88-Year-old Recalls Wife’s Suicide

The district attorney’s office said Alan Purdy, accused of aiding in his wife’s suicide, will not be charged

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A San Marcos man accused of aiding in his wife’s suicide spoke out Thursday after the district attorney’s office announced he wouldn't be charged with any crime.

    Investigators said Alan Purdy, 88, was at home with his wife, Margaret “Jo” Purdy, 84, back in March when Margaret decided to take her own life.

    Husband Describes Wife's Final Moments

    [DGO] Husband Describes Wife's Final Moments
    San Marcos resident Alan Purdy, once accused of aiding in his wifeâ s suicide, spoke out Thursday after the district attorneyâ s office announced he wouldn't be charged. NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales reports. (Published Friday, Aug 24, 2012)

    After Margaret committed suicide, Alan called his doctor to report his wife was dead.

    When deputies arrived at the elderly couple’s home on Cycad Drive, they found Margaret dead with a bag over her head. Her death was ruled a suicide and Alan was taken into custody, accused of aiding in her suicide.

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    [DGO] Man Charged in Wife's Suicide
    An 88-year-old San Marcos man was arrested by deputies, accused of aiding in his wife's suicide. Lt. Larry Nesbit explains the process of homicide detectives to NBC 7's Tony Shin. (Published Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012)

    On Thursday, Alan was cleared in his wife’s suicide and spoke to NBC 7 San Diego about her last hours. He teared up when remembering his beloved wife, who was bedridden and suffered from several ailments, including severe pancreatitis.

    Alan said he tried to stop Margaret from committing suicide, but he said she was determined to die. He said he sat there with her because he didn’t want her to die alone.

    “She sat in the chair. I sat next to her because I didn't want her to feel abandoned or unloved,” he recalled.

    As a loving husband, Alan said he felt he had to let his wife go on her own terms.

    “I didn't have the right, as she was suffering so badly, to say you can't do this or prevent her from doing it.”

    Purdy said it wasn’t the first time Margaret had tried taking her own life.

    “One day I found her in the garage with the engine running in the car and she'd taken a bunch of sleeping pills,” he recalled.

    But her attempt in March would be her last.

    Alan said Margaret wrote her own obituary that day and took sleeping pills before placing a roasting bag over her head and sealing it with rubber bands.

    “I sat beside her and cried. That's how she went,” added Alan.

    The 88-year-old said the next 24 hours were a blur.

    When sheriffs arrived at the couple’s home they arrested him on suspicion of aiding a suicide and took him to Vista Jail. He said he was strip-searched and left alone in a cold cell.

    “I thought, `This is crazy. What's going on here?’” recalled Alan. “You just can't take the elderly and throw them in the clink. It isn't built for the elderly.”

    Alan was soon released from jail, but waited a long six months for the district attorney’s conclusion.

    In the end, prosecutors determined the case couldn't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and said they would not be charging Alan.

    Though Alan is relieved, he said he still misses his “Jo.” He said he’ll never forget his last words to his beloved wife.

    “I said, `I love you.’ What could I say? And I was not going to leave her alone to die.”

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