An urban legend? 1000-Lb. Sisters star Amy Halterman (née Slaton) revealed that her grandfather, Charles H. Ellis, was murdered by his son, Charles T. Ellis, in the 1980s. 

“Chris looking like our grandpa,” the TLC star, 35, said of her brother, Chris Combs, during a teaser clip shared by the network’s Instagram on Thursday, February 16. “I ain’t hatin’ him for it though. He died before I was born [sic].”

The Kentucky native went on to say that her grandpa “drunk antifreeze and he passed away [sic].”

“My uncle fed it to him,” she added with an uncomfortable chuckle, noting that the 2011 Harry Spiller book Murder in the Heartland: Book Two discusses her family’s tragic history.

Speaking to In Touch, Spiller noted that in addition to the murder, Charles T. Ellis “forged his dad’s name” to get loans from the bank as well as the payout from his father’s disability life insurance policy. After taking and failing a polygraph test, the son finally confessed to his crimes, according to Spiller.

The story made local news at the time with the Logansport Pharos-Tribune writing on December 4, 1986, that Charles T. Ellis “became ill at his home the morning of November 6 after drinking some iced tea.”

Spiller’s book, which is second in a three-part series, “tells the stories of innocent victims in these seemingly innocent places.” The former U.S. Marine investigates 10 murder cases and “recounts the gruesome details.”

“Charles T. Ellis had died at approximately 10:00 A.M … at St. Mary’s Hospital in nearby Evansville, Indiana,” on November 21, 1986, the book reveals. “Ellis had died as a result of acute renal failure due to ethylene glycol, a substance found in antifreeze, waxes, varnishes, lacquers and shoe polish.”

After investigators questioned family members, many noted having remembered a foul-tasting pitcher of iced tea at the Ellis residence in the days leading up to Charles’ death. Charles’ son, Charles H. Ellis, claimed to have taken the beverage to the State’s Attorney Tony Dyhrkopp to be analyzed before disposing of the substance. A relative of the deceased told investigators that Charles H. Ellis had been “adamantly opposed” to an autopsy. 

When detectives questioned Charles’ son five days after his father’s death, they noticed “seven or eight small cuts” on his arms which they later revealed were from “cult rituals.” After catching their suspect in multiple “discrepancies,” Charles H. Ellis was given a polygraph test where he admitted to losing “all will power.”

“Charles pleaded guilty to the murder of his father” in January 1987, the book states. He was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. 

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