File this one under F for “Fatal Attaction.” Reaaallly fatal:

A doctor involved in an “on-again, off-again” relationship apparently tried to force her way into her boyfriend’s home by sliding down the chimney, police said Tuesday. Her decomposing body was found there three days later.

Dr. Jacquelyn Kotarac, 49, first tried to get into the house with a shovel, then climbed a ladder to the roof last Wednesday night, removed the chimney cap and slid feet first down the flue, Bakersfield police Sgt. Mary DeGeare said.

While she was trying to break in, the man she was pursuing escaped unnoticed from another exit “to avoid a confrontation,” authorities said.


Kotarac apparently died in the chimney, but her body was not discovered until a house-sitter noticed a stench and fluids coming from the fireplace Saturday, according to a police statement. The house-sitter and her son investigated with a flashlight and found Kotarac dead, wedged about two feet above the top of the interior fireplace opening.

Read the rest of this bizarre story here.

Though it was initally undetermined, the Bakersfield Coroner’s office later officially ruled Dr. Kotarac dead by asphixiation.

Many commenters haven’t missed a beat in finding humor in this fodder-laden story (mostly of the “Leave chimney climbing to Santa Claus variety). I’m avoiding the temptation. Instead, I’m posting this story as a cautionary tale for people in relationships of any sort. This is a tragic story about how an otherwise very smart and successful person can lose any sense of intelligence by viscerally succombing to passion.  Not that having emotions is a bad thing (they are, after all, what makes us human), but having emotions too strong can lead us to doing unimaginable harm to ourselves or other people. 

Facing that reality, we owe it to ourselves and to those around us to keep our emotions in check.  Relationships form and relationships deteriorate. But it’s important that we don’t lose our heads in dealing with them. We don’t want our lives going up in a puff of smoke.

OK, so I lied a bit about holding off on the jokes. Sue me.