A final report in the Terry Thompson exotic animal incident has been released. After months of speculation – Thompson committed suicide after he released 56 wild, exotic animals.
A report released by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation confirms gunshot residue was found on the hand of 62-year-old Terry Thompson of Kopchak Road. Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said with no leads indicating otherwise authorities stand behind their original conclusion that Thompson died after he put a gun to the roof of his mouth and fired on October 18th.
"There is speculation out there, you can take test results and turn them however you want to turn them, but for us we sent those samples in with the thought process that Mr. Thompson took his own life," said Lutz. "Now we’re finding that he did have gunshot residue on his hands does indicate that he fired the weapon."
Lutz said this is one of the final steps of the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation after Deputies were forced to kill 48 of the released exotic animals. Lutz plans to meet with the investigation unit to review their work and conclude the investigation. Six surviving animals are currently in the care of the Columbus Zoo.
"There’s still a lot of tension of getting the six animals that are still at the zoo, we’re still in communication with the Department of Agriculture, Governor’s Office, Senator Balderson," said Lutz. "We still have that issue of where the animals are going to go."
A final coroners report released in December confirmed Thompson had no alcohol or illegal drugs in his system and that he was bitten and clawed by large cats immediately after his death.