- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2003

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The death of Colin McMillan, an oilman awaiting Senate confirmation as Navy secretary, was ruled a suicide by gunshot yesterday.

Mr. McMillan, 67, was found dead Thursday at his 55,000-acre ranch in southern New Mexico, near the White Sands Missile Range.

“The cause is a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The manner is suicide,” said Tim Stepetic, spokesman for the state medical investigator.

In Alamogordo, District Attorney Scot Key would not say if Mr. McMillan left a suicide note. Mr. Key said a handgun was found with the body.

Mr. McMillan “had a recurrence of cancer,” but “everybody thought he was recovered, recuperating quite well,” Sen. Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican, said yesterday on the Senate floor.

President Bush nominated Mr. McMillan in May for the Navy post, which had been vacant since Gordon England left in January to become deputy secretary of the new Homeland Security Department.

The president said he and his wife were “saddened by the death of our good friend.”

Mr. McMillan served in the Marine Corps from 1957 to 1972 and was assistant defense secretary in the early 1990s, during the first Bush administration.

Mr. McMillan ran Permian Exploration Corp. in Roswell. He was a member of the New Mexico House from 1971 to 1982 and ran for U.S. Senate in 1994, losing to Democratic incumbent Jeff Bingaman.

Mr. Domenici called Mr. McMillan “someone who succeeded at everything he tried and everything he did, and yet he was about as humble as anyone you will ever meet.”

Mr. McMillan is survived by his wife, Kay, and their four children.

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