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Published: Tuesday, 11/14/2006

Woman's death in lake probed as suicide pact

VERMILION, Ohio - The weekend death of a Delaware, Ohio, woman is being investigated as part of a suicide pact with her son, who survived their joint plunge into Lake Erie, an Erie County sheriff's deputy said yesterday.

Sallie S. Myford, 45, was found face-down along the shore of Sherod Park in Vermilion Township, Capt. Paul Sigsworth said.

Her son, Andrew M. Myford, 23, also of Delaware, was taken to Community Health Partners in Lorain, Ohio. Spokesman Jennifer Kennedy said the hospital had no patient by that name.

A resident of the nearby Shore Acres mobile home court called deputies at 7:35 p.m. Sunday, reporting a man was in a car near her home, apparently suffering from shock, the deputy said. The man, identified as Mr. Myford, indicated he and his mother had a mutual pact to commit suicide.

Mr. Myford and his mother, with whom he lived in Delaware, walked to the park, and they entered the water together, he said.

"At some point, Mr. Myford changed his mind and attempted to abort the suicide attempt," Captain Sigsworth said.

He dragged his mother to shore, then drove to the nearby mobile home park.

Detectives do not know how long the pair were in the water, which was about 42 degrees in that area, Captain Sigsworth said.

"There was some indication that alcohol was involved on the part of the son," the captain said. Mr. Myford was being treated for exposure and will be given a mental health evaluation.

Captain Sigsworth said the incident is under investigation. "Obviously this is very, very unusual," he said.

Ms. Myford's body was taken to Lucas County for an autopsy. Dr. Brian Baxter, Erie County coroner, said the autopsy report was expected today.

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