A NewsFocus Special Report

The Bizarre Sudden Death of MO Auditor Tom Schweich

Missouri State Auditor 'Allegedly' Commits Suicide, Yet Audio Tape Suggests A Possible Visitor Just Moments Before His Death
Doorbell 'Chime' Heard Just Before Phone Hang-Up
NewsFocus, Op-Ed by Tim Watts - 022815

Calls for Sudden Press Conference, Then Found Dead Minutes Later.
Why This Story Is Absurdly Preposterous, On So Many Levels.

Update: Read the latest development that adds a huge twist in this story.
Recent new information revealed eight days after death has altered this.

Former Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich (R)

On Thursday morning, Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, 54, called selected media to request a sudden press conference, but only for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Associated Press.

Schweich called Tony Messenger of the Post Dispatch at 9:41am and left a message on his phone machine, requesting a 2:30pm press conference.

He also made a very interesting and specific request of the Post Dispatch when he said, "this is only for you two, and I hope you will not make it known that I am doing this."

Minutes later, Schweich was found dead of an "apparent" suicide.

As bat-shit crazy as that may sound, that's the "official story" so far.

AUDIO: Tom Schweich's call to St. Louis Post Dispatch Newspaper

According to the official report, Clayton police responded at 9:48am, just seven minutes after Schweich made his calls to the AP and the Post Dispatch.

After investigating the scene, their immediate call was an "apparent" suicide, despite the lack of any suicide note.

In his press conference, Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy opened by telling reporters that his department had examined the scene, but when asked if there was a suicide note left behind, Murphy strangely replied, "I don't have that information at this time?"

That's somewhat odd for a police department that had already investigated the scene. That would be something you look for right away, when you make such a quick determination of suicide for a high profile state government figure.

The first question from the press was from a Channel 5 reporter who asked,

"Do you... does it look like a suicide?"

Police Chief Murphy stated in reply, "there is nothing to suggest anything else other than that at this point...  everything at this point suggests an apparent suicide."

When asked if it was a shot to the head, Murphy responded, "there was a single gunshot wound and I'm not going to be any more specific right now."

The Chief also refused to talk about what type of gun was used. He almost grudgingly admitted it was a handgun, but only after being questioned further.

He couldn't even say who the gun belonged to.

When asked if the gun belonged to Schweich, Murphy replied, "I'm not aware of that."

Wow. He couldn't even tell reporters if the weapon belonged to Schweich.

So much for the thorough investigation from Clayton police before making the determination of "apparent" suicide.

Quite an investigation, so far.

What's baffling to this reporter is, despite saying more than once that this was an ongoing investigation, why did the police immediately jump to an "apparent" suicide determination?

  • The chief said that he didn't know if there was a suicide note.

  • The chief said he did not even know if it was Schweich's gun.

So what is it that makes this an "apparent" suicide for the Clayton police?

This lack of due diligence before determining fault is something which appears to be a disturbing new trend with high profile deaths these days. 

For the record, Chief Murphy stated that it was an "apparent" suicide no less than five times during the very brief five minute press conference (5:43).

Then, oddly enough, Murphy went out of his way, without being asked, to say the following...

"But I want to make it clear that everything we know at this time is... that it is an apparent... uh... act... that at Mr. Schweich's own hand and family is cooperating with our investigation."

Upon that unsolicited proclamation, Chief Murphy then hastily called for the last question at just four minutes and 43 seconds into the news conference, after only three and a half minutes of actual press questions (3:37).

Seems like someone wanted that press meeting over quick... short and sweet.

When asked how police could know that the shooting wasn't an accident or an accidental discharge, Chief Murphy seemed caught off guard, and then gave a somewhat awkward rambling reply, repeating what he'd already said before...

"Uh... what we know at this point suggests an apparent suicide. Again... I'll take you back to what I said before...  we conduct a thorough investigation. We talk to everyone, uh, who was there. We look for all the encompassing information from family and friends. We look at the autopsy results and we go from there... and so we're moving forward with that information available to us."

With this said, it's very disconcerting to see the chief make such an "absolute" statement regarding an "apparent" suicide," because the department clearly could not have physically worked through the official checklist of due diligence that was laid out in Murphy's response, in such a short amount of time.

That is a key point to take note of... the autopsy was not completed, yet Clayton police felt comfortable saying immediately that it was an "apparent" suicide, despite (1) no suicide note or (2) knowledge of who's gun was found at the scene.

The Chief mentioned many times in his interview that they were waiting on an autopsy, yet somehow he was immediately sure of an "apparent" suicide to a high-profile state official and gubernatorial candidate. This is totally out of line and is not the norm for a competent investigation.

Chief Murphy was certain about the "apparent" suicide, but could not be certain about anything else, other than the fact that a handgun was used.

It makes one wonder how they could arrive at such a quick conclusion with so little investigation of the facts.

For the record, all of the Clayton police findings to that point were based without an autopsy.

The press conference, including the press Q&A, lasted just under six minutes, 5:43 to be precise. Only twenty questions were allowed, and some of those were sub-questions of the same question. Certainly not a very revealing press conference. Very odd for a high profile government killing.

So far, the only thing that appears "apparent" in this case is that Clayton police reached a verdict despite not performing thorough due diligence in investigating the gunshot death of a highly popular state government official.

"I hope you will not make it known that I am doing this"

Let's look at the obvious that police "apparently" dismiss out of hand in reaching their verdict of "apparent" suicide.

  • Schweich had just won re-election as state auditor in November

  • Schweich had just declared his candidacy for governor in 2016

  • Schweich had just called a sudden press conference for that day

  • Schweich died of a gunshot wound after calling the newspaper

Now, I don't know how many episodes of Perry Mason, Dragnet, Kojak, Columbo, Adam 12, or the Rockford Files that the Clayton Police Chief may have seen in his life, but he surely seems to be going against the grain in jumping to such an immediate conclusion of "apparent" suicide.

In light of the overwhelming strong evidence, it appears something is once again awry in St. Louis, punctuated by a very nervous police chief, stumbling badly through a press conference and then pulling the plug after only five minutes.

Very Curious Audio

When this reporter examined the audio of Schweich's possible last words, I noticed a 3 1/2 second pause at the end of the tape after the conversation, before Schweich hung up the phone.

Curious as to whether or not he may have been interrupted before hanging up the phone, I amplified the volume for the last 3.449 seconds of the audio. The resulting enhanced audio is quite interesting.

It sounds like someone was ringing his doorbell just before he hangs the phone up. There is a background "chime." If that is indeed the case, considering that Schweich dies shortly after this call, any person at the door would certainly sure seem like someone that the police would need to speak with.

Listen very carefully to this extracted segment for the faint background "chime."

AUDIO: Is this a doorbell, just before Schweich hangs up the phone?

(You can also do this on your own. Just take the raw audio of the call posted at the beginning of this article and increase the ending audio volume on your own by 30 dB, using audio recording software. You will hear the "chime" sound.)

You might hear such a doorbell chime in a house like this, the Schweich home.

My first thought was that the sound was a clock chiming in the background, but after listening closer and analyzing the audio waveform, I realized it didn't reverberate like a clock gong, it sounded more like a doorbell. Using advanced audio recording software, such as Adobe Audition, you can actually physically see the audio spike from the "doorbell sound" in the sine wave.

Secondly, Schweich's telephone call was not on the hour, nor the bottom of the hour, so logically a clock chime can be ruled out.

So what is the "chime" sound in the background as Schweich is about to hang up?

The fact that police were able to respond just seven minutes after the call was made to the Post Dispatch, means that a potential killer had to be at hand or close by when Schweich made that call.

If indeed it was a doorbell, it very likely may have been Schweich's killer, in the guise of a delivery man perhaps. Another thought would be, someone he knew or was waiting for and trusted enough to let inside.

Either someone was already in the house, or they arrived after the phone call.

The biggest question in all of this is, for what possible reason would Schweich shoot himself for, immediately after calling the media for a press conference?

Did he have sudden second thoughts and feel guilt about the news conference?

He told the reporter, Tony Messenger, he would await his reply.

That doesn't sound like someone who's thinking about committing suicide.

And if Schweich wasn't killed by someone else, that means you have to assume that in less than seven minutes time, something came up that made none of his life matter anymore. Something so huge that he was willing to give up...

  • his loving wife

  • his son and daughter

  • his job as State Auditor and his campaign to clean up MO corruption

  • his 2016 gubernatorial campaign

In less than seven minutes time, he suddenly decides that...

  • life was not worth living anymore

  • his career did not matter anymore

Whatever could have possibly happened in less than just seven minutes time... after calling the St. Louis Post Dispatch and requesting a 2:30 press conference for the afternoon.. that changed everything in Schweich's life and convinced him that nothing else mattered anymore and he suddenly had to take his own life?

For a man like Tom Schweich, that's extremely far fetched and very hard to accept, even with some degree of uncertainty, let alone to believe outright.

If there were hidden deep seated personal issues, you'd think a family member would have brought that to light by now.

The sound of Schweich's voice on the tape is strong and he seems quite full of conviction as he hangs up the phone. He clearly does not sound like a despondent man, who's about to pull a gun out and kill himself.

If perhaps he had regrets about calling the news conference, he could have just cancelled it. There were only two media entities showing up anyway.

As far as the subject matter for the news conference goes, that was apparently to address issues of anti-Semitic slurs from the new chairman of the Missouri Republican party, John Hancock, and that is clearly where they're steering this story.

They are trying to allege that Schweich was sooooo distraught over being labeled a Jew that he killed himself.

Does that even sound remotely reasonable?

Schweich had heard this kind of talk before in his life while growing up. It's not like it was anything new to him.

He was also a loving husband and the father of two children.

The Schweich family

And so a charge of having Jewish ancestry is worth killing yourself for?


Schweich used to work for the US State Department and often had to deal and negotiate with Afghan warlords. Having someone accuse him of being Jewish hardly seems like something that would make him take his life.

The allegation surely wouldn't have affected his job as auditor and would more than likely not have affected his gubernatorial campaign either, despite any remote concerns from Schweich or anyone else. The fact is, he was a highly popular figure in Missouri government who would be hard to beat in 2016.

During his first term as state auditor, Schweich gained notoriety for taking on corrupt state officials and employees, exposing 30 in just his first term.

As he was announcing his 2016 candidacy for Missouri Governor, Schweich vowed that he would bring a never-before-seen "level of intensity, tenacity, transparency and rigor" to the office in his fight to end what he called, "rampant corruption in Jefferson City."

So the official police determination of "apparent" suicide just does not add up here, especially in light of the feeble charge of Jewish ancestry, but that's the angle that's being sold with this story. The press has already framed this story to be about anti-Semitic remarks, when in all reality, it very well may be about something much darker in Missouri politics that the investigators are missing.

One issue that just might have some bearing is the fact that Schweich was said to have Missouri's number one political donor targeted in his sights, billionaire Rex Sinquefield, a retired investment mogul who helped finance the political campaign of his Republican gubernatorial rival, Catherine Hanaway, who just so happens to be tied to Jew accuser John Hancock, who did opposition research for Hanaway as a consultant last year.

So there's an interesting little triangle right there, between Hancock, Hanaway and Sinquefield.

Schweich charged that Hanaway had accepted nearly a million dollars ($900,000) from Sinquefield, which made her "bought and paid for." 

Schweich had this to say just four weeks ago...

"Nothing is too dishonest for them, and apparently nothing is too petty for them, either," . "It's corrupt, and there's a lot more corruption going on in that camp that we'll be talking about in the days to come."

On top of all that, as Schweich kicked off his campaign for governor last month,  he also kicked off his statewide anti-corruption campaign, and pledged to take down the state's most powerful politicians and political donors, including members of his own Republican party.

Not exactly the type to crumble and fall to pieces over a charge of being Jewish.

This also posed a real threat for some within Missouri politics.

This sounds like a much more plausible angle to pursue as to why Schweich might have had enemies, rather than innocuous charges of being upset over Jewish ancestry accusations.

When it comes to political enemies and adversaries, one has to assume that  billionaire Rex Sinquefield possibly heads the list, since all roads in Missouri GOP politics appear to run through him. He has direct ties to both Hancock and Hanaway, and he was a potential target of Schweich, who was out to bring down corrupt political machines.

One thing is for certain to this reporter, there is much more to this story than is being reported. There is no doubt a huge story behind the story. Time will only tell if police officials and the media do their due diligence in this tragic event.

And right now, to me... the only thing "apparent" is the rush to judgment despite the lack of a thorough investigation.

Whether there is a doorbell in the phone audio or not, this case reeks and deserves much more investigation.

Why people are willfully accepting this as a suicide is beyond me, in light of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Sentient, reasoning people are willing to just accept this without any proof or sound fact.

Just because someone is found dead with a gun next to them does not mean it was suicide. Just because police officials can't explain how the victim was shot also does not make it an "apparent" suicide.

It seems as if all good reason has gone out the window over the death of a highly successful government auditor who just happened to be rooting out big money corruption and crime in the state of Missouri.

This is a serious detachment from rational thinking, to accept the unreasonable, and it's a damning indictment on people's post 9/11 ability to quite willfully swallow the unfathomable and accept the incomprehensible.

There is no way that this reporter will ever possibly believe that Schweich took his own life. That is a patently absurd proposition, in light of the factual evidence.

Again, just because police can't explain how his death happened, does not mean it's a suicide. This is where police work is supposed to begin, not end.

Stay tuned folks. There's clearly much more to this story than we know.

See Also: Was Tom Schweich Given An SSRI Mickey To Induce Suicide?  (Audio)
From the Mad As Hell Radio Show. [1 hr 40 min program]

See also: Schweich Update - Eight Days Later, Now We Get This

Tim writes for NewsFocus.org and also does a radio show called Mad As Hell. The Schweich case will be discussed in an upcoming episode at www.MadAsHellRadioShow.com.

St. Louis Media Announcement of Schweich's Death

Schweich Death Upsets Missouri State Capitol

Clayton Police Press Conference on Schweich's Death

Even The Left Smells This One Out

Schweich Announcement for Governor

VIDEO: Watch uninterrupted press conference video from it's start

AUDIO: Schweich on the Mark Reardon Show - 1/30/15 (mp3 format)

AUDIO: Schweich describes extent of Missouri corruption (mp3 format)

AUDIO: Clayton Police Press Conference (mp3 format)

WEBSITE: Tom Schweich for Governor

SEE ALSO: Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich dead at 54

MO Gov. Tabs His Former Chief of Saff as interim Missouri Auditor