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Old 10-18-2009, 02:54 AM   #1
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3rd person dies in Ariz. sweat lodge ceremony case

By FELICIA FONSECA
The Associated Press
Sunday, October 18, 2009; 2:19 AM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A Minnesota woman who was hospitalized with damage to multiple organs after she was overcome in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony died Saturday, sheriff's officials said.

The death of 49-year-old Liz Neuman brings the total number of deaths from the Oct. 8 incident at a resort near Sedona to three, Yavapai County sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

Authorities are treating the 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 Minneapolis.

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, meet to exchange ideas on Ray's principles, the Web site said. 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 near Sedona, a resort town 115 miles north of Phoenix that draws many in the New Age spiritual movement.

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 also remembered as a spiritual seeker.

Services for Shore were held late Saturday afternoon at the Hubbard Lodge in Milwaukee.


washingtonpost.com
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Old 10-18-2009, 04:08 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Sunktaki View Post
By FELICIA FONSECA
The Associated Press
Sunday, October 18, 2009; 2:19 AM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A Minnesota woman who was hospitalized with damage to multiple organs after she was overcome in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony died Saturday, sheriff's officials said.

The death of 49-year-old Liz Neuman brings the total number of deaths from the Oct. 8 incident at a resort near Sedona to three, Yavapai County sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

Authorities are treating the 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 Minneapolis.

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, meet to exchange ideas on Ray's principles, the Web site said. 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 near Sedona, a resort town 115 miles north of Phoenix that draws many in the New Age spiritual movement.

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 also remembered as a spiritual seeker.

Services for Shore were held late Saturday afternoon at the Hubbard Lodge in Milwaukee.


washingtonpost.com
You can cook a cow's head by digging a hole in the ground, make a fire in it with firewood, stick the cow's head in there, set a cover over it and cover that with dirt. It will cook the head in about 8 hours. Sounds like this guy used the same method for the 'sweat lodge'.

How much is 50 x $10,000?
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:58 AM   #3
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:05 PM   #4
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From my observations. They need to arrest him.

Last edited by wanjica_the_one; 10-18-2009 at 07:56 PM..
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:33 PM   #5
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I believe charges are being filed against the sweat lodge operator. Apparently people have gotten injured in his other sweat lodge as well and I think someone else might have died. His unsafe practices have been goin on for a while and he needs to be stopped.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:21 PM   #6
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That must have been a horrible scene inside that sweat lodge. I hope he gets convicted for these crimes and that enough publicity on this tragedy will prevent other scam artists from following his lead.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:39 AM   #7
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I feel so sad that that many people were allowed into a sweat lodge at once, tooooo many so that there is no possible way to see the outcome. Here there are a max of 12 in at one time otherwise toooooo crowded and no oxygen left to breathe, specially if you stay in for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. With 50 it is intolerable and suffocation alone from lack of air would be possible. This is just about 500,000.00 and not about traditional sweats. Sad for the missuse and betrayal of peoples faith and trust in this case.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:46 AM   #8
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I hope that he is charged for their deaths...he is responsible...greedy wasicu's charging 10,000 for a retreat and at the end a ceremony no less... if not hopefully those families will take him to civil court and make him pay...
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:48 PM   #9
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I think this will end up with some crazy law that will make sweats illegal. Just more encroachment on the lives of our people- brought about by thieves who steal ceremony just to make a buck!
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:09 PM   #10
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I don't know how many of you saw this but this is what makes me sick to my stomach about these new agers or whatever wannabe's...there should be a law that keeps them from stealing our ceremonies and sacred beliefs.
I can't upload it but its on you tube.com as nac testimony #1...about a james flaming eagle? watch it..
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