A Mississippi Tea Party official arrested as part of a U.S. Senate campaign scandal is dead in an apparent suicide, police said Friday.
Ridgeland, Mississippi, police said in a statement that they received a call shortly after 9 a.m. Friday morning from the wife of the official, Mark Mayfield. Upon entering the residence, they found Mayfield dead with a single gunshot wound to his head.
The death is still under investigation, but police said they do not expect foul play.
Mayfield was one of three people arrested in connection with an investigation into an alleged break-in at a nursing home to film the unsuspecting wife of Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran.
The arrest of Mayfield, the Mississippi Tea Party’s vice chair, came days after the arrest of Clayton Thomas Kelly, a local activist and blogger who allegedly snuck into Rose Cochran’s nursing home and videotaped her.
John Reeves, an attorney representing Mayfield, on the day of the arrest that Mayfield “maintains his innocence.” He also said Mayfield had “no connection whatsoever” to Kelly.
“This is politics at its worst,” Reeves told Business Insider then.
The nursing home scandal stunned the state’s political world weeks before the heated Republican primary between Cochran and Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Mayfield was an ardent supporter of McDaniel, who ended up losing to Cochran in a runoff earlier this week.
Roy Nicholson, the former chair of the Mississippi Tea Party, told Business Insider Mayfield’s death is a “terrible moment for all of us.”
A spokesman for McDaniel’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. The Clarion-Ledger first reported the news Friday morning.
This post has been updated at 2:10 p.m. ET with new details from police.
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