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Another Suicide: Kevorkian Attends Death of MS Patient

January 29, 1996

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) _ Dr. Jack Kevorkian took part in suicide No. 27, that of a 48-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis whose bathrobe-clad body was found in Kevorkian’s battered van outside the coroner’s office Monday.

Linda Henslee, 48, of Beloit, Wis., died of carbon monoxide poisoning, Medical Examiner L.J. Dragovic said.

Her body was found around 6 a.m. after someone called the office and said to ``check out the vehicle in the parking lot,″ Sheriff’s Capt. Barnett Jones said.

It is the third time in the past year that a body has been left in one of Kevorkian’s vehicles near the medical examiner’s office, in an area Sheriff John Nichols said has been nicknamed ``Kevorkian Drive.″

``There’s no observation of dignity to have the body of a woman dropped off at the morgue at 6 in the morning on a freezing day. It shows a ghoulish disrespect for the sanctity of human life,″ prosecutor Lawrence Bunting said.

It was unavoidable, said Geoffrey Fieger, the lawyer for the 67-year-old retired pathologist.

``If arrangements could be made, for instance, to have the funeral homes take care of these cases, that could be arranged, perhaps,″ he said. But he indicated nursing homes, hospices and funeral homes might have been unwilling to deal with the bodies.

Fieger refused to say how, where or when the woman died. He said she was brought to Michigan last week by two daughters and an unidentified friend. The three, with Kevorkian, were present when she died.

Henslee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years ago, and by the time she died was completely incapacitated, unable to eat or use the bathroom without help, Fieger said.

``You could just tell she was miserable,″ said Lori Coolidge, a hairdresser whose shop is next door to the house where Henslee lived with her daughter Dawn. ``She just couldn’t do anything.″

Coolidge said she shampooed Henslee’s hair. ``The day I came over and did it, we just kind of had to flop her head over a counter. ... She couldn’t feed herself. She had no control over her hands,″ she said.

Kevorkian has helped in the suicides of at least 27 people since 1990. Fieger refused to say if Kevorkian has attended other, unpublicized deaths.

Fieger said it was coincidence that Henslee died two weeks before Kevorkian’s trial on assisted suicide charges in two 1993 deaths. He also faces charges in two other deaths.

No immediate charges were filed in the latest suicide.

``Dr. Kevorkian encouraged her, `Why don’t you wait until next week, next month.′ ... She insisted, `My time is now,‴ Fieger said.

Fieger refused to say where Kevorkian was. No one answered the telephone at Kevorkian’s home and the house appeared to be unoccupied.

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