Deputies investigate two deaths over weekend

Published 4:37 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two deaths were reported over the weekend, one involved a man accidentally shooting himself with a loaded gun, while the second involved a woman who is believed to have died of natural causes days before she was found.

The shooting took place on Saturday and the woman was found on Saturday.

In the Nicholson area, Berkley Polland Jr., 34, was with family when he allegedly was displaying a handgun. Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage said his family asked him to put the gun away. Instead he declared the gun was not loaded, took the magazine out of the gun and pointed the gun to his head. When he pulled the trigger there was still a round in the chamber and the gun went off, killing him.

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Turnage said the autopsy confirmed the account of the incident, declaring Polland’s cause of death to be accidental.

Pearl River County Chief Investigator Donnie Saucier said the department was called at about 8 p.m. and responded with AAA Ambulance personnel to find Polland unresponsive and was declared dead on scene. Investigators Sgt. Christa Groom and Crime Scene Investigator James Buie processed the scene and interviews were conducted.

The information collected in the investigation showed that it was an accidental shooting and drugs and alcohol are believed to be involved. Saucier said whether drugs and alcohol were actually involved will be determined through toxicology analysis.

Further investigation shows the gun involved was stolen from another person in Pearl River County, Saucier said.

The body of 61 year-old Madeline Schrader was found at her home, 1376 Gumpond Beal Rd., Turnage said. Saucier said the department got the call about Schrader on Saturday as well. Apparently family of Schrader, who live out of town, were concerned about her after they lost touch with her. They called a neighbor w whom they to check on her. When the neighbor got to the door, a strong smell of decay was detected and the neighbor could see Schrader’s body sitting in a chair through a window.

The neighbor called 911 and deputies and EMT personnel responded.

“Until we get an autopsy we won’t have a cause of death ,but everything is pointing to a natural cause of death,” Saucier said.

Turnage said her estimated date of death was Nov. 10. He said while her cause of death appears to be due to natural causes, an autopsy has been ordered.