MCSO: Man accused of 'mercy killing' wife flees area - KMSP-TV

Man accused of 'mercy killing' wife found dead

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Howard Rudolph (file) Howard Rudolph (file)
SUN CITY, Ariz. -

This Sun City man says he killed his wife because she was terminally ill, but now Howard Rudolph is on the run from law enforcement after he cut off his electronic monitoring ankle bracelet over the weekend and failed to show up to court.

79-year-old Rudolph was arrested this past August for shooting and killing his wife Earlene.  He told detectives then that killing her was an act of mercy.

But as part of his release from jail, Rudolph was required to wear an ankle bracelet so deputies could track his movements.

However, they've been unable to do so and now they need your help tracking him down.

On Monday, Rudolph was supposed to appear at a superior court hearing on his murder charge, but he didn't show -- and Judge William Brotherton issued a warrant for his arrest.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Rudolph's ankle bracelet was cut at 10 p.m. Sunday.  Adult probation found it at 6 a.m. Monday and told Sheriff Joe Arpaio at 9 a.m. -- 11 hours after it happened.

Rudolph has been on the loose since then and it's quite a shock in his Sun City neighborhood, which prides itself on being a place where nothing like this happens.

"He was just my backyard neighbor.. over the fence.. see him in the backyard," said Shirley Strugala.

What did he seem like?

"Not eager to be friendly.. not too friendly," she replied.  "He had dogs and I had dogs, so that brought us to the fence occasionally."

Rudolph is wearing an oxygen tube in his mug shot, but his neighbor says she saw him cruise by in his white Lincoln just a few weeks ago -- no oxygen tube, looking relaxed.

"Well, I said to him after I realized who it was, I am surprised to see you and he said he was out legally on bail or something to that effect."

Sheriff Arpaio appealed to Rudolph to turn himself in.

"My advice would be if he is listening, do not hurt anybody else or yourself.  Come on back home and let the system take its course."

The Maricopa County Adult Probation Department says it cannot release why it took so long to tell the Sheriff Rudolph was missing.

UPDATE: Authorities say they've found a car with a body inside that matches a missing murder suspect's vehicle from Sun City.
 
Rudolph was found dead and deputies believe he shot himself.
 
Authorities say the white 2006 Lincoln Town car was found Tuesday evening in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Peoria near 99th Avenue and Beardsley.  The license plate matches that of Rudolph's vehicle.
 
TV video from the scene shows police crime tape in the parking lot near the vehicle.

The big question now: Did someone help Rudolph cut off the ankle bracelet? Sheriff Arpaio says if that happened, that person will likely face charges.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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