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Woman Accused of Helping Healthy 86-year-old Vet Commit Suicide

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LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (KTLA) -- Orange County sheriff's deputies have arrested a woman for allegedly helping a healthy 86-year-old Laguna Niguel man commit suicide.

Elizabeth Barrett, 65, is accused of helping Jack Koency, a World War II veteran, kill himself with a cocktail of drugs on Sept. 30, 2011.

Koency's death at a senior living complex in Laguna Niguel was reported by Barret, a self-described social worker.

But, investigators say what may have initially seemed like a natural death turned out to be anything but natural.

The first sign of foul play came when sheriff's deputies found a motion-activated video camera that Koency had hidden in his apartment.

"He was part of the greatest generation," Deputy District Atty. Ebrahim Baytieh said about Koency.

"He fought in World War II, and unfortunately he came back and he suffered from depression, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was paranoid."

Court documents say the video showed Barrett in Koency's apartment when she said she wasn't.

The video also showed her crushing up pills and putting them in a cup, according to the documents.

Prosecutors believe the pills were a deadly combination of medicines, including Oxycodone, designed to kill Koency.

Investigators say evidence was also found that Koency researched the group Exit International, which gives advice on assisted suicide.

Authorities say while it appears Koency may have wanted to die, it's still not legal for his social worker to help him.

"We expect decent people when they see somebody like that to pick up the phone, call 911 and say, 'Hey, I know this individual, and he wants to harm himself. He wants to kill himself. He wants to end his life. He needs help,'" Baytieh said.

"She did the exact opposite. She helped him, and that's a crime."

Barrett was arrested at her home Wednesday morning on suspicion of advising and assisting in a suicide.

Meantime, police say they are still looking into the website for Exit International.

So far, they say they have not found any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by anyone affiliated with the site.

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