Miss. lawmaker Jessica Upshaw found dead of apparent suicide in home of a former colleague


Mississippi state Rep. Jessica Upshaw was found dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the home of former Rep. Clint Rotenberry. The two were thought to have been dating for several years.



A Mississippi state lawmaker was found dead of a gunshot wound in an apparent suicide at the home of a former colleague from the state legislature.

State Rep. Jessica Upshaw, 53, appeared to have died of a gunshot wound to the head.

The gunshot wound "appeared to be self-inflicted," Simpson County Sheriff Kenneth Lewis told NBC station WLBT in Jackson, Miss. 

Upshaw was found in the garage of a former colleague, Rep. Clint Rotenberry.

The sheriff told the Clarion-Ledger that Ushaw appeared to be standing under the garage door between the garage and the driveway when she died, just feet from where her car was parked.

Upshaw and Rotenberry, both Republicans, were thought to have been romantically involved for several years, reports the Clarion-Ledger.

Her death came as a shock to colleagues in Mississippi's legislature.

"I have known Jessica for many years as an unselfish and dedicated public servant," Gov. Phil Bryant told CBS.

"This is a tragic loss for her family and all Mississippians, and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this difficult time."

Upshaw was the fifth Mississippi lawmaker to die in as many months but was the first death that was not from natural causes.

"Once again this session, the House has been touched by tragedy," House Speaker Philip Gunn said in a statement.

"Rep. Jessica Upshaw was an outstanding legislator and friend. She was one of the brightest and most competent members of the House."

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is still looking into the case, and no official determination has been made as to her death.