Gunpowder burns back theory of Foster suicide

August 06, 1993|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Investigators said yesterday that the autopsy of Vincent W. Foster Jr., the deputy White House counsel, appeared to confirm that his death two weeks ago was a suicide.

Mr. Foster was found dead July 20 in a park in Virginia with a gunshot wound to the head. Officials said the autopsy found gunpowder burns on Mr. Foster's hand, strong evidence that he had fired the weapon that killed him. The bullet that went through Mr. Foster's head has not been recovered, officials said.

They said the autopsy did not detect drugs or alcohol in his body.

After initially insisting they had no idea why Mr. Foster would have killed himself, White House officials said last week there were indications that he was depressed.

Yesterday, federal investigators said they had concluded that White House officials did nothing improper when they waited for 30 hours last week before giving police investigators the scraps of a torn-up note found in Mr. Foster's briefcase.

The note, which may help provide a motive for suicide, has not been made public. It has been described by some officials as a rough draft of a resignation letter and by others as a list of arguments Mr. Foster made to himself over his job.

FBI agents interviewed White House officials about the delay. The officials said they had waited so that they could describe the note to Mr. Foster's widow, Lisa, who was returning from Little Rock, Ark. Investigators said yesterday that they had concluded the delay was probably legitimate.

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