Sonoma County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a Petaluma man for attempting to kill his wife and ultimately assisting in her suicide yesterday. The call came in at about 7:30 AM on Wednesday morning when 59-year-old David Clement reported that his wife just hung herself from a tree in the 800 block of Highway 1 in Bodega Bay. Responding deputies and State Park Rangers located 52-yer-old Debra Bales of Petaluma deceased, suspended by a rope, from a tree near a hotel parking lot.
Detectives were called to the scene and determined that Clement and his wife had been in Bodega Bay, staying at the Inn at the Tides, for the past three days with the intent of Bales ending her life. Bales was not deemed terminally ill, however she was in chronic pain and had recently come off opioid medication.
Over the course of the three days Bales attempted suicide three different times, each time being unsuccessful. On these three times, Clement attempted to smother her using a pillow. When these methods were deemed unproductive, they went and bought a rope. Clement fastened the rope to the tree near their hotel room and tied the knots to assist Bales in her suicide. This method proved successful and when the suicide was completed Clement called 911.
Ultimately Clement was booked for attempted murder for smothering Bales with a pillow and for aiding in a suicide, both felonies. His bail has been set at $1,000,000.