Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office investigators were called to a tragic scene in Clarksville Thursday night.
George Ryan, 59, was found dead in his Hwy. 73 South home around 7:30 p.m. Ryan’s sister, who lives next door to him, told authorities she had checked on him the previous day around the same time. She said he was sitting in his chair, but did not feel well. When she returned to check on him Thursday, he didn’t answer the door, so she entered the unlocked residence and discovered him on the floor unresponsive. She immediately called 911.
Authorities were met with a blood-filled house, causing them to step back and summon the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Lab to the scene to investigate. Once evidence was gathered, it appeared the death was the result of an unusual suicide by knife.
“He was in the living room and there was a trail of blood to the back bedroom,” Lt. Jared Nichols tells The County Record. “He had cuts on both arms, his legs and his neck. Autopsy results came back Saturday and the conclusion was he died due to massive amount of blood loss from a severed artery in his right arm.”
Several knives and a razor blade were recovered.
Lt. Nichols says Ryan’s family and a pastor told them he suffered from depression due to health problems and had attempted suicide in the past. It was also suspected he was over-medicating.
The sadness of the case continued when a large 150-pound Bulldog was found in the home and appeared to have been trying to rouse Ryan, resulting in scratches. “We don’t think the dog was attacking him,” Nichols explains. “It looks as if the pet was acting out of concern.”
Lt. Nichols says there was no blood spatter, just drops of blood as if Ryan was moving around the house. Investigators found no evidence of foul play.
The act of suicide by knife is a rare occurrence, but does happen. “It’s not something we typically see,” says Nichols, noting most self-inflicted deaths are the result of an overdose, a firearm or hanging. Due to the unusual circumstances, authorities went the extra mile to involve FDLE and leave no question as to the cause of death in this case.
Toxicology tests are being conducted and will take 60 to 90 days to complete.
The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend their appreciation to all of the agencies that assisted with this investigation including 14th Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorneys, J. Shad Redmon and Ana Garcia, 14th Judicial Circuit Medical Examiner’s Office Investigator Becky Reid, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and K-9 teams from Calhoun and Liberty Correctional Institutions.