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A Pennsylvania woman, who sent "unrelenting" texts urging her ex to kill himself and said he would never see their daughter until he finally took his own life, is one step closer to trial on aiding suicide charges after her preliminary hearing Tuesday.
A Westmoreland County judge dismissed a lesser misdemeanor harassment charge against Mandie Reusch, a 35-year-old Greensburg resident who prosecutors say harassed and bullied 37-year-old Kevin Metzger, and Army veteran, until he killed himself on June 18, 2021 – two days before Father's Day. However, the court found probable cause for the felony charge of aiding suicide.
Court documents in the case outline the graphic and abusive nature of the texts in which Reusch allegedly referred to other men as the "new dads" of Metzger's daughter and made explicit claims about her sexual relationships with them. At least once, she sent him a video of herself having sex with another man. She even allegedly told him that his dead dog hated him.
"I hope that for [our daughter's] sake that you do kill yourself. She would be better off not even knowing you," she allegedly wrote in one message, which investigators obtained from WhatsApp with a warrant.
"I will make it my dying wish to make sure you don't see your daughter and that she knows who you really are," another message read.
In the December before he died, Metzger received the following: "At least if you were out in a tent dying somewhere then your daughter would have a home to live in for Christmas."
The messages were "continuous and unrelenting for months," according to Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli. In a suicide note, as well as on his social media, investigators found "a trail of torment and solicitation."
Metzger served in the Army for almost two decades before joining the reserves, according to an online obituary. He was also a bartender, active in the local music scene and an avid outdoorsman whose Facebook pictures showed him hiking, kayaking and even climbing an ice wall.
"Above all though, he passionately cared for his daughter," the obituary reads. "He was a devoted father, and she was an extreme light in his life."
In another message, Reusch allegedly told Metzger "the best thing" he could do for their daughter would be to kill himself for the life insurance money.
"But knowing you, that policy probably lapsed and youll (sic) leave us with nothing but your disgusting body to throw in a hole," she allegedly added.
Prior to Metzger's death, Reusch had been charged with harassment – but prosecutors were forced to drop that after Metzger died before her preliminary hearing.
The estranged couple fought about money and custody of the child.
At one point, she allegedly told him she destroyed all the property he had left at her residence, smashing some with a hammer, popping his bike tires and pouring bleach on his clothes.
"I cashed the $200 check then inflicted 10K of damage," another text read, according to court documents.
Two days before Father's Day in 2021, she told him he could not see their daughter. He killed himself that same day, prosecutors said.
"It's bad, it's really bad right now," he wrote to a friend that day. "I'm haunted I'm f---ed up. I can't do this."
Before he took his life, he posted some of Reusch's alleged messages on Facebook and left behind a suicide note, which began with, "Maybe she was right," according to the criminal complaint.
"Mr. Metzger may still be here today if those messages did not influence and encourage him to take his own life," the DA said earlier this month.
Though the circumstances differ greatly, the case is reminiscent of a 2017 Massachusetts trial involving a young woman there named Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after coaxing her boyfriend Conrad Roy III to kill himself with dozens of texts and phone conversations.
Fox News' Haley Chi-Sing contributed to this report.