ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – One day after Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich took his own life, many are trying to understand what factors led to his death.
An editor for the St. Louis Post Dispatch said Schweich left a message on his phone only a few minutes before Schweich shot and killed himself. Tony Messenger said Schweich called him at 9:41 a.m.
“Every time I listen to it, I hear something different,” Messenger said. “Just the breaking in his voice. The first time I listened to it I thought he sounded resolute, sounded fairly normal.”
“This is Tom Schweich calling...To me this is more of a religion story than a politics story,” Schweich said in the voicemail.
Messenger said Schweich had been talking to him off the record about his belief that John Hancock, the new chair of the Missouri Republican Party, was engaging in a whisper campaign about Schweich’s Jewish heritage. Schweich was not Jewish but had Jewish ancestry.
“He wasn’t just upset about a whisper campaign. He was upset about the nature of politics in the state and in his party,” Messenger said.
People who work in the Missouri Auditor’s Office told News 4 Schweich was angered about the whole matter and recently talked about going public with his thoughts. It is unclear if that was a factor that led to his suicide.
“If nothing else, it clearly raised his stress level in some capacity and it clearly changed what he was dealing with on a daily basis personally, and that is going to have an effect on people,” said Messenger.
Hancock put out a statement following Schweich’s death saying he was in utter shock and asked all Missourians to pray for Schweich’s family. News 4 attempted to reach out to Hancock, but he did not respond to the request for a comment.
Schweich’s funeral will be held Tuesday at the Church of St. Michael and St. George in Clayton.