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“It’s also quite possible the dynamics changed once he got her to trust him,” Ms. Roy said. “At that time when he was in his 20s, he probably could just be her friend, behave like her friend. That might have been OK for a while, but as we know, circumstances change, dynamics change.”

Robert Bullock, principal of the D.C.-based Elder & Disability Law Center, did not know the couple, but said that while the relationship might have appeared to be unusual, it was not necessarily cause for immediate action.

“He took care of her. So what if it was a marriage of convenience, as long as he didn’t cross the line in terms of undue influence or exploitation?” said Mr. Bullock, who has practiced elder law exclusively for 15 years.

According to an autopsy report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Drath suffered a fractured rib, torn right thumbnail, and injuries to her neck and in both eyes — evidence of a possible strangulation.

Only hours after reporting his wife’s death, Mr. Muth gave family members a letter dated April 11, 2011, that stated he would collect $150,000 upon his wife’s death.

Mr. Schwab recalled seeing Drath last summer, a few weeks before her death. At one point he inquired about the status of Drath’s married life.

Her response: “I think I am on top of the situation.”