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Far fewer homicides, but suicide rate rises

Oct 16, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan says homicide cases in the county remain well below the 2011's record-breaking year.

In a third-quarter report to commissioners Oct. 9, McAuslan said there have been five homicides in the county so far this year. The number compares to the 15 cases reported in the first nine months last year.

In all, there were 23 homicides in 2011, and 2010 saw nine cases total.

He contributed a decrease in motor-vehicle homicides as a main reason for the drop.

There have been eight vehicular deaths so far in 2012, which is down from 17 in last year's third quarter. Three of this year's vehicular deaths were ruled as homicides.

Suicide rate

McAuslan said Fremont County's suicide rate has risen this year. He said his agency has handled 16 suicides since Jan. 1. This compares to previous third-quarter figures of 11 in 2011 and six in 2010.

He said the current number of suicides is two more than 2011's figure, and two less than the record number of 18 that occurred in 1985 and 2006.

Commission chairman Doug Thompson asked McAuslan if he has identified trends in suicides with the coroner's office support groups.

McAuslan said the only common denominator evident in suicide cases is substance abuse. He said there is not a common demographic or community where suicide seems more prevalent.

McAuslan noted the task force is working in the county to try to reduce the rate.

Recorded deaths

According to the coroner's report, there have been 290 recorded deaths in Fremont County for the third quarter of 2012. Of those, 164 have been handled by the coroner's office.

McAuslan said 29 percent of coroner cases so far this year have been ruled non-natural in manner such as accident, homicide, suicide and undetermined.

McAuslan's report noted 18 deaths so far this year have been ruled as accidental, which is one more than a year ago.

McAuslan told commissioners that drug- and/or alcohol-related deaths in the third quarter account for 22 percent of coroner cases, which compares to 25 percent during the same time a year ago.

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