The grisly scene where a top Bill Clinton adviser was found hanged from a tree with a gunshot wound to his chest has finally been revealed nine months after he died.
But the sheriff’s report into Mark Middleton’s mysterious death raises more questions than answers as it rules he died by suicide – despite no sign of the weapon that killed him.
Middleton, 59, was found dead last May at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, an hour west of Little Rock.
Release of the report was held up after members of his family petitioned a judge. They were worried that pictures from the gory scene would be made public.
The judge eventually ruled that details could be released but photographs could not.
The report, written by Perry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Lawson, says he was called to the ranch by worker Samantha McElroy who had found Middleton’s abandoned black BMW SUV.
McElroy, 46, then walked around a cottage on the ranch.
‘Almost immediately after stepping around the corner of the cottage she started yelling,’ wrote Lawson.
‘Upon reaching the back of the cottage she pointed towards the rear of the property and asked if that was a person.
‘I could see what at first appeared to be a man sitting near a tree, as my eyes focused better, I could see a rope of some type going from the tree limb to the male.”
Lawson said it was clear that Middleton was dead.
‘I could see that he had a gunshot wound to the chest and that he had a knot tied in an extension cord that was around his neck and it was attached to the limb directly above him.
The deputy said a search of Middleton’s vehicle turned up three boxes of buckshot and a gun case – but no weapon.
The details give fresh insight into the death of Middleton, a married father of two daughters aged 18 and 20 who was found dead on May 7 last year.