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Ex-NY state police scientist found dead

By Michael Gormley
The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. - A former state police forensic scientist was found dead at his home Friday, the second apparent suicide of a retired state police official in just more than a week, according to a state government official.

The scientist's name wasn't released. The official confirmed the report on condition of anonymity because the death hasn't been announced by authorities.

On Tuesday, the former head of Gov. George Pataki's security detail was buried in Orange County. Retired Inspector Gary Berwick was found dead at his home May 15.

The deaths have come as officials investigate claims a rogue unit within the state police engaged in political dirty tricks for Pataki and former Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

The Albany Times Union reported that a note found at the scene of Friday's death referred to an internal probe of evidence handling.

There was no immediate comment from the state police.

"The State Troopers PBA was saddened to hear of the unexpected death, apparently by suicide, of a forensic scientist employed by the New York State Police," said union President Daniel M. De Federicis.

"The PBA did not represent this individual in our union, and therefore we are not privy to the details of this incident," he said. "However, the PBA recognizes this loss is certainly tragic, and our hearts go out to the scientist's family, friends and co-workers."

The state police have been hit hard by suicide this year.

In April, a 35-year-old trooper was found dead in his suburban Albany home. Lt. Joseph Banish apparently killed himself after he was notified that he'd face discipline for an inappropriate relationship with a woman at the state police academy, according to published reports. He was assigned to the traffic section of division headquarters.

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