Investigation begins in SW Wash. sheriff's death

CATHLAMET, Wash. (AP) - The Cowlitz County, Wash., sheriff says the sheriff of neighboring Wahkiakum County may have been despondent over medical problems when he fatally shot himself.

Sheriff Mark Nelson's office is investigating Tuesday's death of 50-year-old Jon Dearmore. Nelson says two Wahkiakum County deputies had just arrived at Dearmore's home to check on his welfare when the man shot himself.

The Daily News of Longview reports that Dearmore's wife, Lori, had phoned his office to say he was making suicidal statements.

Nelson says the medical problems were related to a lingering line-of-duty injury suffered years earlier. He says his office will fully investigate.

An autopsy is scheduled Thursday.

Deputies from neighboring Cowlitz and Pacific counties are patrolling Wahkiakum County while that county's small sheriff's department deals with the death.

Undersheriff Mark Howie was sworn in Wednesday as acting sheriff.