Sedona Tragedy: Facts and Timeline

  • Spiritual Warrior experience
  • October 4-8 at Angel Valley Retreat Center, Sedona, AZ
  • $9695 per person


  • James Arthur Ray, 51, of Carlsbad, CA
  • personal success strategist
  • author of Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want
  • featured in the film, The Secret


  • Thursday, Oct. 8, of the 55-65 participants, three killed and 19 hospitalized following two hours in a makeshift “sweat dome”
  • Homicide investigation underway by Yavapai County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office after determining the deaths were not accidental


  • Liz Neuman, 49, Prior Lake, MN
  • Kirby Brown, 38, Westtown, NY
  • James Shore, 40, Milwaukee, WI

About Liz Neuman:

  • 1978 graduate of Prior Lake High School
  • Mother of three children
  • One of James Ray’s earliest followers
  • Led James Ray’s “Journey Expansion Team” for Minneapolis area to meet and exchange ideas on Ray’s principles
  • Coordinated James Ray events in the Twin Cities
  • Enjoyed cooking, gardening, hiking, star gazing, bonfires, reading, listening and studying personal development material
  • Favorite quotation: “You must constantly study, understand and immerse yourself in that which brings you power, and avoid all that weakens you.” – James Arthur Ray

Prior to “sweat dome” experience:

  • Participants do 36-hour “vision quest” fast without food or water
  • Breakfast buffet morning of the tragedy
  • Entered “sweat dome” at 3 p.m.

“Sweat dome” construction:

  • 415 square feet
  • 53 inches high in the center
  • 30 inches high on the edge
  • Wood frame
  • Covered by plastic tarps and blankets

Typical sweat lodge construction:

  • Willow branches tied together
  • Covered with canvas or other natural materials
  • Large enough for no more than 12 people

Reaction by James Ray:

  • On his website blog: “I am shocked and saddened by the tragedy that occurred at Spiritual Warrior in Sedona, (AZ) Thursday evening. I wish to express my deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives, as well as offer my prayers for a speedy recovery for those who were taken ill.”
  • Five days later at seminar in Marina del Rey CA: “This is the most difficult time I’ve ever faced. I don’t know how to deal with it, really.”
  • Hired his own investigation team

Prior sweat lodge tragedies:

  • One person found unconscious during James Ray event in October 2005 at same Sedona location.
  • At least seven deaths since 1993 in United States, England and Australia

Sources: Facebook, Huffington Post, New York Times, The Arizona Republic,

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