Assisted suicide: Man charged after prosecutors say he helped girlfriend kill herself

WEEPING WATER, Nebraska — A Nebraska man faces an assisted suicide charge after he helped his girlfriend kill herself in the woods, authorities said.

Cass County sheriff's deputies charged Matthew Stubbendieck, 41, of Weeping Water last week in the death of 38-year-old Alicia Wilemon-Sullivan of Orange City, Florida.

Authorities said Stubbendieck reported that Wilemon-Sullivan had killed herself and led them to her body Aug. 5 in a wooded area near Weeping Water, about 25 miles (40.23 kilometers) southwest of Omaha. They said the couple arranged for Wilemon-Sullivan to fly to Nebraska from her home near Orlando to kill herself on Aug. 1.

Stubbendieck believed his girlfriend had stage-four cancer in the lymph nodes of her neck, armpit and stomach, but a pathologist who performed an autopsy didn't report any cancerous masses or tumors, according to court records.

Stubbendieck told authorities he had never accompanied his girlfriend to medical appointments, according to the records. He said he didn't think she had a regular doctor, but that she had been diagnosed and treated in emergency rooms.

The two texted about her death, and Wilemon-Sullivan left her children with a friend and said she was going on vacation to Key West, records said.

An attorney for Stubbendieck wasn't immediately available.

Investigators said Stubbendieck accompanied Wilemon-Sullivan to Schramm State Park by the Platte River, but returned to Weeping Water after they saw a park worker. They walked into the woods to an area called Acapulco Lake around 2 p.m. on Aug. 5, and he remained with her for several hours as she tried to kill herself, according to the records.

Authorities said Stubbendieck tried to suffocate her twice while she was sleeping, but stopped because she appeared to be suffering. She was still able to whisper when he left her around 9:30 p.m.

Stubbendieck returned the next afternoon and found Wilemon-Sullivan dead, but he didn't call the sheriff's office until three days later, according to court records. Stubbendieck told authorities he initially promised not to tell anyone about her death until five or six months later but changed his mind because the secret was "destroying his family," court records show.