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Clayton Police release more information into late auditor’s death

Clayton Police held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to release more information in the investigation into former state auditor and candidate for governor Tom Schweich’s death.

ABC 17 News requested the 40-page investigative report, which provides numerous detailed accounts from witnesses, and allegations that have not yet been corroborated. You can read through the document here.

Schweich’s wife Kathy called 911 and reported he had shot himself on Thursday, February 26.

Investigators released the results of a gunshot residue test Tuesday.

There was gunshot residue on Schweich’s hands, and Schweich had been in phonecontact with close friends and co-workers right before the apparent suicide. Police interviewed these contacts who gave further evidence Schweich died by his own hand.

ABC 17 News was at the news conference in Clayton, where officers said Schweich had been prescribed 24 drugs for various medical conditions, including Crohn’s Disease.

Clayton police searched both physical and digital files, taking two cellphones, a laptop and desktop from his home. So far, police say they have not discovered a suicide note, or any message expressing a desire to kill himself.

“We know that he suffered from a long-term illness, and that in itself was stressful to him,” Lieutenant Tom Bossch said. “Then, of course, the stress of the campaign and other things. We can surmise a lot of things, but we won’t do that at this time.”

Bossch, the lead investigator in the case, said Schweich only regularly used three of the 24 medications, and could not say with certainty what conditions Schweich used the medications for.

Schweich had no illegal drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death.

While police still search for a motive of Schweich’s February suicide in writing, investigators said Schweich had expressed thoughts of suicide to his wife in the past. The police report details an interview with Schweich’s wife, who told them he talked about committing suicide, “but that she never thought that he would actually act on his statements.”

The day of his suicide, both Schweich and his wife spoke on the phone with Martha Fitz, an assistant to the late auditor’s friend and former U.S. Senator John Danforth. Fitz and Kathleen Schweich both told police Tom was upset with rumors he thought members of the state’s Republican Party spread about his religion. Schweich wanted to make it public, but Fitz told him on the phone he should focus on the race for governor. Kathleen Schweich said her husband “grew agitated” and threw the phone on the bed. Later, when Kathleen walked out of the room with the phone, Schweich shot himself with his pistol.

Since Schweich’s suicide, some members of the Republican Party have called for the party’s leader, John Hancock, to step down. Schweich thought Hancock promulgated the rumors, a point political donor David Humphreys made public in March, claiming Hancock made comments to him that Schweich was Jewish.

“The meaning I took from Mr. Hancock’s statement and tone of his comments was clear: He [Tom Schweich] is Jewish – in case you didn’t know – and that being Jewish is a negative attribute for Tom Schweich’s gubernatorial race,” Humphreys said in a sworn affidavit.

In Clayton police’s report, Humphreys said he had not spoken to Schweich since May 2014.

Hancock denied to police spreading those rumors.

Police took Schweich’s St. Louis work computer for investigation Tuesday, and will seize his Jefferson City computer Wednesday.

Clayton Police said it is still awaiting results from a DNA submission regarding the fired handgun.

(Editor’s note, 4/14, 10:32 p.m.: A previous version of the story said Kathleen Schweich called 9-1-1 on February 28 in regards to her husband’s suicide. The date was February 26.

The story is also updated with several details from Clayton police’s investigation.)

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