Third sweat lodge ceremony death

A woman who was hospitalised with damage to multiple organs after she was overcome in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony has died, sheriff’s officials said. The death of 49-year-old Liz Neuman on Saturday brings the total number of deaths from the October 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. Neuman, of Minnesota, 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, and James Shore, 40, died upon arrival at a hospital.

Ray had rented the Angel Valley Retreat Centre for his five-day “Spiritual Warrior” event that culminated in the sweat lodge ceremony. Participants paid between $US9,000 and $US10,000 to attend the retreat near Sedona, a resort town 185 kilometres north of Phoenix that draws many in the New Age spiritual movement.

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