Her name is Sharlotte Hydorn. With the help of her adopted son, she toils in back of her house in the El Cajon area east of San Diego to fill mail orders for asphyxiation kits consisting of medical-grade tubing and a clear plastic bag. The idea is for the recipient to connect the contraption to a helium canister and permanently fall asleep within minutes.
“Do I look like a criminal?” Hydorn said, standing on her manicured front lawn.
Her critics would say yes. Even people who believe in assisted-suicide said she peddles the product without knowing the circumstances or identities of the buyers. While some suicidal people are rational, others are not, said Alan Berman, executive director of the American Association for Suicidology, a suicide-prevention organization.
When one of Hydorn’s devices was found next to the body of a 29-year-old Eugene, Oregon suicide victim last December, the resulting media attention led to a doubling of orders for her Gladd Group business. But it also triggered a federal investigation and May 25th FBI home raid, during which some of her merchandise was confiscated.