Fremont County suicide numbers up, two shy of all-time record; One a week in September

By Ernie Over, managing editor,

(Lander, Wyo.) – One week ago today, the Fremont County Suicide Prevention Task Force was meeting at the courthouse in Lander. County Deputy Coroner Erin Ivey reported that the county had recorded 14 suicides for the year, just four away from the all time record number. By the end of the meeting, however, that number increased by one. And Thursday night, it went up again. In fact, there has been one suicide each week in the month of September.

A 33-year-old Dubois man shot and killed himself in the middle of a Dubois street last Friday, and last night, a 47-year-old Riverton woman died as the result of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to her chest at her home on Sycamore Street.

With 16 recorded suicides, and three full months to go before the end of the year, county officials are searching for answers. “There are no apparent economic issues, we cannot pinpoint any trends, and although many of the those who took their own lives had drug or alcohol issues, they were all sober at the time,” Ivey said.

Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan said Friday there are no apparent connections between the deaths. McAuslan said the latest suicide victim would be autopsied in Loveland, Colo. on Saturday.

A majority of the suicides this year occurred in Riverton, nine, while three have been reported in Lander, and one each in Dubois, Pavillion, Ethete and Fort Washakie. None of the suicides were juveniles. All but two were men.

“We only had five suicides in all of 2011 in Riverton, and this year it’s double that. It’s a mystery to us,” Ivey said.

The suicide victims this year range in age from 23 to 82. The total includes three in their 20s, five in their 30s, four in their 40s, one each in their 50s and 70s and two over 80.