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Body of woman found near Lake Hughes Road

She apparently used toxic gas from homemade chemical concoction to kill herself

Posted: February 23, 2010 5:06 p.m.
Updated: February 23, 2010 5:00 p.m.

The body of a woman whose identify had not been released at press time was found in a car Tuesday morning near Lake Hughes Road. The woman apparently committed suicide using a mixture of chemicals that created a toxic gas, according to authorities.

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A sheriff's deputy spotted a blue Honda Civic parked in a dirt field about 100 yards away from a remote stretch of Lake Hughes Road on Tuesday morning.

The deputy stopped to see if the car had been abandoned. It hadn't been.

Computer print-outs had been taped over all of the windows, warning that hazardous chemicals were inside the car. Through the gaps between the sheets of paper, the deputy saw a woman's body, slumped over in the back seat.

The woman, whom authorities said had recently been reported missing, appeared to be one of the latest to join a morbid suicide trend that began in Japan and appears to have taken root in Southern California.

She mixed household detergents to fill the car with a foul-smelling, deadly gas, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore.

The woman's identity has not been released, Whitmore said.

Other media have reported cases from Japan to Pasadena, most of which included the printed-out warning signs for those who find the body.

The chemical cocktail's ingredients have been posted on Web sites catering to the suicidal. The fumes can quickly kill someone in an enclosed space and have, in some cases, sickened bystanders.

The deputy who found the woman's body on Tuesday called the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, which sent a hazardous materials squad to safely dispose of the chemicals, Whitmore said.

The notes left on the car indicated the woman had committed suicide, he said, but authorities were still investigating the woman's death.

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