A Pennsylvania woman has been charged with aiding suicide two years after she sent "heinous and graphic" messages to her estranged boyfriend, authorities said Tuesday.
Investigators said they found a letter believed to be written by 35-year-old Mandie Reusch in her estranged boyfriend's apartment after he died by suicide in 2021. Messages posted to his Facebook page detail "a trail of torment and solicitation," the Westmoreland County District Attorney's Office said.
Kevin Metzger, 37, died by suicide on June 18, 2021, authorities said.
"Mr. Metzger may still be here today if those messages did not influence and encourage him to take his own life," District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli said in a statement.
One trooper said some of the bullying and messaging was the worst he'd ever seen in a case like this,.
"This is the next level or most extreme amount of bullying I've seen, read about, heard about, where somebody is constantly telling someone to end their life," Trooper Steve Limani said.
According to the criminal complaint, the messages started in June of 2020 and lasted for more than a year, CBS Pittsburgh reported. Reusch is accused of telling her ex-boyfriend to take his own life on several occasions.
"These messages from Mr. Metzger's estranged girlfriend were continuous and unrelenting for months, until it finally stopped when the victim took his own life," the DA said.
Reusch and Metzger shared a child, according to a criminal complaint filed by state police.
The messages allegedly threaten that Metzger would never see their daughter and say he owed Reusch money. Some messages contained explicit images, videos or themes, the station reported.
"You're talking about the three of the biggest triggers you can have when making someone feel awful," Limani said.
However, Reusch's attorney, Phil DiLucente, told CBS Pittsburgh that there is more to the story.
"Other not-so-nice things exchanged both ways, said to one another. It resulted in over two years later of being charged," DiLucente said.
The district attorney said the level of bullying and harassment rose to a criminal level, and that they looked at other similar cases before pursuing charges. But DiLucente argued the state is using a new statute that has rarely been used.
"My God, if we're going to start prosecuting people for sending harsh texts to one another versus it being verbally communicated, then we are on a different path on our legal system," DiLucente said.
Reusch was also charged with harassment. She was arraigned Tuesday and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 27, CBS Pittsburgh reported.
This is not the first time someone has been charged over another person's suicide. In 2017, released from jail in Massachusetts after serving a 15-month sentence.was convicted of manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend to end his life. In 2020, she was
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here.
For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email email@example.com.
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