Death in a Sweat Lodge in Sedona…Three Years Later

the story of sedona


Is it possible that the day that changed my life occurred three years ago? Those who seek to expand their lives need credible resources that are scientifically proven to be effective, not a charismatic speaker who reveals himself to be a fraud, unable to live his own teachings. On Thursday, October 8, 2009, my daughter, Kirby Anne Brown was grasping for breath on the dirt floor of a sweat lodge built for James Ray’s Spiritual Warrior Retreat at Angel Valley in Sedona, Arizona. Kirby died that day, determined to play “full on”, to expand her personal and spiritual horizons, push beyond her “comfort zone”, believing in a leader who did not have the proper training to conduct such an event and who lacked the moral ability to protect those who entrusted themselves to him. James Shore died that day, pleading for help for himself and Kirby only to be ignored.  He had gone back into the lodge to save Kirby after dragging another unconscious participant past Ray, who sat at the door controlling when the flap would be opened or closed. Liz Newman would die 9 days later in the hospital, never recovering consciousness.  Others would sustain permanent injury. 2010 was the year we waited for James Ray to be held accountable for his actions.  The grand jury indicted him in February, 2010, but after pleading poverty to reduce the bail amount, he was soon released.  The self-proclaimed guru millionaire was suddenly without means. 2011, the trial began in February and ended a week before Thanksgiving.  We went to Arizona 5 times.  A majority of the trial was on Court TV.  We would hear in excruciating detail the last hour of Kirby’s life from numerous participants, who were also compromised mentally, physically and emotionally from the events of the 5 day spiritual warrior retreat and the concluding sweat lodge ceremony. Now three years later, we have established SEEK and this educational website. Three years later and doing nothing and just “moving on” feels like acceptance of the unacceptable.  While we will not allow our sadness and anger to prevent us from living with gratitude and joy, it is still unbelievable and it still hurts, every day. Since they are no longer here, we are dedicated to being the voices of KIRBY, JAMES and LIZ…WE will tell their story to save the lives of others who may be taken in by a charismatic speaker, skilled in manipulation tactics, and comfortable with deception.

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