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San Marcos man, 88, arrested in suicide of ailing wife, 84

An 88-year-old man is set to be arraigned next week on a charge of assisting the suicide of his 84-year-old wife, who was reportedly bedridden, in constant pain and wanted to die.

Alan Harris Purdy was arrested Tuesday afternoon at the couple's home in San Marcos by deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. He was bailed out within hours on $15,000 bond. Family members said his wife had previously attempted suicide.

Purdy's wife, Margaret, died of asphyxia after a bag was placed over her head, according to the county medical examiner. The death was ruled a suicide.

"She had mentioned for some time that she was under a great deal of pain and that this was a very hard life," the couple's son-in-law, John Muster, told the North County Times.

Sheriff's Lt. Larry Nesbit said homicide detectives will brief the district attorney's staff within a few days. The decision on what, if any, charges to file at the arraignment rests with Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis and her staff.

Purdy was arrested without incident, Nesbit said. He declined to provide further details about the case.

--Tony Perry in San Diego

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