TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The sheriff is offering insight into Thursday evening’s bizarre case of a Vigo County man carrying out his own suicide in an unorthodox manner the sheriff says he found online.
According to Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing, the 41-year-old victim, whose name News 10 is opting not to release, inhaled fumes from a homemade chemical concoction made by mixing hydrochloric acid, a component the man got from a bottle of bathroom cleaning solution; and a pesticide containing sulfur.
The end product was hydrogen sulfide.
Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic gas characterized by a foul odor that “smells like rotten eggs,” said Michael Mueller, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry and the head of the chemistry department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Ewing said once he inhaled those vapors, the man’s death likely came in under 60 seconds.
As if this death investigation could get anymore outside the ordinary, Ewing said the website from which the man got his step-by-step tutorial even included a sign users can print out and hang on their front door.
That sign’s purpose: a warning for emergency responders that toxic gases had been released inside the house, and that the room would need to be ventilated immediately.
As considerate as that gesture might have been, Ewing said he hopes this rare method does not become a trend locally. Ewing has heard about this approach one time in the past: within the last two years, also in Vigo County.
“I certainly hope that this is not something that’s going to become more common of a means because there is a lot of extra work that has to go on when those chemicals are combined to create the poisonous gas,” Ewing pointed out.
On Friday afternoon, the county coroner confirmed to News 10 the victim’s manner of death was officially being ruled from ingesting poisonous chemicals. The man’s wife told News 10 she was in the process of divorcing her husband.
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