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Nye Lavalle
Ex-TV reporter died of hanging; former colleagues shocked
Marisa Schultz and Mike Martindale / The Detroit News

Former television co-workers of Suzanne Wangler were stunned this weekend to learn the one-time energetic journalist with a penchant for tailgate cooking was found dead Saturday in her Royal Oak home on Vinsetta Boulevard.
"I always thought she was a happy person," said veteran newswoman Amyre Makupson, who worked with Wangler at UPN 50 in the 1990s. "She was crazy about her husband and just idolized her kids. She had a beautiful house. She was very proud of it.
"It's just so sad. I can't get her out of my mind. I can't believe it's come to that end."

Police had been investigating suicide. On Sunday, Dr. Patrick Cho of the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that Wangler died by hanging.
Her death followed a series of troubles for the mother of four, a former reporter/anchor at several TV stations and ex-wife of John Wangler, the former University of Michigan quarterback who filed for divorce in 1999.
Wangler, 43, was just released from the Oakland County Jail on Thursday where she has been held in lieu of a $25,000 bond for allegedly embezzling $149,000 from Leslie Pingilley, 52, whom she dated while acting as his financial adviser.
The charges are felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
"I'm sorry that happened to her," Pingilley of Woodhaven said Sunday.
"I guess there was stuff that a lot of people didn't know, and I didn't know."
Wangler's home is in foreclosure. It was 32 degrees inside and had no phone service when police arrested her earlier this month.
Her attorney in the criminal case, Carl Marlinga, had contacted her mother and brother who live out of state out of concern for her safety. Police said a relative found Wangler unresponsive Saturday afternoon.
Cynthia Canty, part of the Jim Harper team at WMGC-FM (105.1) and who worked with Wangler at UPN 50 in the early 1990s, was stunned to learn of her death.
She said Wangler was "tremendously energetic as a reporter. She never said 'no' to working a shift. She loved being on TV."
As a wife of a former football player, she loved cooking tailgate party food, Canty said, and she even wrote her own cookbook "A-Maize-Ing Tailgating: Wolverine Cuisine."
"She'd come in with food she'd make up in big batches," Canty said. "She kept us well fed."
The two had fallen out of touch after UPN dissolved and Wangler had moved on to become a helicopter reporter at WDIV-Local 4. Canty was saddened to see her mug shot on television. "Yes, I knew her. But, no, I didn't know that person.
"There's a lesson that things can slip away so quickly."
In November 2005, Wangler was convicted of shoplifting more than $600 in food and merchandise from the Westborn Market in Berkley.
"She seemed troubled and frustrated by her circumstances," said Joseph Cross, the Birmingham attorney who represented Wangler in that case.
"I think she wanted to get back into some sort of reporting position and it wasn't happening."
Prosecutors offered Wangler a first-offender deal that spared her a criminal record if she met the conditions of the offer, Cross said. Wangler wanted the matter "resolved quickly and quietly" to avoid any pain a trial might cause her family, he said.
However, Wangler got in trouble with the law again -- this time for drunken driving and child endangerment. She was ordered to have a psychological evaluation and supervised parenting time with her children. She was on probation for the conviction last summer.
She got back in the TV business in Lansing in September and worked there as news anchor Suzanne Page.
She resigned from WLAJ Feb. 14, citing personal reasons. One week later she was in the Oakland County Jail on the embezzlement charges.
She seemed subdued but cooperative at Oak Park District Court last week but was disheveled and dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.
When a photographer pointed his camera in her direction, she uncharacteristically turned away. She was overheard in a conversation with Marlinga discussing what he should say to the media should he be contacted.
"Tell them the truth," she whispered.
Although Makupson hadn't talked to Wangler in several years, she speculated that the breakup of her family and dissolution of what appeared to be an "enviable life" was devastating.
"I would imagine when everything is fine and then you wake up and everything sucks, that's pretty life-altering. And I'm sure she went through changes that were extremely difficult, if not impossible to deal with," Makupson said.
Services for Wangler, who attended Royal Oak's National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic church, will be this week but private, according to Sullivan and Son Funeral Directors in Royal Oak.
You can reach Marisa Schultz at (313) 222-2310 or You can reach Mike Martindale at (248) 647-7226 or
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