Family, friends mourn victim of Arizona sweat lodge

Minnesota Public Radio/October 19, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. - Family and friends are mourning a Prior Lake woman who was one of three people who died after attending an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony on Oct. 8 led by a self-help author.

Family spokesman and attorney Louis Diesel said the death of Liz Neuman was "entirely preventable." He says the family is considering filing a lawsuit once their investigation into Neuman's death is complete.

Family and friends knew Neuman, 49, as active and health conscious. In a statement, her family said "She was loved and will be missed by many."

Neuman suffered multiple organ damage and was in a coma before she died Saturday at a Flagstaff, Arizona hospital. She was among dozens of people who crowded into a sweat lodge at a Sedona resort, as part of a retreat hosted by author James Arthur Ray.

Arizona Sheriff's investigators are treating the death as a homicide. A spokesman for Ray declined to comment. On his Facebook page, Ray wrote he that is deeply saddened by Neuman's death.

Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, also died upon arrival at a hospital. 21 people were taken to area hospitals with illnesses ranging from dehydration to kidney failure. No one else remains hospitalized.

Funeral arrangements are pending for Neuman, who is survived by her three adult children, her mother, and her brother and sister.

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