Elzie Rex, who was taken to the state hospital at Clarinda Wednesday of last week from this county, died there Friday and the body reached home Sunday. Preparations were at once made for the funeral and interment at Palestine Church west of Leon on Tuesday, and the service had been held and the casket was ready to be lowered in the grave when it was decided by his relatives that a further investigation of his death should be made. Accordingly the body was taken back to Garden Grove in charge of Undertaker Sheffer and arrangements made to send the body back to Clarinda with a demand for a coroner's inquest. Mr. Sheffer had returned that evening from Clarinda where he had gone to investigate the death in the interest of the family. There were numerous bruises and cuts upon the head of the deceased and it is reported that another inmate had acted suspiciously and had been heard to mutter things that led to the belief the injuries might have been inflicted by him. A full investigation is being demanded by the family.
Decatur County Journal November 5, 1914
An inquest was held at Clarinda Friday of last week over the body of Elzie Rex, who had died at the state hospital at Clarinda and had been sent to the home near Garden Grove for burial and then returned to the place of death for an inquest. The following concerning the inquest appeared in the Des Moines capital last Saturday the special being published under a Clarinda date line:
Suspicious that Elzie Rex, farmer, age about 35 years, from near Garden Grove, Decatur County, patient at the Clarinda State Hospital who died at that institution between Sunday and Monday morning last had not died a natural death, the body of Rex, which had been sent from the hospital to Garden Grove was returned here for a corner's inquest yesterday. The jury found that he died in a delirium and not from an injury or blow.
Rex was committed to the hospital from Leon and was received at the Clarinda Hospital October 21. Relatives and others testified that they saw no scratches on the face of Rex before he went to the hospital, while scratches appeared on his face after his death.
Dr. Max E. White, superintendent of the hospital, declares that he observed scratches on the patient's face when he came to the hospital and several physicians and other witnesses in and out of the hospital testified that there was no evidence that any scratches on his face were serious.
Three physicians and a licensed embalmer representing all parties, certified that in their opinion Rex came to his death from exhaustion while in a state of delirium, and that in their opinion the abrasions upon his neck and face did not hasten or cause his death.
Rex was in a bed adjoining that of a paretic patient the night Rex died and evidence was that the two talked much before they quieted down late at night. There was blood on the paretic's fingernails after Rex was found dead. Dr. Witte testified that Rex had acute delirium at the time of the patient's receipt at the hospital. The condition of Rex was such that the doctor predicted that he could not live long. The hospital employess testified that it never was necessary to handle Rex roughly.