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Entries in Suicide (87)

Sunday
May052013

Ex-Boyfriend Linked to Missing Minn. Woman's Disappearance Fatally Shoots Self

Facebook(EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.) -- A man police wanted to question about the disappearance of a Minnesota woman died before they could talk to him after he fatally shot himself in the head, according to the county medical examiner.

David Roe’s Death was confirmed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office. Authorities have said they believe Roe, 24, of Victoria, Minn., was with Mandy Matula, of Eden Prairie, Minn., before she was reported missing Thursday morning, according to a news release.

Roe was identified by police as a person of interest in Matula's disappearance and had agreed to speak with investigators, according to the news release. But before he could be questioned, Roe shot himself in the head in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie City Center at approximately 1:30 p.m. Thursday. He was then transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Roe died on Saturday. The details of his death could not be confirmed. His condition before his death was unknown.

Matula's family last saw her on Wednesday at 11 p.m. They reported the 24-year-old missing around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday after she did not show up for work at the city's park maintenance division, ABC Minneapolis affiliate KSTP-TV reported.

According to the news release, police believe Roe was with Matula at a local park at approximately 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Matula's brother, Steven Matula, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that his sister and Roe had been dating on and off for several months. They both graduated from Eden Prairie High School in 2007.

KSTP reported that Roe left a note on his car's dashboard before he shot himself, but police would not disclose its contents.

Matula's mother, Lisa Matula, declined to speak to ABC News.

Meanwhile, a group of people casing the city for clues in Matula's disappearance today uncovered an unfired piece of ammunition near Victory Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., police spokeswoman Katie Bengston told ABC News.

Authorities cordoned off an area surrounding the church to further investigate, Bengston said.

"[Police] are going to take a look at it, and look at any markings [on the bullet] to determine what specific weapon it might have come from," said Bengston.

The community has rallied around Mandy Matula's family since her disappearance, organizing search efforts independent of law enforcement officials to assist in finding the 24-year-old.

The group that found the bullet was unaffiliated with the authorities' organized search, Bengston said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May042013

Pa. Doctor's Parents: 'She Could Not Have Harmed Herself'

Hemera/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- Investigators have not yet confirmed the cause of a death of a prominent Pennsylvania neurologist whose autopsy revealed she had "toxic levels of cyanide" in her system, but her parents spoke out against the possibility that their daughter's death was a suicide.

"We cannot imagine someone harming our daughter, but from what we're told, she could not have harmed herself," Dr. Autumn Marie Klein's parents, William and Lois Klein told ABC News in a prepared statement.

Klein, 41, collapsed at her home in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood and later died on April 20 at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where she was chief of the division of women's neurology and an assistant professor of neurology, obstetrics and gynecology.

The FBI is working to assist the Pittsburgh police in the investigation, but said suicide has not been ruled out as Klein's cause of death.

While authorities said Klein's husband, Dr. Robert Ferrante, was not named a suspect in his wife's death, police executed a search warrant overnight to case the couple's home, which they shared with their six-year-old daughter, Cianna.

Investigators removed three vacuum cleaners and a computer tower and towed the couple's cars as neighbors still worked to process Klein's sudden death.

"We were stunned," Blithe Runsdorf told ABC's Good Morning America. "I mean she was young, she was vibrant, she has a young daughter. We were just stunned."

Klein worked at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. Her husband, Dr. Robert Ferrante, 64, is a professor of neurological surgery at University of Pittsburgh.

A private investigation into Klein's death has also been launched, with prominent forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht at its helm.

"I have been privately retained, but I'm not able to give you any more information. But I have been privately consulted in this matter," Cyril Wecht told ABC News when asked if he was retained by Dr. Robert Ferrante or his attorney.

Neither Ferrante nor his attorney responded to requests for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr072013

Pastor Rick Warren 'Overwhelmed' by Support After Son's Suicide

Courtesy Saddleback Valley Community ChurchPastor Rick Warren said on Sunday that he and his wife, Kay, are "overwhelmed" by the support they have received following the suicide of his 27-year-old son.

"Kay and I are overwhelmed by your love, prayers, and kind words. You are all encouraging our #brokenhearts," Warren tweeted today to his almost 1 million followers.

In a memo sent Saturday to his 20,000-strong congregation at Saddleback Church, Warren said that his son, Matthew, had committed suicide after a lifelong battle with mental illness.

The church invited people on Sunday to join the community for services "as we learn how to survive life's tough times," something Warren has spoken on in the past, but is now facing in his own life.

The world famous evangelist, who gained international fame for his bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life, remembered his son as "an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man" in the letter to his congregation.

"But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided," Warren wrote.

After a "fun evening" as a family, Warren said his son took his life "in a momentary wave of despair at his home."

Warren said he marveled at his son's courage to keep on living in his darkest moments despite his pain.

"I'll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said, 'Dad, I know I'm going to heaven. Why can't I just die and end this pain?'" Warren wrote. "But he kept going for another decade."

Warren grew his Saddleback Church from humble beginnings into a powerhouse ministry.

The church started as a dream for "a place where the hurting, the depressed, the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness and encouragement," according to the Saddleback Church website.

Since Warren's first public service on Easter Sunday in 1980, Saddleback Church has grown tremendously with more than 200 ministries.

His 1995 book, "The Purpose Driven Church," Warren shared the principles that led to the success of Saddleback.

His follow-up book in 2002, "The Purpose Driven Life," catapulted him into the world spotlight.

"The history of this idea -- 'purpose driven' -- is not something I thought up in the first place," Warren told ABC News in 2007. "There have been hundreds of books throughout history that talked about worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism."

The book began with a simple premise: It's not about you.

It was a hit -- and has been translated into dozens of languages and has sold tens of millions of copies.
According to the Saddleback website, "The Purpose Driven Life" is the best-selling non-fiction hardback book in history.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr062013

Son of Pastor Rick Warren Commits Suicide

Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Elton John AIDS Foundation(LAKE FOREST, Calif.) -- Matthew Warren, the son of Saddleback Church founder and author Pastor Rick Warren, took his own life on Saturday.

The 27-year-old had struggled with mental illness, depression, and suicidal thoughts for most of his life, according to a statement Rick Warren sent out to congregants.

The statement said that the suicide followed what Warren described as a “fun evening” with him and wife Kay Warren, Matthew Warren took his life “in a momentary wave of despair.”

“Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss,” Warren wrote to his congregation. “Today we need you prayers for us.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan232013

Las Vegas Cop Shot Wife, Son in Head, Before Killing Himself

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept.(LAS VEGAS) -- A veteran Las Vegas cop apparently shot his ex-policewoman wife and their 5-year-old son in the head before he turned the gun on himself.

The Clark County Coroner's Office said Kathryn Michelle Walters, 46, and Maximilian Walters, 5, each died of a gunshot wound to the head in their Boulder City, Nev., home on Monday.

As police surrounded the home, Hans Walters, 52, an off-duty lieutenant with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, set fire to the house and then fatally shot himself, according to accounts from the coroner and the Henderson Police Department, which is leading the investigation.

Investigators are combing through Walters' background looking for clues as to what made the 20-year veteran of the police force snap.

His wife, who went by her middle name, Michelle, had been employed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as a patrol officer from January 1991 until August 2004, according a police spokesman.

The events unfolded Monday morning when Hans Walters called 911 to say he had killed his wife and son, according to a news release from the Henderson Police Department.

Walters, who was not identified by officials until late Tuesday, said he was "going to set his house on fire and harm any officer that came to the home," the news release said.

When Boulder City police arrived, they saw Walters standing in the doorway of the house, appearing to hold a handgun, according to Henderson police.

Walters was uncooperative, police said, and went back into the house, at which point he took his own life.

SWAT officers were called to the scene and entered the home, where they found the three bodies.

The Boulder City and Henderson fire departments were called to the scene to battle the blaze.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan232013

Police Investigating Las Vegas Police Lt. Who Killed Family, Himself

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Investigators are probing the background of a Las Vegas police lieutenant who apparently killed his wife and son before setting his home on fire and taking his own life.

Police, firefighters and a SWAT team were called to a Boulder City, Nev., home on Monday. The home, which is about 20 miles from Las Vegas, is owned by Hans P. Walters, 52, according to records from the Clark County Assessor's Office.

The Henderson Police Department, along with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, confirmed the murder-suicide involved an off-duty, 52-year-old Las Vegas police lieutenant but did not release his name.

The events unfolded Monday morning when a man called 911 to say he had killed his wife and son, according to a news release from the Henderson Police Department, which is leading the investigation, since it has greater resources than Boulder City.

The caller said he was "going to set his house on fire and harm any officer that came to the home," the news release said.

When Boulder City police arrived, they saw a man standing in the doorway of the house, appearing to hold a handgun, according to Henderson police.

"The man refused to follow officers' commands and went back into the house.  It is likely he then killed himself," according to the release.

SWAT officers were called to the scene and entered the home, where they found a man, woman and child dead.

The Boulder City and Henderson fire departments were called to the scene to battle the blaze.

"It's sad," a neighbor who lived across the street from the family told ABC News, adding that he "didn't really know them."

When Sheriff Douglas Gillespie of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police confirmed the killings, fire and suicide on Monday in a brief news conference, he assured the families and friends of the victims, "We will stand by your side and move through this unspeakable grief and support you any way we can."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan142013

Aaron Swartz' Death Fuels MIT Probe, White House Petition

Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched an internal probe of the events leading up to the suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who was facing federal charges for allegedly hacking into the school's journal archives.

"It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy," MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in a statement.  "Now is a time for everyone involved to reflect on their actions, and that includes all of us at MIT."

Swartz' legal troubles began two years ago when prosecutors said he illegally downloaded millions of scientific journals from MIT and JSTOR, a journal storage repository.  Swartz, 26, had been an advocate for open access and the freedom of information online.

He was due to stand trial in April, and if convicted, could have faced decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines.  Swartz had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Hal Abelson, a professor at MIT, who is also the founding director of both Creative Commons and the Free Software Foundation, has been tapped to lead the school's internal probe.

"I have asked that this analysis describe the options MIT had and the decisions MIT made, in order to understand and to learn from the actions MIT took," Reif said.

Furor over Swartz' death has reached the White House in the form of a petition asking for the removal of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz who pressed the case against Swartz.  The petition has been signed by nearly 12,000 people and needs 25,000 signatures by Feb. 11 to garner an official response from the White House.

Swartz's family and supporters have laid blame for his death on an aggressive prosecution that used its powers to "hound him into a position where he was facing a ruinous trial, life in prison."

"Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy.  It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach," Swartz' family and partner said in a statement that also had harsh words for MIT.

"Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's office and at MIT contributed to his death," the statement said.

JSTOR, which had stated it did not want to pursue charges against Swartz, posted a statement offering condolences to his family.

"He was a truly gifted person who made important contributions to the development of the internet and the web from which we all benefit," JSTOR said in a statement.  "The case is one that we ourselves had regretted being drawn into from the outset."

When Swartz was 14, he helped create RSS software, revolutionizing the way people subscribed to and consumed information online.

As an adult, he co-founded Reddit, a social news website, and railed against Internet censorship through the political action group Demand Progress.

His funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, in Highland Park, Ill., his family said, and they said that remembrances of Swartz and donations in his name could be made at rememberaaronsw.com.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan132013

Aaron Swartz’ Alleged Victim ‘Regretted’ Being Drawn Into Hacking Case

(NEW YORK) -- The suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who was due to stand trial on federal hacking charges, sparked anger from friends, family and followers, while the subscription-based journal service he was accused of hacking said it “regretted” ever being drawn into the case.”

Swartz’ federal trial on computer fraud charges was scheduled to begin in April. In 2011, Swartz was arrested after prosecutors alleged he illegally downloaded millions of scientific journals from JSTOR and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

JSTOR, which had stated it did not want to pursue charges against Swartz after he return the articles he had downloaded, posted a statement offering condolences to his family.

“He was a truly gifted person who made important contributions to the development of the internet and the web from which we all benefit,” JSTOR, or Journal Storage, said in a statement. “The case is one that we ourselves had regretted being drawn into from the outset.”

Swartz, 26, had pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, he could have faced decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

His family and partner issued a statement blaming the prosecution for playing a role in his suicide.

“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach,” the statement said.

“Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”

The family set up a website for people to post their memories of Swartz.

When he was 14 years old, Swartz helped create RSS software, revolutionizing the way people subscribed to and consumed information online.

As an adult, he co-founded Reddit, a social news website, and rallied against Internet censorship through the political action group Demand Progress.

Technology pioneers paid tribute to the man who “had more work to do, and who made the world a better place when he did it.”

“The billions of snippets of sadness and bewilderment spinning across the Net confirm who this amazing boy was to all of us,” Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig wrote.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, posted a poem, calling Swartz, who was 26 years old at the time of his death, “a mentor, a wise elder.”

Blogger Cory Doctorow posted on  Boing Boing that Swartz had “an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill, and intelligence about people and issues”.

And in true Aaron Swartz fashion, Doctorow’s lengthy tribute came with a disclaimer: “To the extent possible under law, Cory Doctorow has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to ‘RIP, Aaron Swartz.’”

His funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, in Highland Park, Ill., his family said, and they said that remembrances of Swartz and donations in his name could be made at rememberaaronsw.com.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec242012

Navy SEAL Commander’s Death Investigated as Possible Suicide

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Logsdon (RELEASED)(WASHINGTON) -- The death of a Navy SEAL commander in Afghanistan is being investigated as a possible suicide, military officials told ABC News on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Pentagon announced the death in Afghanistan of Navy Cmdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa.  Price died Saturday of what a Defense Department press release described as “a non-combat related injury” while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.

Price was assigned as the commander of SEAL Team 4, a Naval Special Warfare unit based in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Pentagon release says Price’s death is under investigation.

Two military officials confirm to ABC News that Price’s death is being investigated as a possible suicide.  One of the officials said Price was found on base with an apparent gunshot wound to his person.

SEAL Team 4 is one of the Navy’s eight Special Operations teams that routinely deploy to Afghanistan.  Four are based on the West Coast and four on the East Coast.

The elite SEAL unit commonly referred to as Seal Team 6 is a separate unit.  It is the most well-known of the Navy SEAL units because of its involvement in high-profile missions such as the one that killed Osama bin Laden.

Formally known as DEVGRU, an acronym for Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the unit is still most commonly known by its original name of SEAL Team 6.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec052012

Alaska Serial Killer Committed Suicide with Hidden Razor and Bedding

Kevin Horan/Ston(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- Serial killer Israel Keyes committed suicide in his Alaska jail cell by embedding a disposable razor blade into a pencil and slitting his wrist and using bedding material to strangle himself, the FBI said Wednesday.

Keyes, 34, left behind "crumpled, blood-soaked paper" with writing on the pages.

Keyes' death came as he was slowly confessing to a string of methodically planned murders that spanned the country. He had admitted to eight murders at the time of his suicide, but had yet to tell investigators the identities of all his victims and left police wondering how many more victims there may have been.

The suicide occurred while Keyes was locked alone in a cell after 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 1. His body was discovered the next morning at 5:57 a.m., the FBI said.

He used a weapon he had apparently constructed by embedding a blade from a disposable razor into a pencil. He slashed his left wrist with the razor, and then used a strip of bedding to strangle himself.

"There is no indication of any criminal involvement from other persons," according to the FBI in Anchorage. "Pages of crumpled, blood-soaked paper that appeared to have writing on them were recovered from the cell."

The papers have been handed over to the FBI for laboratory processing.

Keyes, 34, was in jail after his arrest for the death of teenage barista Samantha Koenig. While in jail, he told investigators how he traveled the country to kill and bury caches of weapons, money and tools for disposing of bodies to use in future crimes.

The suicide was Keyes' last act of violence committed by a merciless killer who told police that he "liked to do it."

Along with details of his suicide, investigators also released the grim details about Koenig's final hours and her killer's intricate plan to kill.

Koenig was abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled by Keyes, who went on a two-week cruise before returning to dismember and hide her body, according to the FBI.

"These details are being provided both to fully explain the courage and resolve Samantha displayed in the final hours of her life, as well as in the hopes that the release of additional details will help investigators of other murders committed by Israel Keyes," a statement released by federal prosecutors, the FBI and Alaskan police.

They also released video of Koenig's abduction and part of their interrogation of the confessed serial killer.

When Keyes was on the prowl for a victim, he selected the Common Grounds coffee stand in Anchorage, Alaska, where Koenig, 18, was working. Keyes picked the coffee stand for its location and late hours, authorities said. He had no previous connection to the teenager.

A ski mask-clad Keyes approached the coffee stand just before closing time on Feb. 1 and ordered a coffee. After Koenig handed him the coffee, he pulled a gun and demanded money. She complied and surveillance footage released by investigators shows Keyes climbing into the coffee stand and tying Koenig up with zip ties.

He forced her outside and toward his white truck, which he had earlier prepared by removing the license plates and unmounting tool boxes off the bed of the truck.

"Samantha broke away from Keyes and tried to run away," investigators said. "Keyes chased her and tackled her to the ground. He put one arm around her and pointed a gun at her body with the other hand, telling her that she needed to cooperate, that the gun had a very quiet ammo and that she should not do anything to make him kill her."

Keyes "drove around town" telling Koenig that he was kidnapping her for ransom. She explained that her family did not have much money and tried to convince him to let her go. Police said he intended to kill her all along.

When Keyes realized that Koenig did not have her cell phone, he went back to the coffee stand to get it as it was an integral part of his plan. He used the phone to text Koenig's boyfriend and the owner of the coffee stand.

"The text messages made it appear that Samantha just had a bad day and was leaving town for the weekend," investigators said. "Keyes then took the battery out of Samantha's phone."

When he asked her for her debit card, she explained that it was in the truck she shared with her boyfriend at her house and gave him the pin number.

"Keyes put Samantha in the shed in front of his [Keyes'] house, bound her, and turned the radio up in the shed so no one would hear her if she screamed," the release said. "He also told her that he had a police scanner and would know if she attempted to alert the neighbors."

Keyes went to Koenig's house for the debit card and was confronted by Koenig's boyfriend, who was looking for her. The boyfriend went into the house to call for help and Keyes was gone with the debit card by the time he got back.

Keyes returned to the shed, sexually assaulted Koenig and strangled her, the statement said.

"Keyes left her in the shed and then went back inside his house, where he packed for a pre-planned cruise that he was taking from New Orleans," authorities said.

He left Feb. 2 and returned Feb. 17. Upon his return, he used a typewriter to prepare a ransom note and demanded that $30,000 be deposited into the account tied to the debit card.

He went back to the shed and took a Polaroid photo of her tied up. His arm was in the photo holding a newspaper from Feb. 13, the statement said.

He put the note in a park and texted its location to Koenig's boyfriend. Police recovered the note.

"In the days that followed, Keyes dismembered Samantha's body and drove out to Matanuska Lake, where he cut a hole in the ice and put her body in the lake," investigators said.

Koenig's father deposited donated reward money into the ransom account and Keyes was arrested after ATM withdrawals were made in Anchorage, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The FBI has also released an ominous list of 35 trips Keyes made around the U.S., Mexico and Canada over the last eight years.

Keyes, the owner of an Anchorage construction company, had been facing a March trial in Anchorage federal court -- and possibly the death penalty -- for the killing of Koenig.

While in jail he had been confessing to at least seven other killings in Washington, New York and Vermont. Police have confirmed that he was responsible for the deaths of Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vt.

Investigators are now piecing together a deadly puzzle that is uncovering a macabre lifestyle of Keyes traveling to kill simply because he "liked to do it," prosecutors said.

Police and the FBI spent hours talking to Keyes in the months after his arrest and he was cooperating, talking to investigators as recently as Thursday.

The FBI is asking for the public's assistance with any information about Keyes' travels in order to identify additional victims. They ask that anyone with information contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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