Details released in Sponseller death investigation

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Richland County Coroner's Office released final autopsy results in the death of Tom Sponseller Friday.

Sponseller, who was the chairman of South Carolina Hospitality Association, was found dead in downtown Columbia February 28, after he had gone missing for 10 days.

On Friday, Coroner Gary Watts said toxicology results showed no signs of drugs or alcohol in Sponseller's system when he died.

The coroner's investigation found that gunshot residue was found on his hand. DNA from the scene and on the weapon matched Sponseller's DNA.

"The projectile recovered matches the weapon found at the scene and was also discovered to be the weapon purchased by the victim," Watts said. "Handwriting comparisons of the note he left also match known handwriting samples of Mr. Sponseller."

Watts said that based on his tests and the forensic autopsy by Richland County's medical examiner "Sponseller died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, and this case will be ruled as a suicide."

It was also determined Sponseller died near the date and time he was reported missing.