Florida Keys

Keys woman live-streamed her suicide on Facebook, police say

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A 53-year-old woman killed herself on Facebook Live late Wednesday night, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.

Merilee Joyce Turner, of Cudjoe Key, whose friends called her by the nickname “Mouse,” was seen by several people wounding herself with an object, said sheriff’s office spokesman Adam Linhardt.

The sheriff’s office responded to a home in the 21000 block of Old State Road 4A at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. The report is heavily redacted as deputies are still investigating, but states that the woman had possibly stabbed herself.

“EMS arrived moments later” and pronounced Turner dead, according to the report.

Linhardt on Friday said an autopsy is pending and the exact cause of death remains unclear. Facebook has taken the video down.

“Foul play is not suspected,” Linhardt said. “We’re not looking for anybody. It’s obviously self-inflicted wounds but there could have been other factors involved.”

At least a few people saw the live-stream, including a deputy who was responding to the call by one of the people who viewed the live-stream.

“Dear friend you will always have a special place in my heart,” one friend posted to Facebook.

According to her Facebook page, Turner was a native of Deerfield, Illinois, and studied at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She had worked at the American Legion Post 154 in Marathon since 2017.

Live-streamed suicides have happened before in South Florida. In June 2018, a 27-year-old Key West man hanged himself at a parking garage. In January 2017, 14-year-old Nakia Venant broadcast her death by hanging in a two-hour long Facebook Live post.

Asked a series of questions about how it handles suicides broadcast on its site, a Facebook spokeswoman responded only with a statement.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the victim’s friends and family,” said Facebook spokeswoman Emily Cain. “Members of our community should contact local first responders directly if they become aware of a situation where the authorities can help. We will also notify first responders if we see a threat that requires an immediate response.”

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