Suicide Inspired By 'CSI'

By Rachel
July 18, 2008 - 3:55 AM

See Also: 'Homebodies' Episode Guide

A man takes his cue from CSI--and his life.

A man was found dead along US Route 84 in New Mexico on March 15. The victim, identified as Thomas Hickman, had duct tape over his mouth. The death was originally considered a homicide, but something found at the crime scene led investigators to consider another possibility: balloons.

Six or seven white balloons were tangled in a cactus about 30 feet away from Hickman's body, tied to a revolver. The gun's grips had been removed, and the trigger guard was sawed off, presumably in an effort to lighten the gun so the balloons could carry it farther away from the body. Metal shavings in Hickman's garage matched the gun.

Investigators became aware of a similar story from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. During the episode "Homebodies", a man killed himself and tied the gun to a bunch of balloons in order to make the death look like a suicide. "We're not saying it's a copycat of the TV show," New Mexico state police Lt. Rick Anglada told ABC News. "We have no way to know he actually saw the episode. However, the lead agent kept hearing from people that there was a similar case from CSI."

"There were similarities in the episode, where a character did tie helium balloons to a gun and hoped it would float away," Anglada continued. Hickman's death was ultimately ruled a suicide. A single shell casing was found in the revolver, and there was nothing to indicate that the six-foot-six, 260-pound Hickman put up a fight. "There were no signs of a struggle, and he was a large man, not bound in any way," Anglada said. It was discovered that Hickman had a life insurance policy that would pay his wife $388,000 or double that if his death was accidental. "Everything just pointed back to Thomas Hickman killing himself," Anglada said.

The original article is from ABC News.

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