The first official report of Hemingway’s death was a joint statement by the coroner Ray McGoldrick and the sheriff Don Hewitt, “Ernest Hemingway died this morning at about 7:30 at his home near Ketchum from gunshot wounds. His wife thinks it was accidental while he was cleaning his gun.”
The UPI reported, “Officials did not see any gun-cleaning equipment in the room.”
The following day the UPI said McGoldrick was asked if “self-inflicted gunshot wound in the head” on Hemingway’s death certificate meant he killed himself or died accidentally. McGoldrick responded, “I wasn’t there so I don’t know. Maybe the truth will never be known. No one saw it. The family is willing to let it go that way and that’s all right with me. The wife thinks it was an accident.”
The authorities did not interview Mrs. Hemingway until the day after they had reached their ambiguous conclusion. Her statement had been given through a friend. There was no coroner’s inquest and no autopsy.