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Molesting Suspect Commits Suicide

12-25-1996 Oklahoma:

GUTHRIE - A Guthrie man fatally shot himself late Monday while police watched, helpless to stop him.

Richard Mahnke, 59, killed himself while officers were attempting to get near enough to question him about the molestation of two small girls, Assistant Police Chief Harry Downs said.

Downs said Mahnke was called "uncle" by the girls, sisters age 6 and 8, but he does not think Mahnke was a blood relative of the children.

Police were called Monday evening to a home in the 1500 block of W Cleveland to investigate a possible child molestation.

Officers took two girls to the Logan Hospital and Medical Center's emergency room.

A doctor who examined the children said they had been molested by instrumentation, Downs said.

Shortly before midnight, officers returned to the home. When they asked to speak to Mahnke, other adults in the home found he had left.

Downs said police found Mahnke in the back yard, crouched by the corner of the house.

"When officers shined their lights on him, he already had a small caliber (.22) rifle under his chin and he pulled the trigger," Downs said.

Officers called for an ambulance and Mahnke died at the hospital a short time later.

Richard Smothermon, Logan County first assistant district attorney, said Mahnke became the third person connected with a juvenile rape investigation to commit suicide in Logan County in the past two months.

On Oct. 24, Golden Timothy Kelly Jr., 37, committed suicide by hanging himself in the Logan County Jail. He was charged with the second-degree rape of a 14-year-old girl.

On Dec. 9, William Lee Hodges Jr., 21, also committed suicide by hanging himself in the Logan County Jail.

He had been charged with two counts of first-degree rape involving his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter. ..Source.. by Ellie Sutter

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