Sweat lodge probe includes hundreds of interviews

AP News
Posted: Nov 09, 2009 6:51 PM

An investigation into the deaths of three people who were overcome at a sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona is expected to be forwarded to prosecutors next month.

Until then, Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh says his office will have no further comment.

Authorities are treating the deaths as homicides and say self-help guru James Arthur Ray is the primary focus of their probe. Others also are being investigated.

Ray led the sweat lodge ceremony on Oct. 8 as part of his five-day "Spiritual Warrior" retreat near Sedona. Ray says he's hired his own investigative team to determine what went wrong.

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Waugh says investigators are working diligently on hundreds of interviews with people who were involved in the retreat or any of Ray's past events.