Mark Mayfield, Mississippi tea party leader accused in nursing home photo scandal, found dead

By Kyle Johnson,

A Mississippi tea party leader who has was accused of being involved in a scheme to take pictures of Sen. Thad Cochran's wife in a nursing home was found dead of an apparent suicide on Friday.

Police believe that Mark Mayfield likely committed suicide as he was found with a single gunshot wound to the head, the Los Angeles Times reports. Ridgeland Police Lt. John R. Neal said police were called to the residence by Mayfield's wife.

The 57-year-old had been accused of being involved in the photo scandal, where a supporter of Sen. Chris McDaniel took pictures of incumbent Cochran's wife, who suffers from dementia, in a nursing home. After the photo was posted online, Mayfield, the blogger and two others were arrested.

Mayfield was accused of telling the blogger who took the pictures of how best to get into the nursing home unnoticed.

Mayfield's death comes just after McDaniel lost the Senate race for Cochran's seat, according to Politico. McDaniel has refused to concede in the race.

Keith Plunkett, McDaniel's policy director, tweeted - and then deleted - shortly after the news, "A good man is gone today [because] of a campaign to destroy lives." He added, "To all 'so called' Republican leaders who joined lockstep: I WILL NOT REST!"

While Plunkett lashed out, others offered their condolences to Mayfield's family.

"Usually when somebody dies you try to find something nice to say, but it isn't hard with somebody like Mark," Tupelo Tea Party leader Grant Sowell said. "Think of the five people you know who have the best qualities all rolled into one and that guy is Mark Mayfield."

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