SON OF OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR KILLS SELF

Published: Saturday, Dec. 28 1991 12:00 a.m. MST

Gov. David Walters' son has died 11 days after taking an overdose of a prescription anti-depressant. Authorities ruled the death a suicide.

Shaun David Walters, 20, died late Thursday, said Randy Sachs, spokesman for Baptist Medical Center. He had slipped into a coma soon after taking the drug."His heart just simply failed," Sachs said. "The reason that he lived this long was probably due to the fact that he was young and healthy."

The governor and his wife, Rhonda, were at their son's bedside when he died, Sachs said.

"Rhonda and I have given up to God our first-born and only son," Walters said in a statement.

"We believe that Shaun is now in an incredible place of constant joy and happiness and abundant love," Walters said. "This belief does not lessen the almost unbearable pain of his loss."

The governor canceled all his appointments when his son was found Dec. 15 and has spent most of his time since at the hospital. Bill Crain, an aide to the governor, said the staff had no idea when the governor would resume work.

"I'm told that he and Mrs. Walters are holding up remarkably well, considering the circumstances," Crain said.

The funeral was scheduled for Saturday.

The state medical examiner's office ruled the death a suicide caused by a drug overdose. Oklahoma City police said Friday had closed the case.

Police found Shaun Walters slumped over in his car near the high school from which he graduated in 1990. An empty bottle of the prescription anti-depressant Pamelor was in his pocket. Sachs said the drug had been prescribed for the youth for some time.

A week before the overdose, Shaun Walters had pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia. He got a six-month deferred sentence, was fined $300 and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.

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