Susann Sills, who worked with her husband at a fertility clinic she co-founded, died from what appeared to be a fall down the stairs

By Christine Pelisek
April 30, 2019 04:50 PM
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Credit: Eric Scott Sills/Twitter; Susann Sills/Facebook

An Orange County, Calif. fertility doctor has been charged with one felony count of murder in the death of his wife and business partner.

Eric Scott Sills, 54, was arrested Thursday and charged the following day in the Nov. 13, 2016 death of Susann Stephanie Arsuaga Sills.

Susann Sills was found dead from an apparent fall in the early morning hours of November 13, 2016. Sills allegedly told deputies that he woke up to find Susann dead at the bottom of the stairs of the couple’s San Clemente home.

“Deputies secured the scene and due to the unknown nature of the death, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Homicide unit was called to investigate,” according to a Orange County District Attorney’s Office press release obtained by PEOPLE. “In November 2017, after an extensive investigation including an autopsy, the OCSD Coroner division determined that the death was a homicide.”

Investigators continued to investigate Susann Sills’ death and “as information continued to develop, an arrest warrant was issued,” the press release states.

Sills’s father, James Larry Sills, told the Orange County Register that he was shocked by the news of his son’s arrest.

“We never expected this, and are looking to see what comes out in the news just like everybody else,” he said.

Sills was arrested on his way to work and was booked into the Orange County Jail.

James Sills claimed his son took his wife’s death “pretty hard,” and “became pretty focused on taking care of his kids, and I wasn’t sure if he’d ever remarry or not,” the Register reports.

Eric Sills
| Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department

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The couple worked together at the Center for Advanced Genetics, a Carlsbad, Calif. IVF & infertility clinic. Susann co-founded the clinic and Sills was the medical director.

According to the company’s website, Sills graduated from Cornell University in 1998 and is a board-certified physician and author with expertise is IVF, surrogacy and fertility surgery.

The company’s mission, according to its website, is “to offer assisted reproductive technologies including in-vitro fertilization, intra-uterine insemination, pre-implantation genetic testing, sperm banking, egg freezing, surrogacy and related fertility surgeries.”

The website says Sills is also a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, American College of Surgery and the Royal College of Physicians (Ireland) and has authored numerous books including Fighting at the Fertility Front: A Navigational Guide to Infertility for U.S. Military, Veterans & Their Partners.

“He is among an elite group of experts who has published scholarly articles with both a Member of the United States Congress and a Member of the UK Parliament,” his company website reads.

According to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times, Susann Sills, a 45-year-old mother of twins, was born in Philadelphia and was a graduate of South Fork High School in Florida. She attended George Mason University and received her MBA in International Studies from the University of Miami in 2000.

Sills posted $1 million bail Monday.

He is scheduled for arraignment on May 23.

It is unclear if Sills has entered a plea or retained an attorney. Sills could not be reached for comment.