SAN DIEGO (AP) — An 88-year-old U.S. man won't be charged with any crime after being arrested on suspicion of aiding in his sick wife's suicide.
Margaret Purdy, 84, was found dead with a bag over her head in March, and her death was ruled a suicide by the county medical examiner. Family said the woman battled a series of ailments as her husband doted on her in her final years and that she had tried to kill herself before.
San Diego prosecutors determined that the case against Alan Purdy couldn't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, Tanya Sierra, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, said Wednesday night.
Family members said they were relieved.
"I'm absolutely delighted to hear it. He's 88 years old and hard of hearing, and he loved his wife dearly," Alan Purdy's sister-in-law Margot Smith said.
There is no specific federal law regarding either euthanasia or assisted suicide, but California is one of three dozen states that have specific laws prohibiting assisted suicides.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the once vibrant Margaret Purdy left a suicide note on her desk after being bedridden in her final years from severe pancreatitis, an autoimmune disease, a crumbling spine and three fractured vertebrae that never healed.
At the time of the arrest, the couple's son-in-law John Muster, said it wasn't the first time Purdy's wife had tried to commit suicide.
"She had mentioned for some time that she was under a great deal of pain and that this was a very hard life," Muster said.