[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
A Pennsylvania woman is facing charges after authorities say she allegedly goaded her estranged boyfriend into dying by suicide.
Mandie Reusch (pictured above, mugshot) was charged this week with misdemeanor harassment and aiding suicide. The charges stem from the 2021 death of a 37-year-old man named Kevin Metzger. He had been Mandie’s estranged boyfriend and the father of her daughter prior to his death.
This week, along with the charges, authorities in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania are revealing some of the shocking text messages Mandie allegedly sent to Kevin prior to his death. Per PennLive.com, Mandie’s messages allegedly began on May 5, 2021. Metzger had been out of town at the time completing military training.
Reusch allegedly texted him about how she’d started a new relationship with another man. She also said that man was going to take Kevin’s place as father to the estranged couple’s daughter. Reusch apparently used both text messaging and WhatsApp to send these messages. Prosecutors say Mandie deleted the WhatsApp app from her phone just days after Metzger died in June of 2021.
In one message, per prosecutors, Mandie allegedly wrote:
“I hope for [the child’s] sake that you do kill yourself. She would be better off not even knowing you.”
Then, in another message, she allegedly texted Metzger that she was going to have sex with her new boyfriend on Mother’s Day “while your daughter calls him daddy.”
In a third message, prosecutors claim Reusch sent Metzger a video of herself having sex with another man. That came after Kevin reportedly sent her $200, which Mandie claimed was “too little” for what she needed.
Another alleged message read like this:
“I actually want you to kill yourself because I think you are the worst person on this planet.”
While another text from Reusch added:
“I will make it my dying wish to make sure you don’t see your daughter and that she knows who you really are.”
While still another went on to add:
“I hope you burn in hell and my daughter will dance on your grave with her real dad. Never talk to us again. Die slow and suffer.”
And the messages reportedly just kept on coming. In June of 2020, Reusch allegedly commanded Metzger to die by suicide in a very pointed text:
“Go kill yourself. You aren’t a real f**king man.”
And in December of that year, another text message came through, too:
“So glad I used you for what little money you have. … That was the only good thing you’ve ever done for me and the kids. Your money.”
According to a press release detailing the charges, Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole W. Ziccarelli said the texts Reusch allegedly sent to Metzger were “heinous and graphic.” No kidding…
In her release, the prosecutor stated:
“Mr. Metzger may still be here today if those messages did not influence and encourage him to take his own life. We will not allow or tolerate this kind of egregious behavior. The level of bullying, harassment and threats rose to a criminal level in this particular case and we will prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law.”
Pennsylvania State Trooper Steve Limani also spoke about the “bullying” allegedly committed by Reusch ahead of Metzger’s death. At a Tuesday press conference regarding the charges, Trooper Limani said:
“This is the next level or most extreme amount of bullying I’ve seen, read about, heard about, where somebody is constantly telling someone to end their life. You’re talking about the three of the biggest triggers you can have when making someone feel awful.”
But Reusch is fighting back through her attorney, too.
Lawyer Phil DiLucente represents the accused woman. He confirmed with DailyMail.com on Wednesday that she has been released from jail on bond following the charges having been filed against her earlier this week. He also told the outlet that he does not believe the text messages rise to the level of “criminality.”
Acknowledging they were “immoral,” DiLucente nevertheless claims the texts are not worthy of prison time:
“I do not see it fitting a criminal charge such as aiding a suicide. There was no coercion, duress, there was no methods and means. There’s always two sides to a story and our side of the story will be told in the course of this case. The preliminary hearings are going to be long. And I think there’s going to be a wealth of information discerned.”
DiLucente let his frustration out even a bit more in a second interview this week with CBS Pittsburgh, too. In that chat, he told the local television news outlet that “harsh texts” should not be a prosecutable offense:
“My God, if we’re going to start prosecuting people for sending harsh texts to one another versus it being verbally communicated, then we are on a different path on our legal system.”
And in yet one more interview, Reusch’s attorney spoke to People about his client’s side of the story. On Wednesday afternoon, DiLucente told the mag:
“It was an emotional relationship between two individuals that happens every day in this country. There were texts that were exchanged that were emotional and at times could be considered mean and maybe to some even immoral but considering this a crime when there are no methods or means described by this individual to have this transpire just seems inappropriate.”
“Suicide is a very tragic and hurtful thing to have anyone suffer. We take it very seriously and it is even more upsetting and troubling that somehow Ms. Reusch is being considered responsible for this. There are always two sides to a story.”
Here is more on the investigation, via CBS Pittsburgh (below):
As for Reusch, that local television outlet reports that she’s due back in a courtroom to face the next hearing regarding these charges on June 27.
What a terrible story…
And if you think it sounds familiar, you’re not wrong. In 2015, another woman named Michelle Carter was found guilty after encouraging her 18-year-old boyfriend to die by suicide. She went on to serve 11 months in prison.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Consider contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, by calling, texting, or chatting, or go to 988lifeline.org.
[Image via Westmoreland County Prison]