Man allegedly aided suicide
LINCOLN, Neb. — A Nebraska man accused of helping his Florida girlfriend kill herself after she told him she had cancer appears to have taken her story at face value and didn’t push her to seek medical treatment or mental-health counseling, authorities said Tuesday.
Lt. Larry Burke of the Cass County sheriff’s office said Matthew J. Stubbendieck was “pretty convincing in his interviews” that he believed his girlfriend, 38-year-old Alicia Wilemon-Sullivan, of Orange City, Florida, had stage-four cancer in her lymph nodes.
Nebraska authorities now suspect Wilemon-Sullivan didn’t have cancer, based on an autopsy of her decomposed body that found no tumors. Wilemon-Sullivan killed herself in a wooded area near Weeping Water, Nebraska, on Aug. 1, with help from the 41-year-old Stubbendieck, who faces a felony assisted suicide charge.
Burke said authorities can’t prove whether or not Wilemon-Sullivan actually had the disease, but noted that Stubbendieck never accompanied her to medical appointments and didn’t contact authorities while they were planning or carrying out her death.
“He didn’t bother to say, ‘If she does have cancer, why don’t we do something about it,'” Burke said. “If he’s truly in love with her, as he says, there are times he could have sought help. He could have gotten her to a mental health professional.”
Burke said Wilemon-Sullivan claimed to have cancer back when she and Stubbendieck were living in Florida. Stubbendieck moved to Florida about three years ago but returned to his native Nebraska after losing his job, he said.
Authorities said Stubbendieck reported that Wilemon-Sullivan had killed herself and led them to her body on Aug. 5 in a wooded area near his hometown of Weeping Water, which is about 25 miles southwest of Omaha. The couple arranged for Wilemon-Sullivan to fly to Nebraska from her home near Orlando to kill herself.
Stubbendieck believed his girlfriend had cancer in the lymph nodes of her neck, armpit and stomach, according to court records. Authorities say the cause of death was inconclusive, but the autopsy found no sign of blunt force trauma and concluded that cuts on her forearms and wrists appeared to be self-inflicted. Wilemon-Sullivan also had alcohol, painkillers and cold medicine in her system, it found.