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01-17-05 3 suicide attempts reported in county

By Margie Wuebker

  Two people remain in critical condition today at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, the victims of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

  The unrelated incidents are among three suicide attempts under investigation by the Mercer County Sheriff's Office.
  Jessica Smelser, 32, 109 Pershing St., Celina, was found at the residence around 10 p.m. Saturday with a wound to her left chest.
  She was taken by ambulance to Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys and then transferred aboard a CareFlight helicopter to the Dayton hospital. She remains under treatment in the intensive care unit.
  Chris Smelser called 911 at 10:02 p.m. to report his wife had shot herself with his gun. Detectives as well as agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation & Identification responded to the scene.  "We do not suspect foul play," Sheriff Jeff Grey told The Daily Standard this morning. "However, we needed to check everything out since Chris Smelser is a member of the Mercer County Sheriff's Reserve."
  Reserve officers are required to purchase their own weapon -- a Glock 9-millimeter. The county provides similar weapons for sheriff's office employees.
  St. Henry police officers were called to 652 Country Lane in St. Henry after Dennis Steinbrunner was found lying in his garage around 3 p.m. Saturday with a gunshot wound to the side of the face. A 12-gauge shotgun was recovered at the scene, according to police chief Bob Garman.
  Garman estimated the victim to be in his 30s, but did not have the report at hand when contacted at his home early today. Authorities do not suspect foul play.
  Steinbrunner's wife made the grim discovery and a neighbor called 911 at 3:01 p.m. He was taken by ambulance to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater and then transferred to Miami Valley aboard a CareFlight helicopter. He, too, remains under treatment in the intensive care unit.
  The third incident occurred shortly after 8:30 a.m. Saturday when a Mercer County Home resident was found in his bedroom suffering from apparent self-inflicted knife wounds to the wrists.
  Robert Hamman, 60, 4871 state Route 29, Celina, was transported by ambulance to Community Hospital, where he was treated and later released.
  Gray added that foul play is not suspected, although the investigation is continuing.


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