On Thursday, Martin Manley, who up until early 2012 was a sports editor and blogger for the Kansas City Star, celebrated his 60th birthday by killing himself. He leaves behind two siblings, two ex-wives and a website: Martin Manley: My Life and Death.
"You will rarely get any details for why a person committed suicide, but that won't be the case with me," Manley wrote. "In fact, this may be the most detailed example of a suicide letter in history — something to be entered into the Guinness Book of Records. My hope is that it is."
The website covers nearly every aspect of Manley's life, including his childhood, two marriages, favorite foods, "COOL STUFF," and the coordinates of his buried treasure worth $200,000 — though those turned out to be false. It's an interesting — if morbid — read.
Manley (left) insisted that his suicide was not the result of depression, legal or financial issues. Rather, he decided that he didn't want to grow any older and "I wanted to leave on top." He planned it for some time, making his 2012 New Year's resolution to "explore the idea of committing suicide" and deciding to do it on his 60th birthday about six months after that.
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"Clearly, age 60 is somewhat of an arbitrary age to end my life," Manley said. "But, it isn't just that age 60 is a nice round number. It's also August 15, 2013 – the very day I turned 60. That’s symmetry and I loved a lot of things, but not many more than good symmetry."
He also added that his lease was up and his renter's insurance and driver's license expired at the end of August, so it made for good timing. "What are the odds? I always loved it when a plan would come together," he wrote.
Manley hinted that he'd left gold and silver coins buried in the Overland Park Arboretum, but after turning several dozens of treasure hunters away, police told local reporters that there was no buried treasure, digging was illegal on the arboretum grounds and Manley's family said he'd given the coins away before his death.
His former employer reported that Manley killed himself in front of an Overland Park, Kansas police station, just as he promised he would on the site.
Here's how he described the deed in advance:
I finally decided the best way to do it would be at 5AM on August 15, 2013 at the far southeast end of the parking lot at the Overland Park Police Station. If everything worked out right – and I’m sure it did, I called 911 at 5AM. I told them “I want to report a suicide at the south end of the parking lot of the Overland Park Police Station at 123rd and Metcalf. Bang.”
They should find me in about two minutes. I doubt they will be able to identify me for a couple hours at least which will give my sister time to learn about it before the police would have been able to contact her. There will be a note lying next to me which says:
“I committed suicide of my own free will. I am not under the influence of any drugs. I am sorry for your inconvenience! You will be contacted within a matter of hours by my sister. She will find out about this by an overnight letter and/or email I sent to her which she will get this morning. In it, I explain the exact location where I shot myself and gave her your phone number. At that time, she will tell you who I am. If you discover who I am prior to her call, please do not contact her. I do not want her (or anyone else I sent letters to overnight) to find out about it from you. I want them to find out about it from me. Thank you!"