A 44-year-old woman, whose body was found in a Pennsylvania state park, committed suicide by inhaling helium gas.
Teresa Mastracola from Millbourne, Pennsylvania was found in a heavily wooded area in Ridley Creek State Park after she went missing a little less than a week ago. Her body was found on Saturday.
According to the Daily Mail, Mastracola was last seen on December 2 when she left her house that morning wearing scrubs on her way to work at Delaware County Memorial Hospital where she worked as an Imaging Equipment Specialist. Mastracola’s former boyfriend and current roommate notified authorities on December 2 when he came home and she wasn’t there. Her co-workers also started to worry when she did not show up for work.
Police were initially reluctant to rule Mastracola’s disappearance as suspicious since she was a master sergeant in the Pennsylvania National Guard and was an avid hiker who often spent days out at a time including the state park where her body was found. Police do not suspect that foul play was involved in her death, but it is still unclear how exactly she committed suicide. Also, police have yet to find her car.
However, authorities officially ruled her death as the result of helium inhalation and chemical asphyxia.
Helium inhalation has become an 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 while only 18 people were recorded as having died from the gas between 1993 and 2007.