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Out of county resident charged with assisted suicide

A Nevada County resident, Michelle Powers, 67, of Lake Wildwood was arrested Tuesday, June 18, in Quincy and charged with assisting in the suicide of her daughter.

This is the first time someone has been charged with this kind of felony in Plumas County, according to District Attorney David Hollister.

This is not considered a homicide, Hollister explained.

By the time Powers was arrested, the California Highway Patrol had located a deceased female in the woods near Lee Summit. That woman was identified as Etta Elmore, 52, of Penn Valley. At some point during the investigation it was learned the Elmore was Powers’ daughter.

Chain of events

At 6:40 p.m., Monday, June 17, someone reported to the sheriff’s dispatch center that an elderly woman using a walker was seen on Highway 70 at Lee Summit. The caller said the woman appeared to be attempting to flag down vehicles.

That information was transferred to the CHP.

At some point, Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Peay said that the CHP contacted Powers about the missing person who had been reported earlier, but she had no information to assist them in locating her.

It was the following morning at approximately 9:30 a.m. that the CHP informed the Sheriff’s Office about a possible deceased woman on Lee Summit.

And it was the CHP who located Elmore’s body approximately 50 feet over an embankment near Lee Summit and Highway 70.

According to Hollister, it looked like the woman took a blanket and a pillow and found a place to lie down. There were no obvious signs of injuries, Peay explained. “A subsequent interview of the mother revealed she had assisted her daughter in ending her life,” Peay added.

Hollister said that Powers allegedly provided Elmore with prescription medication, possibly enough morphine pills to lead to Elmore’s death. An autopsy will determine the exact cause of death, Peay said.

No information was revealed as to why Powers’ allegedly decided to help end Elmore’s life.

Through the initial investigation, Peay said that it was learned that Elmore had made previous suicidal threats, but had made no attempt to take her own life. “No other suspects have been identified in this case,” Peay said.

Evidence was also collected at the Lee Summit scene.

It was on the morning of June 18 that the CHP learned that Powers was at the Plumas County Social Service’s department seeking assistance for being stranded.

This led to Powers’ arrest. She has been charged under California’s Penal Code 401. This involves aiding, advising or encouraging another person to commit suicide. It is a felony. She is being held on $250,000.

“The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend our condolences to the victim’s family,” Peay said.

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