Update 4:03 pm Due to size and parking limitations at the Prescott Sheriff’s Office, the press conference location has been changed to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors Room, 1015 Fair Street in Prescott. The start time is still 10 AM…
Also, here is a link to James Ray's website.
1:30 PM – Just a clarification. The original call regarding this incident came into the YCSO Communications Center from Sedona Fire Dispatch. The call time was 5:26 PM, October 8th. At this time, there is no indication minors were involved in the incident. Verde Valley Medical Center recently released the final patient from their hospital. The condition of those admitted to Flagstaff Medical is not known at this time. A press update from the hospitals is expected today.
More information can be found at ABC 15.
12:45 pm: A press conference regarding the Angel Valley resort incident is scheduled for tomorrow at 10 AM at the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office headquarters in Prescott. The address is 255. E Gurley Street. Phone 928-771-3260. The conference will take place in the main briefing room on the first floor of the building.
This investigation will continue throughout the day, and detectives expect to provide further details about the circumstances and cause by tomorrow’s conference.
Sheriff Steve Waugh and Criminal Investigations Commander David Rhodes will be present to provide the latest update.
Thanks for your patience as the detectives continue their investigation throughout the remainder of the day.
11:30 AM - Detectives have learned that there were 64 people inside the “sweat dome” when some of the participants became ill. A man, identified as James Ray, hosted this particular group and rented the facility from the owners of the Angel Valley retreat center. Some attendees told detectives they paid up to $9000.00 for their stay and participation in the program. James Ray was inside the dome when the medical emergencies occurred. James Ray was interviewed by detectives last night and has left the facility.
A photo of the “sweat dome” is attached and included as part of this release. The dome is located next to an open sided white structure. The dome is covered with blankets and plastic tarps. The investigation will be ongoing throughout the day.
PRELIMINARY INFORMATION - On October 8, 2009, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a reported medical emergency at the Angel Valley Resort located off of Highway 89a at Deer Pass Road, Sedona.
Fire and EMS personnel were in the process of treating and transporting several injured persons from the scene. Deputies learned that those injured had been part of a larger group housed in a “sweatbox” type structure located on the property. The structure is framed in a dome like shape and covered with tarps and blankets. Hot rocks are used with water to create steam in the enclosed environment. Approximately 50 people were inside the dome, up to two hours, when several fell ill. An emergency call from the retreat center was made to fire personnel due to concern about the health of these individuals.
Approximately 21 retreat participants were transported by air and ambulance to area hospitals including the Verde Valley and Flagstaff Medical Center. Last night, two of those transported to the Verde Valley Medical Center were pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The two dead were a middle aged man and woman. Identification is pending notification to family members. At least one other remains in critical condition at VVMC. Updates on the status of other patients will be provided later today.
YCSO Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section arrived on scene last night to begin a death investigation and attempt to ascertain the specific cause of the deaths and injuries. Detectives will remain on scene throughout the day to continue the investigation. As a result, the retreat area is closed to the press and public. Detectives will be consulting with medical examiners and other health officials as the investigation moves forward. Detectives, as of last night, have been interviewing the retreat director, staff and participants regarding the incident. Detectives are also obtaining a search warrant to check for additional evidence within various buildings at the site. Detectives are attempting to determine if there are any criminal actions that may have been a factor in the injuries and deaths.
Updates to follow…………The retreat website is www.angelvalley.org