Authorities investigate possible toxic suicide

Oxford death investigation
March 15, 2010 10:55:13 AM PDT
Granville County authorities are investigating a death involving poisonous chemicals.

It happened around 10 p.m. Sunday in an Oxford neighborhood and caused authorities to evacuate some residents.

Oxford police say they were called to the scene to investigate a suspicious vehicle. When they arrived, they a found 35-year-old woman slumped over in her car in the back of her home on Hazelwood Court, off of Polly Drive and Highway 96.

Oxford Police Chief John Wolford says the woman appeared to be deceased, so an officer opened the car door. Unidentified chemicals were found in a container on the front passenger seat on the car. There was nothing attached to the car or visible inside the car warning officers of danger.

The officer who opened the car was overcome by a hazardous chemical and was taken to the hospital, but his condition is unknown. He complained of a burning sensation in his throat.

A hazmat team from Raleigh was called to the scene. Officials say they are calling the case a death investigation but believe it could be a toxic suicide.

At this time, police believe the woman may have committed suicide, but they are still investigating the incident as a death.

A neighbor tells ABC11 Eyewitness News, the woman was a teacher at an elementary school.

There was a similar case in Cary last month involving a 31-year-old man.

In that case, the victim mixed chemicals in a 5 gallon bucket placed in the passenger seat next to him. The ingredients for the toxic mix were household chemicals that can be purchased easily at the store.

Similar to the Oxford Case, the Cary man also was found in his. The car had a note on it with a warning of hazardous chemicals.

To read more about that case, click here.

Authorities say the trend of using chemicals to commit suicide began internationally and has become more popular in the states.

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