Autopsy may help solve death of U.S. expat living in Jacó

A Jacó operator of a vacation rental firm died in his luxury condo under circumstances that are mysterious.

Police responding to an emergency call found the American citizen dead at the condominium complex Sunday. The man had a plastic bag covering his head.

The man was Michael Thomas Manley, 44, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Cruz Roja medical technicians said Manley was already dead when they arrived on the scene around midday Sunday. Investigators confirmed that Manley was the property manager of the luxurious Monte Carlo condominiums, located right along Jacó beach.

Agents said they suspect that he committed suicide and had no marks on his body nor were there any signs of robbery or foul play. An Investigator with the judicial organization said there is reason to believe Manley may have been experiencing
emotional problems which may have led him to suicide. Manley’s body will undergo an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Manley had been in Costa Rica since at least 2007 when he was involved in the construction, pre-sales and rentals of the condos. For a time he was associated with Concierge Costa Rica which sought to provide a range of services to visitors and residents.

Although investigators are quick to dismiss many deaths here as suicide, the use of a plastic bag to do that has precedents.

The use of a plastic bag filled with certain types of gases can eliminate the panic attack that humans naturally feel when their oxygen supply is cut off, according to medical reports on the Internet.

Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society, described the method in his 2010 update of his book “Final Exit.” This third edition gives updated guidance on a helium hood method and exit bag (plastic bag) and other techniques, said an online summary.

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