A SUSPICIOUS DEATH
Seventy miles outside of Phoenix, in the tiny town of Congress, AZ, something strange unfolded inside a home on Coleman Road one night in July.
A 911 dispatcher got a call, “What is your emergency?”
“Greetings. Am I speaking with a living human being?” a woman’s voice asked.
The caller identified herself as “Living Being,” and reported that a guest in the house died. “He passed away while he was here, so we’d like to have someone come and pick up the body,” she told the 911 operator.
It was the body of Joe Fitzpatrick, a 24 year-old Phoenix man whose best friend remembers as a lovable guy.
“I learned a lot from him about being open minded,” Ellen Eichelberger said. He was an activist who fought for the working man, she said.
Before he died, Fitzpatrick had taken a hopeful road trip from Phoenix to Congress to see a healer. He wanted to find a cure for his Type 1 diabetes, according to Eichelberger.
A GRIEVING MOTHER
Sandi Fitzpatrick never had the chance to say goodbye to her youngest son until she saw his body inside a body bag in the front yard of that Congress home.
“I kissed him. I gave him a hug,” she said, “and the only thing that pulled me away from that body is that I knew he wasn’t there anymore."
She said before her son died, he had spent hours on the phone talking about his health with a healer, who called himself Richard or “Living Being.” The ABC15 Investigators found it documented in Joe’s journals.
Fitzpatrick said her son had stopped taking his insulin as part of a detox, but experts say Type 1 diabetics need insulin to survive.
“When he was vomiting three days before, I would say, ‘Joe, I’ve never detoxed, but I don’t think this is right,” she said. “And he would say, ‘Richard says this is normal."
A CONTINUING INVESTIGATION
Firefighter Jason Herschberger was one of the first emergency responders on the scene after dispatchers received that 911 call asking someone to come get Joe’s body.
When he got there, he said, “it was obvious there was nothing we could do."
The people inside the home, he said, were sitting silently on lawn chairs in a circle in the middle of the living room. They didn’t say much, he said, but pointed toward Joe’s lifeless body.
“It wasn’t normal,” Herscherberger said. “They just pointed to the hallway like they had no concern."
According to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, the people inside the house said they had asked Joe if he wanted to see a doctor and he refused.
The sheriff’s investigation is ongoing while they wait for the toxicology and autopsy reports to be completed.
For now, detectives say they have no evidence that the people in the house had anything to do with Joe’s death. They also say none of them called for help until hours after Joe died.
Herschberger said he wondered why no one called for help when they found his body on the floor in the hallway. “You kind of feel for the guy,” Herschberger said.
The ABC15 Investigators tried to ask Richard what happened inside that home that night, but he avoided our camera and didn’t respond to our calls.
For Eichelberger, the issue is clear. “He didn’t go up there thinking he was going to die,” she said. “He went up there looking for help.”
We asked Joe’s mother what she thinks happened up there. Her answer was simple. “I think they let my son die,” she said.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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