NASA Astronaut and Navy Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak, 43, has been arrested on charges of battery, attempted kidnapping, attempted burglary to a vehicle and destruction of evidence after she attempted to kidnap romantic rival and fellow astronaut, Colleen Shipman.
Both women were said to be in a relationship with astronaut and Navy commander Bill Oefelein. According to the police report, Nowak (who is also married with three children) drove from Houston to Orlando, FL in order to meet Shipman and confront her about the relationship. Upon arrival, Shipman headed to the parking lot where her car was parked when she said she noticed someone in a trench coat who appeared to be following her. Fearing for her safety, she ran to her car and got in quickly before locking her doors when she heard slapping on the window.
She then looked up to see Nowak who told her that she needed help because her car hadnâ€™t arrived. Shipman refused and said that she would send help instead but Nowak said she couldnâ€™t hear her. Shipman rolled her window down â€œabout 2 inchesâ€ which is when she was attacked through the window with pepper spray. She drove to the toll booth and got help from security who found Nowak wearing a different trench coat putting some items into a trash can including wig and a plastic bag containing a carbon dioxide-powered BB pistol. She was also carrying a new steel mallet, a new folding knife with a 4-inch blade, 3 to 4 feet of rubber tubing, large plastic garbage bags and about $600 in cash in a bag.
When confronted, Nowak confirmed the details that were given to them by Shipman and allowed them search her car which revealed half-dozen latex gloves, MapQuest directions from Houston to Orlando International Airport, e-mails from Shipman to Oefelein, diapers that Nowak said she used to eliminate stops along the highway, a letter indicating how much she loved Oefelein and directions to Shipman’s home address in Florida.
She is currently being held in Florida where police are recommending that she be held without bond. Johnson Space Center spokeswoman Eileen Hawley has also added that as far as she knows, no one from NASA has spoken with Nowak yet and her status as an active-duty astronaut is unchanged.