Cause of death revealed for 42-year-old TV anchor

 December 15, 2023

A 42-year-old news anchor whose sudden death shocked her Pennsylvania community died from suicide, according to a coroner's investigation.

Emily Matson, a news anchor for Erie News Now, leapt to her death in front of a train after midnight Monday. 

News anchor died by suicide

Matson had worked for Erie News Now for nearly two decades, starting out as a morning news producer before moving to the crime beat. She married a local policeman, Ryan Onderko.

At the time of her death, she was co-anchor for the 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekday newscasts at Erie News Now. She also produced newscasts in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

When Matson showed up for work on Friday, December 8, her colleagues had no idea that would be their last time seeing her.

"After the show last Friday, I thought I’d see her again. I said, 'Have a nice weekend.' Like the end of many of our shows, we truly didn’t have enough time to say goodbye. I will miss Emily," her co-anchor John Stehlin said.

Matson was hit by a train in Fairview Township, where she lived, around 12:45 a.m. Monday, the Erie County Coroner's Office said. The cause of death was ruled a suicide.

Family, colleagues pay tribute

The Erie County native was remembered by colleagues as talented and full of life.

"She was very, very upbeat," Paul Wagner, a retired reporter at Erie News Now said. "She was a very positive person. She was always encouraging the new people. She always had a joke for everyone."

Her mother Patricia shared a touching tribute on Facebook, which showed the two of them making pasta together. 

"Teaching emily how to make sauce and lasagna last friday. she was so happy and proud," Patricia Matson wrote. "She wanted her picture taken to show her brother travis that she made lasagna just for him!"

In her professional bio, Matson called being a news anchor in her hometown her personal dream.

"I must be dreaming!  An anchor gig in my hometown! I am so happy to be in Erie, telling the stories which impact my neighbors every day," she wrote.

Matson is survived by her husband Ryan, her parents, her children Kyle and Emily, two siblings, and her in-laws, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her daughter Kayla, her cousin Tricia McAndrew, and her maternal and paternal grandparents.

Matson will receive a Catholic funeral mass on Saturday in Erie.

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