Two people were arrested Wednesday in North Georgia after officials said they were involved in the assisted suicide of a Cumming man, said John Bankhead with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Two others have been charged in Maryland in connection with the death.
The GBI said they began their investigation into the Final Exit Network in June 2008 at the request of the Cumming Police Department and Forsyth County coroner. A detective with the Cumming Police Department said the family of the 58-year-old deceased man had suspicions his death was an assisted suicide.
As part of the investigation, the GBI said they set up a sting operation at a home in Dawson County Wednesday in which an undercover agent posed as a Final Exit Network member to obtain their assistance with his “suicide.”
The investigation revealed that the method used in the Cumming assisted suicide involved helium inhalation, GBI officials said.
According to the GBI, after paying $50 for membership in The Final Exit Network and going through an application process, the member would be visited by an “Exit Guide” assigned to his case. During the visitations, the member was instructed to purchase two helium tanks of a specific size and brand and a specific type of hood known as an “exit bag”. On the day of the event, the member was visited by the “Exit Guide” and a “Senior Exit Guide”. The Senior Exit Guide instructed the member through the process.
This assisted suicide process was confirmed during Wednesday’s sting operation, police said. After the member succumbed, all evidence was removed from the scene by the “guides” and discarded, as evidence indicated happened in the Cumming case, GBI officials said.
Police arrested Claire Blehr, 76, of Atlanta and Thomas E. Goodwin, 63, of Kennesaw.
In Maryland, police arrested Dr. Lawrence D. Egbert, 81, of Baltimore. Nicholas Alec Sheridan, 60, also of Baltimore has been charged but is not in custody.
All four have been charged on warrants out of Forsyth County with assisted suicide, tampering with evidence, and violation of the Georgia RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act.