Crime

Final Exit: Group That Helps Suffering People Commit Suicide Is Active in Florida

When Boca Raton Police Officer Lora McHugh entered Sandra Snow's bedroom around 4:30 p.m. on July 22, 2008, she found the plump 62-year-old lying face up on the bed, a green blanket pulled to her neck. Snow was dead.

The officer checked for signs of foul play but found none. Snow's nephew, a 49-year-old realtor named Jeffery, said he'd discovered his aunt's body just 15 minutes before, when he'd arrived to take her car in for service.

Jeffery dialed a number and handed the phone to McHugh. Snow's doctor advised that Sandra hadn't been in good health. He offered to sign the death certificate. The cop hung up and concluded in her report, "Apparent cause of death was natural causes."

But the truth was far more complicated. It involved lies, secrecy, a tank of helium, and something called an "exit hood" that would lead to suicide.

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Deirdra Funcheon