Woman found wrapped in shower curtain in apparent gas poisoning suicide
A woman was found dead due to an apparent suicide by toxic gas in this car this morning. A note taped to the driver's side window warns those nearby of the toxic gas.
The body of an unidentified woman was found in a blue Hyundai Elantra that was parked behind a series of modular sheds at Torres Service Center located at the corner of Audubon St. and Highway 90 in Paradis.
The woman’s body was found at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, April 2 by a man who was on his way into work.
The man said he saw the woman slumped over in the driver’s seat of the car and that as he approached the vehicle he noticed a sulphur smell in the air and saw warning notes posted on windows on each side of the car.
The notes were apparently produced by a computer printer and in large letters read, “Warning! Toxic gas. H2S Hydrogen Sulfide. Do not attempt to enter vehicle. Call HAZMAT.” The notes also included a number to the Louisiana hazardous materials hotline.
Hydrogen sulfide is a toxic gas that is used in, and is a by-product of, processes at oil refineries.
Officials with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said although the death appeared to be a suicide, they would complete a full investigation to make a final determination on the matter.
“It’s under investigation. Until (detectives) have concluded with it they will not say whether foul play was involved,” Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange, spokesman for the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, said.
While there were no gas tanks found in the vehicle, vents in the car were taped shut and a shower curtain was fashioned around the body in such a way as to contain the gas.
“The shower curtain was constructed to the point where it would contain the gases to where it would flow directly to her. She manufactured it herself, we believe, that way the gases would flow directly to her and none would escape. It was set up in a situation where it would be contained in the area where she was in the vehicle,” LaGrange said.
The Sheriff’s Office would not release the woman’s identity, pending notification of her family, but did say the vehicle she was found in belonged to someone else.
“The vehicle in question is registered out of Florida and it is registered under someone else’s name,” LaGrange said.
Officials from the St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center, along with ES&H, a hazardous materials remediation contractor, worked to stabilize the scene and ensure the cleanup of any hazardous materials.
Officials from the Louisiana State Police, Monsanto, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Coroner’s Office and the Paradis Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the scene.
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