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Initial opinions indicated suicide in the fatal shooting Tuesday of Charles W. Townsend '49. Results of an autopsy were not available last night.
A Dudley Hall maid discovered Townsend in his bathroom at 10.35 a.m., shot through the right temple. A .22 Savage rifle lay by his side.
Close friends to Townsend said he had been melancholy since he entered the Army in the spring of 1946, and that he had announced intentions to commit suicide several times. He had occasionally been under the care of a University psychiatrist.
Townsend, a senior and a concentrator in English, entered College in 1945. His Army career was unhappy one of his friends Geoffrey Groff-Smith '49 said. According to Groff-Smith, Townsend failed to mix with his fellows and got "one bad deal after another."
In the fall of 1948, half a year after his return to Harvard, Townsend frightened his friends by talking about suicide and then disappearing from College shortly before a vacation. Groff-Smith said.
Townsend was seen at breakfast Tuesday morning, and acquaintances reported the seemed in good spirits at the time. A friend said he thought that the morning mail might have brought bad news about a course in which Townsend had not completed the final examination.
During the past term, he lived alone in Boston at a doctor's office where he worked.
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