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HUSBAND-WIFE SUICIDE PACT? Elderly woman found dead in apt.
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HUSBAND-WIFE SUICIDE PACT?
Elderly woman found dead in apt.

Monday, June 15, 2009
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

In what authorities say could have been a double-suicide attempt, an elderly woman was found dead yesterday morning in a Jersey City apartment building for seniors and her husband was rushed to the Jersey City Medical Center.

The elderly couple was found by their son in their apartment at the Battery View Seniors Center building, 72 Montgomery St., at around noon, officials said.

The couple appeared to be involved with helium gas and plastic bags, said Hudson County Edward DeFazio.

DeFazio said both wife and husband, whom he declined to identify, had "health problems" and a "note" was left in the couple's 11th floor apartment.

DeFazio did not say what was in the note and said his office is now trying to confirm who wrote it.

"It could be an attempted suicide, but we are not prepared to classify the event that way," DeFazio said. "For now, it is a suspicious death pending further investigation."

Both the elderly man and his wife "were involved in similar conduct," DeFazio said.

The interview with the husband is "critical" to the investigation, he said. The couple's son has been interviewed, but DeFazio declined to say what he said.

The Regional Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy on the woman's body today, DeFazio said.

Raisa Rosengaus, 85, a tenant at the building said the wife and husband emigrated from Ukraine 30 years ago. She said they've lived at the complex for about three years.

"I'd say hello to her (the wife) in the hallways," Rosengaus said, adding the husband had recently been hospitalized.

In February, authorities in the state of Georgia arrested four persons connected with the Final Exit Network on assisted suicide charges. According to reports, the group encourages members to pay a $50 membership fee, purchase tanks of helium, and breathe inside a hood or bag filled with the gas.

Helium is seen as a swift, highly lethal, and painless way to die, according to published reports about assisted suicide.

Journal staff writers Tom Shortell and Michaelangelo Conte contributed to this story.

Posted on: 2009/6/15 13:50
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