No foul play in Max Baer's girlfriend's shooting

January 30, 2008 6:40:40 PM PST
The live-in girlfriend of former "Beverly Hillbillies" star Max Baer Jr. apparently shot herself and died several days later, authorities said Wednesday. Police were still investigating the death of 30-year-old Chere Rhodes, but no foul play is suspected, Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Halsey said.

Baer, 70, an entrepreneur who played "Jethro" in the 1960s "Hillbillies" series, summoned authorities to his Lake Tahoe home last Thursday after he found Rhodes with a single gunshot wound to the chest, Halsey said.

"She was conscious on the scene and told (officers) that it was a self-attempted suicide," Halsey said. "There was a suicide note as well which substantiated her statement."

He said the handwritten note cited "relationship problems."

She was flown by helicopter to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno and placed on life support. Her family took her off life support Sunday, Halsey said.

Baer, son of Max Baer, the heavyweight champion of the 1930s, has lived at Lake Tahoe for years. He's currently trying to build a hotel-casino in northern Douglas County that would include a signature oil derrick evoking the "Hillbillies" sitcom theme of dimwitted Jethro Bodine, played by Baer, and other members of his family striking oil.