Authorities Treating All Three Sweat Lodge Deaths As Homicides

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A third person who fell ill at a sweat lodge at an Arizona self-help retreat has died.

A sheriff's spokesman says 49-year-old Liz Neuman of Minnesota died yesterday, more than a week after she'd been overcome in the crowded lodge.

She had been taken to a hospital Oct. 8 with damage to multiple organs.

More than 50 people has been inside the lodge at a resort run by self-help guru James Arthur Ray.

Twenty-one people were taken to hospitals with illnesses ranging from dehydration to kidney failure.

Two people died upon arrival at the hospital. No one else remains hospitalized.

Authorities in Arizona are treating all three deaths as homicides, but no charges have been filed.

Investigators are trying to determine if criminal negligence played a role in the deaths or illnesses.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Oct 23, 2009 at 06:08 AM
    As a traditional Native Im horrified. I see pics of an improperly built & run disaster. PLASTIC TARPS, SERIOUSLY? Two hrs starting w/ 5 gal. water dumped on the rocks at once w/ beginners. EIGHT rounds?? It's suppposed to be 4 - FOUR! It's disrespect greed = culpability. That lodge is wrong all wrong & of COURSE ppl died & I hope they convict incompetent Ray. I wont even go into the fact that it was obviously mixed gender - NOT traditionally correct - & boy he thot he was special with 60 ppl in there I guess! The only self-help here was helping himself to their earnings ($10K ea.). This is an unnecessary tragedy created by one preying on culturally uneducated, spirit-hungry ppl seeking easy access to life answers. This is not a path u can walk by making your own version of it w/out consequences. It is a "leave it to the pros" ceremony - in other words, traditional, appointed, Medicine-trained Native Americans. These cattle-call misrepresentations of our sacred rites need to stop.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 18, 2009 at 02:34 PM
    What in the world is a sweat lodge?! Sounds like its run by a terrorist.
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