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Autopsy rules out foul play in death of retired U.S. marshal

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, at 11:03 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, March 1, 2011, at 1:18 p.m.

NEWTON —Retired U.S. marshal Richard Schroeder died of natural causes outside his Newton home, authorities said this afternoon.

Newton police initially labeled Schroeder's death suspicious, but they said the initial results of an autopsy have allowed them to rule out the possibility of foul play.

Police said Schroeder's wife arrived home in the 1000 block of Boyd about 9 p.m. Thursday and found her husband lying in the driveway.

She discovered that he had head injuries and called 911. An ambulance took him to Newton Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The death also is being investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Harvey County Sheriff's Office and the Harvey County coroner.

Schroeder, 62, had recently been a partner in a proposed work release center in south Wichita that was touted as a way to ease pressure on the crowded Sedgwick County Jail. If it had been approved, Schroeder would have run the center.

During his career as a U.S. marshal, Schroeder provided court-ordered protection for abortion provider George Tiller during 1991's "Summer of Mercy" anti-abortion protests.

For a significant part of Schroeder's career — first as a marshal and later as a private detective — he helped provide security for Tiller, a nationally known late-term abortion provider and perennial focus of anti-abortion protests and threats. Tiller was fatally shot at his Wichita church in May.

Schroeder, who lived in Newton, also has operated a private investigation business in the Wichita area.

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com.

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