Costello, Jerry (Unknown - July 31, 1941)

MEXICAN HERDER TAKES OWN LIFE

Sends Rifle Bullet Through Head While on Job at AU7 Ranch

Douglas Budget - August 7, 1941

Jerry Costello, 33, Mexican herder who in the middle of July spent several days and nights in the Douglas jail suffering under the hallucinations brought on by a bad case of delirium tremens, last Thursday was found dead on the William Eastman AU7 ranch in Niobrara county, a bullet hole through his head, said to have been self inflicted.

The body was taken in charge by the Niobrara county coroner and taken to Lusk.

Costello was picked up in north Douglas early Tuesday morning, July 15th, by Police Chief Clyde Ivester. At the time he was clad only in shorts and was laboring under the obsession that someone was after him to do him bodily harm.

The officer placed him in the jail quarters for safe keeping and a physician diagnosed his case as the D.T.'s. After four nights and three days in the solitude of the city's bastile, Costello apparently recovered and was discharged.

W.R. Eastman, looking for a herder, hired him and took him out to the AU7. The Mexican had worked over a year for Wade Fowler, according to officers, and was considered a conscientious and willing employee.

After he had worked on his new job several days his sheep wagon burned up. He told his employer he did not know how it happened, that he had cooked his supper there the night before and had slept in his tepee a mile or so away that night and had discovered the remains of the wagon the next morning when he went there to prepare breakfast. It is reported that he felt badly about the loss, feeling he was responsible, and that he was willing to work all summer to repay Mr. Eastman.

He was furnished another wagon. In it was a rifle to drive off marauding coyotes. It is reported that he told the Eastman campmover that he did not want a gun around. On the next visit of the campmover the herder could not be found and the sheep were scattered from the want of attention. The sheepwagon had not been used.

A glance in the tepee revealed a multitude of empty rifle shells on the floor near the opening. It is presumed he had again been struck by the illusion that someone was after him and had shot repeatedly at false enemies.

He was found on the brow of a hill several hundreds yards from his tepee, his dog guarding the remains and showing some hostility when approached. However the animal soon yielded to kindness and allowed the camptender to approach.

The Mexican still gripped the rifle, the muzzle of which had evidently been pressed to his forehead when fired. Only one shell was found in the gun or in the vicinity, indicating that the dead man had saved it for the purpose for which he used it.

Costello while in the city jail, had told officers his home was in San Antonio and had given the address of a sister in that city. It is understood the Niobrara county coroner was endeavoring to contact her.

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