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Sharlotte Hydorn, 91-Year-Old Grandmother, Selling Suicide Kits Online

Suicide Kit

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 05/01/11 05:55 PM ET Updated: 07/01/11 06:12 AM ET

A La Mesa, California grandmother has recently been making headlines for her unconventional and deadly business.

Sharlotte Hydorn, a 91-year-old grandmother, has apparently been selling $60 suicide kits online, stirring much debate about the legality of the practice. Just four months ago a 29-year-old man was found dead by his brother after using one of the do-it-yourself kits, according to the Daily Beast.

How the grandmother-turned-suicide-facilitator began selling the kits, which are available for purchase under the name of the The Gladd company, is a story of personal anguish. According to the Daily Beast, Hydorn's own husband died a painful death from colon cancer almost 30 years ago.

Many have spoken out against Hydorn's business, including the family of Nick Klonoski, who took his life using the kit. “In a society where so many people suffer from depression and other mental-health disorders,” Zach Klonoski, Nick's brother, said at a hearing, “this company has found their niche in the market by peddling death. This is analogous to putting a gun-vending machine next to a depression clinic. The Gladd company, so named as to avoid suspicion in case family members happen to sign for or come across the package, made $60 off my brother’s death.”

The grandmother defends her business regardless. "I'm doing what I can to improve the world," she told 10News. "There's a lot of heartache and difficulty here."

The kits create a simple suffocation device that uses helium to take away life.

From 10News.com:

Charlotte makes the kits -- which cost buyers $60 -- by taking large plastic bags and sewing soft elastic bands around the opening. There is a slot in the bag for a plastic tube carrying helium gas to be inserted. Helium -- when inhaled in its pure form -- is deadly. Kit users are responsible for securing their own helium gas.

About 1,600 are sold every year. To this point, California does not have laws enacted that make this type of business illegal, despite many recent calls to enact laws that will limit the availability of such devices.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS CONTEMPLATED SUICIDE PLEASE CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE AT 1-800-273-8255

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