COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — A married couple from Idaho is facing charges, accused of exploiting and contributing to the death of a decorated speed skater in Cottonwood Heights.
Boris Leikin was 68 years old. Police say he died in July from a form of mad cow disease.
People who knew Leikin say he took his health very seriously and was in great physical shape, until he met Marina Billings online and started dating her.
Marina Billings is a corrections officer in Pocatello, Idaho.
Police say Billings left Idaho and moved in with Leikin at his home in Cottonwood Heights. That's when people said they started to notice Leikin's health quickly declining.
At least at first, Leikin did not know Billings was married, according to police.
Investigators now believe Marina Billings and her husband, Robert Billings, were trying to take advantage of Leikin - by getting him to sign a will that would name her as the beneficiary as his health was deteriorating.
Police are still trying to figure out if the couple intentionally got Leikin sick.
Jeff Hall, the chief deputy at the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, explained why the couple is being charged with financial exploitation and aggravated abuse, rather than murder.
"In a murder charge, we would accuse someone of directly causing the death of someone else and doing that unlawfully," Hall said. "In this instance, the allegation is that these people created circumstances that compromised a vulnerable adult's health, not necessarily that they directly caused a death."
Hall advised it's especially important for friends and loved ones of vulnerable individuals in cases like this to keep an eye out for anything peculiar.
"Any time there is anyone that is new to the family, new to the person, where there's not been a long-shared history... that should raise a lot of question marks, a lot of red flags as to what's going on," he said.
Leikin was one of the oldest athletes to compete in the US Olympic Trials. He was a Masters World Champion and even set a Masters world record in 2006.
Friends say Leikin was also an incredible man off the ice, with a big heart.