Update: Yahoo has removed Manley's site from the internet.
A former Kansas City Star reporter committed suicide at 5 a.m. yesterday morning in the parking lot of the Overland Park City Police Department.
What made news of the death go from simply tragic to bizarre is the fact that Martin Manley, 60, left behind a website that chronicles his life, his views on everything from movies to 9/11, and spells out the reasons he committed suicide.
"Today is August 15, 2013. Today is my 60th birthday. Today is the last day of my life," the home page reads. "Today, I committed suicide. Today, is the first day this site is active, but it will be here for years to come."
Daily RFT called the Overland Park police to find out if the information on the site is true, and we will update if we hear back. We also called Kansas City Star editor Mike Fannin for comment; his assistant said he was not available. Here's the statement he gave to his own reporter covering the death:
"Martin was a terrific guy and a good employee," said Mike Fannin, editor and vice president of The Star. "This is a real shock, just an incredible tragedy. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family today."
The Star piece also confirms that Manley was found dead at 5 a.m. in the police station parking lot.
Manley worked for the Star for seven years and maintained the sports blog Upon Further Review for three ("3.3 years, almost 2,000 articles and at least one story every day for 653 days in a row"). He left in 2012 after the workload became "untenable" and maintained a personal sports blog thereafter.
According to the tab on Manley's site labeled "Suicide - How To," Manley planned to drive to a corner of the parking lot at the police station and shoot himself. He left a note which begins, "I committed suicide of my own free will. I am not under the influence of any drugs. I am sorry for your inconvenience!" and instructions on where to send his organs. He also says he sent letters to friends and family set to arrive the morning of his death.
There is also some confusion about a section of the website that indicates Manley may have buried his personal fortune in Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens -- he provided GPS coordinates after a passage enumerating his personal finances. According to the Star, this may have been a hoax (Manley's idea of a final practical joke?) as his family says he got rid of his stash of gold and silver coins prior to his suicide.
Here are a few excerpts from the site, which is voluminous:
On why he committed suicide:
The major reasons adults commit suicide - health, legal, financial, loss of loved ones, loneliness or depression... none of those issues are relevant to me and, for the most part of my life, have never been.
I decided I wanted to have one of the most organized good-byes in recorded history and I think I will be successful. The key has always been to do it before it becomes impossible to accomplish what I'm doing now - because then it's too late and I would simply be along for the ride to the inevitable cliff. And, that has always been an unacceptable conclusion to my life. I became convinced that had I waited even another few years, I would never have been able to produce this site.
On his work at the Star:
I survived approximately nine lay-offs at The Star because I was a workaholic. I never missed a day of work in all the years I was with the company. I rarely even took my vacation. I got 24 days a year and in the last two years, I took seven of 48 days. Company policy was not to pay for days not taken which I fully understood, so I just lost 41 days. I never took breaks, never stopped to eat during a shift, worked my butt off pretty much every minute I was there because... I just wanted to work.
Go to www.MartinManleyLifeandDeath.com to read everything Manley wanted to say before his death. Manley paid enough to keep it live for the next five years.
Update: As of Friday evening, the site is down. Yahoo told a writer for Slate, "After careful review, our team determined that this site violated our Terms of Service and we took it down." However, it is still possible to read Manley's final words on other mirror sites like this one.
What do you think? Did Yahoo do the right thing or should Manley's final wish be honored?
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