A southern Minnesota man contends he had a suicide pact with his girlfriend that led to her dying but him backing out, according to murder and aiding suicide charges.

Casey D. Narvaez, of Sleepy Eye, was charged in Nicollet County District Court last week with second-degree intentional murder and aiding suicide in connection with the woman's death Thursday in Ridgely Township.

An autopsy conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office found that Kayla Hulsey, 35, died from asphyxia from being strangled with a ligature made of cable ties. An Examiner's Office staff member said Monday that the manner of death, whether a homicide or a suicide, was pending.

Narvaez, 39, remains jailed in lieu of $400,000 bail ahead of a Nov. 6 hearing. His attorney, Tracy Bains, said Monday it was too early for her to comment about the allegations.

Court records show that Narvaez's criminal history in Minnesota includes a pending assault charge, and convictions for illegal possession of a gun, drug possession and failure to register with the state as a sex offender.

According to the charges:

A crying Narvaez called 911 shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday from a boat landing and referenced something not working and he wondered why he was still alive.

Police soon arrived to find Narvaez standing outside an SUV with cable ties around his neck and the body of Hulsey in the vehicle. She also had cable ties around her neck. Police also saw dryer vent tubing attached to the SUV's exhaust pipe.

Narvaez, interviewed by investigators at the hospital a few hours later, said he and his live-in girlfriend both agreed to die by suicide.

The investigators saw the cable ties "were very tight" around Hulsey's neck and confronted Narvaez about their observation. He explained that Hulsey wanted his help to make the ligature tighter. He did so, despite knowing that his actions "would cause [Hulsey's] death, and he wanted to help [her] die," the charges read.

Narvaez added that he waited 30 minutes after Hulsey fell unresponsive until he called 911.

Where to find help

Families can find mental health information and resources for crisis care on NAMI Minnesota's website, namimn.org. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor.