tuesday, Cohn was charged with murder, torture and child abuse in Riverside County Superior Court. If convicted, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

According to court papers, people who knew Cohn told investigators that he beat his wife, burning her with cigarettes and sticking pins in her. Cohn had told authorities the bruises on his wife’s body were self-inflicted, and she had eaten the soap on her own.

The investigation was reopened after officials at the boy’s school noticed signs of abuse. The son was removed from Cohn’s custody and interviewed by counselors.

After the boy was taken from Cohn, the father was briefly arrested in June after threatening to burn down the Department of Public Social Services, then showing up there with gasoline, the papers said.

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