The murder of Angela Craig

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Angela Craig was a 43-year-old woman living in Colorado; she was known for her wit & humor, her dedication to her family, her love of animals & her ability to forgive. She was born Angela Dawn Pray on April 15, 1979 in Dodge City, Kansas & was the youngest of ten children. She married James or Jim Craig on December 18, 1999. Over the course of their 23 year marriage, the couple had six children together & had been living in the Denver area for fifteen years. At this time, their children ranged in age from eight to twenty & Jim was 45-years-old & working as a dentist.  Angela was a very involved member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, working as choir director, teacher & youth organization leader. She loved working as a family history consultant, dedicated to learning her own family’s history & also helping others complete theirs. 

Angela’s sister described Angela & Jim’s marriage as very tumultuous. Jim had been involved in multiple affairs & had also been addicted to pornography since he was a teen. Angela had told her sister several times over the past 16 years that she planned to leave Jim but he always managed to convince her to stay. About five or six years earlier, Jim gave Angela an unknown drug to incapacitate so he could administer a lethal dose of the drug in order to commit suicide. Jim told Angela that he had drugged her so that she would be unable to find him & save him from committing suicide. He also had a gambling issue & filed for bankruptcy in 2021 & at this time, his dental business was on the verge of bankruptcy again. Angela told her sister that Jim recently gambled away $2,000 on a trip to Vegas.

On Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at approximately 11:10 am, Angela headed to the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora with her brother due to complaints of severe headaches & dizziness. A few hours later, about 2 pm, she began having seizures & her condition rapidly declined until she was ultimately placed on a ventilator in the ICU. 

Doctors were baffled as to what could be causing Angela’s sudden medical decline. As they spoke to family, they learned that she began feeling ill on March 6th; at this point she went to the ER & was released the same day. She presented to Parker Adventist Hospital on March 9th, where she ended up being admitted until the 14th when she was discharged home. The next day, on the 15th, Angela went back with worsening headaches, dizziness, low blood pressure, severe vomiting & issues focusing. She knew something was terribly wrong. 

Texts between Angela & Jim show that he was saved as “The Boy” in her phone & when her symptoms first started, she began texting her husband at 6:59 am on Monday, March 6th:

Jim: Thank you so much for making my drink this morning! I just love you. I hope you have a great day & I’m so glad you’re back in town!

Angela: You’re welcome, baby, I love you too. I think my body is not letting (liking?) the caffeine this morning either. My stomach feels fine, but my head feels funny & dizzy. Very strange.

Jim: It’s been a week since caffeine for you, maybe your body is saying no thank you. I did a full scoop of caffeine & a full big scoop of B vitamins. Is that how much you normally take? I’m super shaky. 

Angela: Oh no, I do a small scoop of the B vitamin mix. It feels really weird.

Jim: Oops. Sorry baby.

Angela: It’s ok, it’ll wear off. I am dizzy & my eyes don’t want to focus but I can get the stuff done that  I need to this morning.

Jim: Maybe you should lie down? 

Angela: Just seems excessive for a little extra supplement. My eyes are working slowly & my body is responding slowly.

Jim: That sounds really wrong. I’m going to come home. I don’t like this.

Angela: You can’t. You need to work. I’ll throw on some clothes & sit with the girls & see if it goes away.

Jim: Do you have a blood pressure cuff? You should try that & see if your BP is low. (Jim offered to bring one home from work after Angela said she didn’t know where one was & he suggested she take a magnesium supplement from his bathroom drawer).

Angela: It feels more like I feel when I take heavy meds & everything adjusts & moves slowly. Like I’m moving in thick gel. My eyes are struggling to stay focused. 

Jim: Have you eaten anything?

Angela: I had my protein shake. This is not hungry.

Jim: Are you nauseous?

Angela: No, I feel drugged.

Jim: Given our history I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn’t drug you. I am super worried though. You looked really pale before I left. Like in your lips even.

Jim said her symptoms were matching those of a stroke & Angela said her whole body felt tingly & heavy. He told her that something was wrong & he was coming home from work with a blood pressure cuff & said at the very least, he would help keep the girls on track while Angela rested. The next day, Angela said she was feeling the same & wondered if it was a sinus infection that turned into an inner ear infection. She apologized that he had to take her to the ER the day before & felt she may try her PCP or urgent care that morning.

While Angela was in the hospital between March 6th & 9th, she exchanged more texts with Jim:

Angela: Thank you for taking care of me.

Jim: Of course! Don’t forget you still have a caffeinated Crystal Light if you want it. Or if you want some fresh with ice I can make some & bring it to you too.

Angela: No this is good. I have a sandwich coming so that will be perfect. My mouth tastes like medicine. Doc just signed off & is getting my paperwork together. If she gets done soon, I’ll have Bella get me. If not, can you come at 3? Or should I call Renee?

Jim: I should be able to do it if it’s around three or later.

Angela: It’s ok if you can’t, there are plenty of people  who can come get me, I just like you the best.

Jim: Thanks! I like you too!!

Jim co-owned Summerbrook Dental Group in Aurora, Colorado with his friend, Ryan Redfern since August 2022. The two had known each other for more than 20 years & had gone to dental school together & Ryan knew that Jim & Angela were having marital problems. Recently, an office manager at the practice noticed some strange behavior just before Angela fell ill. The manager was working late & noticed that Jim returned to the office after hours; she saw he was working on a computer in an exam room with the lights off. She found this strange since he had his own office with a desktop as well as a laptop & had never done this before.

Thirty minutes after the office manager left, she received a text from Jim telling her to be on the lookout for a personal package he’d ordered, instructing her not to open it when it arrived. Documents indicate that another employee accidentally opened the package when it arrived on March 13th & the office manager glanced inside & noticed a biohazard sticker & ‘potassium cyanide’ printed on a circular canister. The employees re-sealed the package & placed it on Jim’s desk. When the office manager Googled side effects from consuming potassium cyanide, she quickly discovered that these matched Angela’s symptoms. 

The office manager decided to call the co-owner, Ryan, about the potassium cyanide delivery. Ryan & his wife went to the hospital & briefly spoke with Jim who was visibly crying after speaking with doctors. When Jim stepped away for a doctor’s call, Ryan took his opportunity to speak to a nurse about the suspicion of poisoning. He told her that there was no medical reason for their dental practice to carry potassium cyanide. The nurse contacted police & the investigation into James Craig began & the Aurora PD’s Major Crimes Homicide Unit took over.

When Ryan & his wife left the hospital, they went & sat in their car & a call came through from Jim which Ryan answered over the car’s speakers. Jim told him he’d heard some disturbing information & asked Ryan if he’d said anything to the hospital staff. Ryan told Jim that he knew about the package that was delivered to the office. Unaware that the package had been opened & resealed, Jim told him that the package contained a ring that he planned to surprise Angela with. Ryan told him he knew that it did not. Jim changed his story at this point, saying that Angela wanted him to order the potassium cyanide since she didn’t have the proper credentials. He told Ryan that he didn’t think Angela would actually take it, describing the situation as a game of chicken. Ryan told Jim to stop talking & hire a lawyer. 

That same day, Ryan received an urgent text from Jim, pleading that he not speak with anyone about their discussion, including law enforcement since it would do more harm than good to their family. He told Ryan that he understood why he did what he did but felt he should have spoken with him “man to man” instead of talking to everyone else, saying, “I might have let you in on some details that would have made you less likely to cause this horrible storm.”

At 12:30 am on March 16th, police came to the hospital to speak with staff about Angela’s condition; she was on life support with no brain activity & her prognosis was poor. 

That same day, a case worker from Child Protective Services spoke with a detective about the meetings she had with James & his kids; she told police that Jim claimed that Angela was suicidal & had made previous suicide attempts & he’d revived her several times over the previous months. He said that her ideations only worsened after he’d brought up the idea of divorce in December of 2022.  He told the case worker that since Angela had been intentionally overdosing, he was sure her toxicology would come back positive for something. It was very suspicious that none of the six children reported that their mom was depressed it was highly unlikely that a suicide attempt would go unnoticed from all other parties in the family. It was her belief that Jim was building a cover story for what actually happened to Angela. 

Search warrants were issued & both the Craig home & the dental practice were searched & evidence was seized. Police found multiple types of protein powders & workout-style shaker cups used to drink the powdered proteins. They also found two different unlabeled plastic bags containing a white powdery substance as well as a water bottle on an exercise bike.

Police believed that Jim allegedly first gave Angela the poison on March 6th, in a protein shake he mixed before their workout. An Amazon order for Arsenic Metal 99.9999% Crystalline Metalloid was placed for $13 on February 27th that was delivered to the family’s home on March 4th. A product description said swallowing could prove fatal. When the arsenic didn’t kill Angela, he ordered potassium cyanide on March 8th from Midland Scientific. Shortly after the order was placed, a representative from the company contacted Jim to inform him that they didn’t have the item in stock but could ship it overnight. The delivery address was for the dental office. In order to complete the purchase, a Restricted Item Usage Statement Form needed to be filled out; he responded by email, saying he was a surgeon performing craniofacial reconstruction & would be using the chemical to check & see if it would help with the layering of alternative metals. He wrote that if it was a success, the information would be published as a paper in the National Institute of Health. He provided his license number & professional email but was communicating via his personal email address, The shipment was delivered to the office on March 13th. A third substance for Oleandrin 1 mg, a poisonous substance from the leaves of the oleander plant, was placed on March 10th for $330. This was never delivered since investigators contacted FedEx to have the process stopped. 

As police began their investigation, they found that internet searches on Jim’s computer from the dental exam room included “how many grams of pure arsenic will kill a human,” “how to make poison,” “is arsenic detectable in an autopsy.” He had also watched a YouTube video titled, “Top 5 undetectable poisons that show no signs of foul play.” A video explained that by the time doctors are able to detect cyanide poisoning, it’s typically too late to save the person’s life. 

They also discovered that he had been arranging travel plans to see an orthodontist, 49-year-old Karin Cain who he was having an affair with. Karin owns Cain Orthodontics from Marble Falls, Texas & is the mother of two grown children; she filed for divorce from her husband, Jason in November of 2022. It’s suspected that they met each other at regional dental conferences.  Investigators found “sexually explicit” emails to Karin through an account that Jim established through Google on February 27th. 

Karin’s first trip was booked for March 8-10th & a second trip was booked on March 4th for a trip between March 16-20; the fourth is the same day the package of arsenic was delivered to the Craig home. Karin learned of Angela’s illness & never took the second flight, sending an email on March 16th, expressing her concern about Angela’s condition. She wrote, saying how sorry she was, wanting to help him but not pull him away from his family. She wrote, “Hi honey, I am so sorry for what has transpired this week in your world. I am sorry I am not part of your world to be of more help to you & instead I’m pulling you away. This is so hard. I want to be and do whatever I can to support & encourage you & I don’t want to add to what has become an incredibly difficult time.” Investigators don’t believe that Karin was aware of Jim’s plan.

As Angela fought for her life in the ICU in the days before she ultimately lost her battle, Jim thanked church members for their ongoing prayers, saying that it was terrifying not knowing what was happening with his wife’s health. 

On March 18th, Angela was determined to be brain dead due to a lack of oxygen & removed from life support. Jim refused requests for an autopsy to be conducted despite relatives pleading for answers as to what could have happened to the otherwise healthy 43-year-old woman. Family worried that what happened to Angela could be a genetic issue that could potentially be passed to the children & Jim argued that if the doctors were unable to find the answers while Angela was still alive, he didn’t want them “poking holes when she was dead.”

After Angela’s death, Karin wrote Jim, “I do want to give you any comfort I can but I do not feel it is right for me to mix in with all of those gathering to mourn Angela either & I do not want to meet your family as a friend and try to conceal what I feel for you.” She signed the email saying she was praying for him & loved him.

Jim was arrested one day after Angela was removed from life support, on Sunday, March 19th & on Thursday, March 23rd, he was charged with first-degree murder. Angela’s family spoke out, saying that they were heartbroken over their loss though grateful for compassion & concern they’ve received since her death. In her obituary,  Angela is described as energetic & intelligent & someone who always showed up when she was needed. Despite being allergic, she loved animals, she loved mystery TV shows, anything that made her laugh, interior design & working on creative projects within the family’s home. Her son commented that she didn’t have a lot of time for all the things she loved because her six kids kept her busy. 

Angela’s brother, Mark Pray said that the family is coming together to look after the children, saying that Jim’s family are there to help as well, not blaming them for what he has done. As Jim entered the courtroom on March 23rd, wearing an orange jumpsuit & shackles, he made absolutely no eye-contact with family & friends who sat within the small room & were present for the hearing. Some of Jim’s older children were present, sitting silently, showing little emotion. The hearing lasted only ten minutes & Jim briefly spoke, indicating he was waiving his right to a preliminary hearing within a 35-day period. His next court appearance will be April 7th.

Angela’s family has been unable to hold a funeral since her body has not yet been released to them.

Those that know the family are shocked by the news since Jim always presented a picture-perfect family. Their family home in Aurora was picturesque with colorful Adirondack chairs nestled around a firepit in the backyard, birdhouses in trees around the property, a trampoline & a sandbox, all within an upscale development with parks & a nature reserve. Now, on their front door, a blue sign hangs & reads, “Needing a little privacy, please come back later. Thanks.” Jim’s dental practice sits within a small medical plaza, twenty minutes from his family’s home. A former employee said that the staff are all in shock as Jim seemed the least likely person to do something like this. At the time of his arrest, a sign was attached to the door to the practice that read: “The practice will be closed today. If you are a patient you will be contacted. Thank you for your patience.” Within the practice, Jim was described as motivational & a great boss. 

34-year-old Chelsea Norton worked for Summerbrook for a year, leaving last January. Angela also worked at the practice & Chelsea considered the couple friends. She said that Dr Jim would give motivational speeches during lunch breaks, providing food for the staff. Those that know the family are devastated for the six children who basically lost both of their parents at the same time.


  1. Horan & McConaty: Angela Dawn Pray Craig
  2. The Denver Gazette: ‘Heartbroken’: Family of woman killed in suspected poisoning releases statement
  3. Independent: This smiling father -of-six dentist was living a double life- and allegedly plotting his wife’s poisoning murder
  4. Daily Mail: Exclusive: ‘I’ve known him 20 years and to see him here with what he’s been accused of – it’s hard to reconcile.’ Brother-in-law of Colorado dentist charged with poisoning wife comes face-to-face with accused killer as he’s arraigned in court
  5. CBS Colorado: Arrest report: Investigators gather evidence they say points to dentist James Craig planning to kill his wife
  6. CBS News: Chilling details emerge about how Colorado dentist allegedly killed his wife with poison: “I feel drugged.”
  7. NY Post: Dentist James Craig flew orthodontist mistress to Colorado while he allegedly poisoned wife
  8. Cafemom: Dentist James Craig Reportedly Sexted & Flew Mistress To Be With Him While Wife Was Dying
  9. Fox News: Colorado dentist accused of poisoning wife’s protein shakes to start new life with lover
  10. KOAA News5: Affidavit: Aurora dentist researched ‘undetectable poisons,’ purchased arsenic and cyanide before wife’s death

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