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Retired Tempe detective dies from West Nile virus

Posted at 9:53 AM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 21:20:55-04

TEMPE, AZ — The Tempe Police Department has announced the passing of a retired police detective.

Detective Nathan Ryberg passed away after contracting the West Nile virus.

RELATED: Preventing West Nile virus following a wet 2021 monsoon

According to a GoFundMe account, he was in a medically induced coma since September 11 while fighting the virus and Encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain.

He and his wife of 37 years Lori were remarkable people.

Throughout their marriage they fostered more than 30 children and adopted seven of them, all with special needs.

In 2016, ABC15 interviewed the Ryberg family who at the time was a family of 15.

Of their seven adopted children, three of them have Spina Bifida, three have Down Syndrome, one has Cerebral Palsy. An eighth child was born 24 weeks early.

Several Tempe police officers and detectives organized fundraisers and set up a GoFundMe page to help the Rybergs raise money for a new mode of transportation with wheelchair ramps. Thanks to the community they received over $75,000 and was able to purchase a 15 passenger van with a wheelchair accessible lift.

Health officials in Arizona are warning residents of a record high season for the West Nile virus following the wetter monsoon.

RELATED: Scottsdale man dies after suffering from West Nile virus

As of last week the state has seen 123 cases and four deaths due to the virus, which transmits through mosquito bites, according to ADHS.

The elderly community and those with weakened immune systems are more prone to neuroinvasive diseases that can be fatal when infected with West Nile, while most others who are infected don’t usually show symptoms.