JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Police provided more details into the apparent suicide of Spence Jackson, a longtime Missouri politico and chief spokesperson for late State Auditor Tom Schweich, whose body was discovered in his Jefferson City apartment yesterday evening.
Police believe Jackson died earlier this weekend, either on Friday or early Saturday, but wasn’t discovered until Sunday, when police responded to a call around 7 p.m. after Jackson’s mother notified authorities that Jackson was unresponsive to calls and other attempts to contact him. A note was obtained at the scene, but police declined to discuss the contents, citing the open investigation. They did not state definitively whether or not the note’s contents would eventually become public.
While police believe Jackson’s death is likely a suicide, they are investigating the matter to rule out any other causes of death, including foul play. Jefferson City Police Department Public Information Officer Doug Shoemaker told reporters that a .357 magnum handgun was found in the premises along with a single spent shell casing. Police will be conducting an autopsy today, the results of which will be released to the public at a later, unspecified date.
Jackson worked for several years under Schweich, primarily as his communications director and chief spokesperson. Jackson made headlines shortly after Schweich’s funeral when he publicly called on Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock to resign in response to accusations that Hancock conducted an anti-Semitic “whisper campaign” against Schweich’s bid for governor in 2016.
Hancock long denied the rumors but took a punch last week when prominent GOP donor, David Humphreys, submitted a sworn affidavit that Hancock made remarks about Schweich’s religion that he believed were derogatory. Schweich’s father was Jewish, but he was a practicing Episcopalian.
Police said preliminary autopsy results may be available later today.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.