People Call Me When They Think Someone is Poisoning Them

It Happened to LIsa Bishop. Could It Happen to You?

Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.


copyright free, courtesy of Wayne County Sheriff’s Office

We never really know what goes on behind closed doors, do we? Even on a sleepy little street like East Wallace Road in Franklin Township, a small Indiana community just sixty-five miles east of downtown Indianapolis. While hundreds of families were taking their Christmas decorations down and bracing for the January cold, in one everyday household, a murder plot was afoot.

The perpetrator, Alfred Ruf, was approaching seventy; the victim well into middle-age. The call came at 9:46 a.m. on a Monday, not in the middle of a raucous Saturday night. The perpetrator was a man nudging seventy; his victim solidly into middle-age. This was a most unlikely crime scene.

Poisoned Affection

According to Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, on January 3, 2021, fifty-one-year-old Lisa Bishop was the one to call police. This wasn’t the first time she’d contacted law enforcement, but it might have been the first time they believed her.

She’d suspected foul play before. She’d been in the hospital at least six times over the previous year with a variety of symptoms, all of which mystified her doctors. She’d even told police that she thought someone was drugging her. But, until her sixty-nine-year-old husband, Alfred Ruf, came clean, all she had was a laundry list of suspicions and a litany of ills.

But now it was all making sense. Her husband had just admitted that he’d been slowly poisoning her for the past four months. He knew that he was making her sick. He even knew that he would kill her if he kept it up.

But it wasn’t all his fault, he said. Hell, it wasn’t even his idea.

The Family from Hell

Here’s the story Ruf told police:

In September 2021, Lisa Bishop’s daughter (whose name, for some strange reason, has not been released) had given him a powdery substance inside a pill bottle. She told him to start putting it in her mother’s drink.

He didn’t know what it was, but he knew what it was for. She had been talking to him about her mother’s life insurance policy. Ruf said that, over



Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.

Forensic psychologist/private investigator//author of serial killer book. Passionate about victim’s rights, the psychology of true crime, and criminal justice.