Optometrist Charged with Murder of Girlfriend Suspected of Killing Ex-Wife
December 24, 2019
On the evening of March 11th, 2011, bystanders gathered around the state of a vehicular crash near the intersection of Pyott Road and Willow Street in Street Lake in the Hills, IL. A Nissan Murano registered to an Optometrist named Anthony Prate was found jammed between a fence and tree, trapping his wife inside the vehicle. Onlookers watched as the disorientated and panicked man attempted to revive his wife with mouth to mouth resuscitation, to no avail. Eventually paramedics showed up to free her from the crash and transported her to the nearest hospital. Tragically she was pronounced dead on arrival. Mr. Prate was left to raise their two children alone.
The death came just a week after Anthony Prate placed a strange phone call to police wherein he reported that he had heard his wife, whom he had been married to for over two decades, and another man plotting to kill him in his own home. He alleged that he had come home early to hear his wife, Bridget, conspiring with the man and discussing who would own the house in the event of Mr. Prate’s death. He claimed that he heard them saying they “couldn’t wait to be together” and believed that they were having an affair.
Police showed up to the address in Algonquin but left after being assured it was all a misunderstanding.
Investigation into the crash only left investigators and pathologists with even more unanswered questions.
Anthony Prate claimed that he didn’t remember much about the crash only that his wife "unbuckled her safety belt to look for a bottle of water and her handbag" seconds before the collision. However the driver of the vehicle that collided with Prate before he lost control said that Prate made a sudden turn into his lane, leaving him with no time to react. He described it as a very sudden action, without the sort of drifting one would expect to see in an accident.
The next strange factor in the case was concerning Bridget Prate's cause of death.
Initial pathologist, Dr. Mark Witeck, performed an autopsy two days after the wreck and noted a fractured vertebra and surface abrasions to the victim’s body, not, in his opinion, injuries that would usually be associated with a cause of death. The car wreck wasn’t exactly as severe as some, and Dr. Prate himself had walked away unscathed.
Dr. Witeck noted “No evidence of significant injuries or natural disease which caused or contributed to the death". The cause of death was written as “undetermined”. He indicated that Bridget Prate may have been dead at the time of the crash as the vertebra injury showed no sign of bleeding. Because of the inconclusive nature of the report another pathologist, Dr. Larry Blum, performed an autopsy of his own. His findings reported that he too could find “no clear cause of death” however he believed that it was a possibility Mrs. Prate could have died as a result of the wreck. The case lay stagnant until it was eventually looked at again in 2014. Things just didn’t add up.
On November 23rd, 2019, after some deliberation and several phone calls to family members, 55 year old Anthony Prate made a call to the emergency services at 1:31 AM claiming that his girlfriend of several months had stabbed him during an argument and that he had stabbed her back in retaliation.
“My girlfriend stabbed me” he told the dispatcher, “I stabbed her back, I think she’s gravely wounded too” he informed them.
“There’s a lot of blood? What should I do? Should I perform CPR?” he asked.
In reality, Mr. Prate had surface wounds to his fingers, hands and forearms while his girlfriend, a 48 year old nurse named Malgorzata Daniel, had been stabbed and cut an alarming 20 – 30 times.
It is believed that she was brutally stabbed to death by Mr. Prate at her town house in Schaumburg after hosting a dinner party for her neighbors and friends. According to the guests Anthony Prate had been behaving out of turn that night, for which Malgorzata Daniel apologized, a gesture that apparently riled up the eye doctor and lead to Miss Daniel's fatal stabbing in her own home on Arbor Glen Boulevard later that night.
Prate was said to have been acting agitated at the gathering and had allegedly become very upset when his fellow dinner guests began discussing death. He excused himself for a while and when he later returned was described as being irritated and difficult for the rest of the evening, having a detrimental effect on the entire mood of the night.
Responders found Daniel unresponsive on the kitchen floor, a knife in one of her hands. Although blood was pooling out from beneath her she was no longer breathing.
Five hours after responders arrived she was pronounced dead. Her cause of death was ruled as “homicide by multiple sharp force injuries”.
Anthony Prate was latter charged with first degree murder in connection with the murder of Miss Daniel and is currently being held without bond at Cook County jail.