The Indianapolis Star – 20 March 1911 – Dr. Cleage on a case of suicide

Dr. Albert B. Cleage, Sr

20 Mar 1911 Monday Article
Guard Body of Suicide – Policemen Hold Long Vigil. 
Estal Loc Townsend Cheats Tuberculosis by killing himself with Carbolic Acid After Attempt to End Life by Shooting Fails.

After Estal Lee Townsend, 19 years old, 227 East New York street, a driver, had committed suicide in a room at 120 North Pennsylvania street yesterday, bicycle officers guarded the body for almost three hours until coroner Durham arrived.  The officers were acting under specific instructions given earlier in the week that bodies of persons dying from other than natural causes should not be touched until seen by the coroner.

Townsend swallowed the contents of a phial of carbolic acid while visiting a friend, Frank Black, at the Pennsylvania street address.  The suicide was a victim of tuberculosis.  He tried to kill himself last Friday night.  It is said, by shooting.  He was in the act of firing a bullet into his brain when a friend knocked the weapon from his hand.  The bullet penetrated the ceiling of Townsend’s room.

Yesterday Townsend spent several hours in Black’s room and although despondent gave no hint of his intention to end his life.  About 4:45 o’clock Townsend stepped into an adjoining room.

EMPTY BOTTLE TELLS STORY

A few minutes later Black heard groans and found his friend sitting on the floor at the side of a bed.  An empty bottle labeled carbolic acid was on the floor beside him.  Black asked Townsend if he had taken the acid and the dying boy nodded his head in the affirmative.

Black notified the police and Bicyclemen Trimpe and Bernsuer went to the room with Dr. A.B. Cleage of the City Dispensary, the policemen worked over the young man, but he died in agony within a short time.

Efforts were made to find Coroner Durham but he was not at his home or office.  Trimpe and Bernauer would allow no one to touch the body and it lay on the floor until nearly 7 o’clock.  The two officers in the meantime had been relieved by Bicyclemen Schlangen and Glenn.  Coroner Durham finally was reached and he pronounced the case one of suicide.

Relatives of Townsend said he had been suffering from tuberculosis and had realized that he could not recover.  The body was taken to an undertaking establishment and will be cared for by a sister of Townsend, Mrs. Mary Dickson, 52, West Twenty-sixth street.

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