FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — An Arizona homicide investigation now includes
three deaths after a woman died more than a week after participating in
a sweat lodge ceremony that hospitalized nearly two dozen people.
Liz Neuman of Minnesota died Saturday at a Flagstaff hospital, Yavapai
County sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said.
The 49-year-old suffered multiple organ damage during the Oct. 8
ceremony at a resort near Sedona, a resort town 115 miles north of
Phoenix that draws many in the New Age spiritual movement.
Authorities were treating all three deaths as homicides, but no charges
have been filed.
D’Evelyn did not provide a city of residence for Neuman, but public
records showed an address in Prior Lake, about 25 miles southwest of
Neuman was among more than 50 people crowded inside the sweat lodge run
by self-help guru James Arthur Ray. An emergency call two hours after
they entered the lodge reported two people not breathing.
Twenty-one people were taken to area hospitals with illnesses ranging
from dehydration to kidney failure. Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y.,
and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee died upon arrival at a hospital.
No one else remains hospitalized.
Authorities haven’t determined what caused the deaths. Autopsy results
on Brown and Shore are pending further testing.
The Rev. Meredith Ann Murray of Bellingham, Wash., who has completed all
of Ray’s retreats, said Neuman was among Ray’s earliest followers and
had attended dozens of his events.
According to Ray’s Web site, Neuman was the leader of the
Minneapolis- area “Journey Expansion Team.” The teams, developed by Ray’s
friends and followers around the country, meet to exchange ideas on his
principles. The next Minneapolis- area meeting is scheduled for Oct. 23.
Ray had rented the Angel Valley Retreat Center for his five-day
“Spiritual Warrior” event that culminated in the sweat lodge ceremony.
Participants paid between $9,000 and $10,000 to attend the retreat.
Ray declined to be interviewed by the sheriff’s office on the night of
the incident and Arizona authorities said he had not spoken to them as
of Thursday. In his first public appearance Tuesday in Los Angeles, Ray
told a crowd of about 200 that he has hired his own investigative team
to determine what went wrong.
His spokesman, Howard Bragman, has said that Ray’s team and Ray’s
attorney are cooperating with the sheriff’s investigators.
More than 100 people attended the funeral for Brown on Saturday at Holy
Name of Jesus Church in Otisville, N.Y., according to The Times
Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y. The avid hiker and surfer who had a
passion for art was remembered as a spiritual seeker.
Services for Shore were held late Saturday afternoon at the Hubbard
Lodge in Milwaukee.
Copyright Â© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Third ‘sweat lodge’ victim dies
Times Online – 5 hours ago
Sheriff says sweat lodge deaths “not accidental”
The Associated Press – 2 days ago
A New Age tragedy in Sedona
guardian.co. uk – 3 days ago
Sweat Lodge Tragedy
CBS – ?Oct 16, 2009?
A spiritual retreat by Philosopher James Arthur Ray turned into a
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PHOENIX (Reuters) – Police have begun a criminal investigation into the
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Times Online – ?Oct 15, 2009?
The deaths of two people in a ‘sweat lodge’ at a self-help retreat in
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Self-help guru calls sweat lodge participants
The Associated Press – Felicia Fonseca
?Oct 15, 2009?
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Motivational speaker James Arthur Ray has held a
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ceremony that *…*
Desperate 911 Call: First Glimpse Into Angel Valley Sweat Lodge Deaths
CBS News – Edecio Martinez
?Oct 15, 2009?
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (CBS/AP) A newly released 911 call is now offering a
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A New Age tragedy in Sedona
guardian.co. uk – ?Oct 15, 2009?
Were the deaths at a ‘sweat lodge’ in Arizona the inevitable result of
misappropriation of ritual, or is the story more complex? This piece
first appeared *…*
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