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On Monday, December 21st, the Sheriff's Office was notified of a 911 call from 808 Bear Bluff in the Hand Cove area from a man stating that his wife had shot herself. Sheriff's deputies and emergency first responder personnel were dispatched to the location.

Emergency responders found the victim in the woods approximately 100-125 yards behind the house. The victim was deceased, and it appeared that she had shot herself once in the head with a semi-automatic rifle, which was recovered at the scene. The victim was identified as Karen Margaret Gowen, 44 years old, of the residence.

Mr. James Gowen stated he and his wife had gone hunting separately on different parts of the property. About 45 minutes later, Mr. Gowen told investigators he heard one muffled gunshot and went to locate his wife. When he found her, he called 911.

Sheriff's Investigator Lt. Terry Johnson processed the incident scene. The body of the victim was then removed by the County Coroner's Office. The victim will be sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Little Rock for autopsy. Evidence from the preliminary investigation leads investigators to believe that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted, and there is no indication of foul play involved.

/s/ John F. Montgomery
Baxter County Sheriff