Third Sweat-Lodge Victim Dies

Minnesota woman was longtime follower of self-help guru
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 18, 2009 6:01 AM CDT
Third Sweat-Lodge Victim Dies
This Sept. 2007 picture picture provided by Rev. Meredith Ann Murray shows her with James Arthur Ray at the Spiritual Warrior Course at Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona, Ariz.   ((AP Photo/Courtesy of Meredith Ann Murray))

(Newser) – A Minnesota woman became the third fatality yesterday in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony that hospitalized nearly two dozen people. Liz Neuman, 49, died at a Flagstaff hospital after suffering multiple organ damage during the Oct. 8 ceremony at a resort near Sedona. Authorities were treating all three deaths as homicides, but no charges have been filed.

Neuman was among more than 50 people crowded inside the sweat lodge run by self-help guru James Arthur Ray that ended with 21 people being hospitalized with illnesses ranging from dehydration to kidney failure. Authorities haven't determined what caused the deaths. One of Ray's longtime followers said Neuman was among Ray's earliest followers and had attended dozens of his events. Participants paid between $9,000 and $10,000 to attend Ray's five-day "Spiritual Warrior" event. (Read more sweat lodge stories.)

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