Spiritual healer could face charges in man's death

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

CONGRESS, Ariz. -- Since Sandi Fitzpatrick’s son died in July, she’s been asking herself one question.

“What was going on in that house that they couldn't call 911 that they waited so long,” questioned Sandi.
Joe Fitzpatrick, 24, went to visit a spiritual healer in Congress northwest of Phoenix to help cure his type 1 diabetes.

According to Sandi, her son had been talking to the healer over the phone for a few weeks before meeting him in person.

“Joe had stopped taking his insulin on the advice of this healer,” said Sandi.

Sandi got a phone call from a woman in July saying her son died around noon.

Then the woman asked where Sandi wanted her son's body delivered.

“At this point I felt like reality was setting in. I told her I couldn't talk to her anymore and called my older son and told him about this weird phone call,” said Sandi.

The concerned mother said she got the call around 6:00pm.

Nearly 4 hours later another woman called 911 to report Fitzpatrick's death.

The caller told the 911 operator her name was “living being.”

Sandi also found in her son’s journal notes about some donations he made to the “living beings.”

Sandi wished the healers had called 911 as soon as they found her son on floor.

“It’s feasible he went into a diabetic a coma and at that point if they would have called 911 he might be alive today,” said Sandi.

Fitzpatrick’s friend, Ellen Eichelberger, was planning on seeing her friend when he got back from Congress.

“It seemed they were trying to dispose of a body any way that didn't involve authorities,” said Eichelberger.

According to the state's Attorney General, Tom Horne, it's a crime not to report a dead body right away.

“There is a statute that says you’re obliged promptly to contact a peace officer or sheriff's office  to report any death,” said Horne.

“There was notification to law enforcement from those inside the Congress home after Joe’s death, but the County Attorney will need to make a determination regarding the 'promptness' issue based on review of the statue and case law," said Dwight D’Evelyn, spokesperson with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators are now waiting on the medical examiner's autopsy report for an estimated time of death to compare with the time the 911 call was made.

“We appreciate and understand the family wanting to see justice in this matter and if it is determined there is a crime, we will pursue charges," said D’Evelyn.

Eichelberger said her friend didn't want to die.

“In his last note he says I'll be back before Thursday.  He was seeking a healer because he wanted to live without diabetes. He wanted to live,” said Eichelberger.

YCSO hasn’t released the names of the people inside the home where Fitzpatrick died.

Officials said two people inside the home have prior run-ins with the law.

No one has been charged in this case.