A 44-year-old woman was found dead in a heavily wooded area in a Pennsylvania state park in an apparent suicide after she inhaled too much helium gas.
Teresa Mastracola from Millbourne, Pennsylvania was found deep in Ridley Creek State Park on Saturday, a little less than a week after she was reported missing.
Police do not currently suspect foul play in the incident, as Mastracola’s death has been ruled a suicide.
Police were reluctant to report Mastracola, a master sergeant in the Pennsylvania National Guard, as missing, as she was an avid hiker who often spent days out at a time.
She also frequently visited the park. Police have yet to find her car.
Mastracola’s former boyfriend and current roommate first notified authorities on December 2nd after he returned home and didn’t find her there.
Mastracola was last seen that morning in her scrubs, as she worked as an imaging Equipment Specialist at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.
Though authorities have not fully disclosed the details surrounding Mastracola’s death, they are confident that they are dealing with a suicide and officially ruled her death as the result of inhaling too much helium and chemical asphyxia.
Helium inhalation has become an increasingly popular method of suicide in recent years. According to a recent study, reported helium-related deaths spiked from two in 2010 to 42 in 2011.
Between 1993 and 2007, only 18 people were recorded as having died from the gas.
Helium is often used to eliminate the pain and panic that comes with asphyxiation.
James Gilbert | Elite.