The number of suicides in Crow Wing County tripled from two in 1999 to six in 2000, officials reported Tuesday to the Crow Wing County Board.
Janis Amatuzio, forensic pathologist for Midwest Forensic Pathology, who serves as Crow Wing County coroner, reviewed the 2000 cases.
Of the six suicides, five were men and one a woman. Four were not married.
"Married people are less likely to commit suicide," she said.
The total number of cases in the county was up by eight from 1999 to 276 total cases in 2000. Of the 276 deaths, 241 people died of natural causes, 29 died from accidents and six committed suicide. There were no homicides.
There were no sudden infant death syndrome cases. There were 36 deaths of hospice patients with an average age of 74. Hospice patients are people with a terminal disease who die at home and are registered with a hospice program.
Accidental deaths increased by 11 percent from 1999. All the deaths occurred in Crow Wing County, although some of the accidents occurred in other counties, such as Cass.
Of the 29 deaths, 17 -- eight women and nine men -- died as a result of motor vehicle accidents. The average age of those who died was 42. Blood tests found alcohol present in seven people.
Three of the crashes were head-on collisions and six involved a single vehicle. In about half of the accidents, the victims did not wear seat belts.
A majority of the vehicle accidents occurred on Highway 371. Six of the accidents occurred in or near Brainerd. Five of the accidents occurred from 8 p.m. to midnight. Four were between 1-4 a.m. Both of these time frames are the most dangerous times for vehicle accidents, said Amatuzio.
There were no snowmobile or motorcycle fatalities in 2000.
There were 12 non-motor vehicle accidental deaths. Five died from medical complications from a fall, two drowned, two died from gunshot wounds and one each died from an overdose, surgery or hypothermia.
Both drowning victims were men and one involved alcohol. The hypothermia victim also had alcohol present.
Amatuzio said that alcohol played a big role in both deaths.
She said that in the two gunshot cases that the gun shot off accidentally. In one of the cases, the trigger guard caught on a door and the other death occurred when the person was attempting to climb into or out of a deer stand.
Amatuzio said the coroner's office is required to investigate the deaths of all people who are to be cremated, dissected or buried at sea. The county had 160 of these cases. She also performed 42 autopsies.
An autopsy is performed to document patterns of injury or when the manner of death is not clear.
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