Justice for Colleen Conaway
James Ray’s Earlier Victim
Star of The Secret and motivational speaker James Arthur Ray is facing three charges of manslaughter for the deaths he caused in a fake sweat lodge in Arizona in October 2009. Barely three months earlier he caused another death, which he and his staff successfully concealed from police, participants and even other members of their own staff.
The San Diego Police closed the investigation into the death of Colleen Conaway on July 25 2009. She was attending a James Ray seminar called Creating Absolute Wealth at the time of her death. Ray uses extreme and abusive techniques for psychological manipulation including sleep deprivation, public humiliation and activities to provoke fear of death. This is supposed to push people into extreme psychological states. I can’t help but wonder if this induced a psychosis in Ray’s trusting, unsuspecting client, Ms Conaway. Whatever the case, there were no safety precautions and no awareness of the possible dangers on the part of Ray and his staff.
During a role play where participants dressed and acted as homeless people in public, Ms Conaway climbed over a railing and fell to her death. Her fall was witnessed by JRI staff member Greg Hartle – who immediately twittered about it, apparently not initially realising it was a person from his group. Ms Conaway’s body was abandoned and her death concealed from the other participants.
The police were also obvioulsy kept in the dark about the nature of the seminar. The police closed the investigation without realising that evidence had been fabricated, concealed, or secretly destroyed.
Sickeningly, Ray’s staff left messages on Colleen’s cellphone, pretending to be concerned and looking for her; despite knowing perfectly well she had died seven hours earlier, despite having even confirmed her death, and despite having personally collected her cellphone earlier that day. The cell phone was then sent back to her family.
(Uploaded by Salty Droid)
Even more sickeningly, Ray’s staff coolly managed all this while enjoying the end of group party. They were ducking out in between times, to make phone calls to mall security, police and the San Diego Medical Center where Colleen’s body was being stored. (Colleen’s body had been admitted as “Jane Doe”, just like Liz Neuman was two months later after Ray’s next group ended in three more deaths.)
Salty Droid posted photos from the party, showing staff members partying as if they don’t have a care in the world. Or like they are crazed and manic, drunk on the “high energy” of having been so close to a death. I repost them here.
Megan Fredrickson, partying hard despite knowing a participant is dead. (She also attended the sweat lodge where 3 people died. She spent that night hiding in a bookshop from police investigators instead of helping emergency medics with personal details of the participants.)
Greg Hartle witnessed Colleen’s death, twittered about it, and then went and ate lunch with Ray. Here he is with his work colleagues enjoying the party. (The blood on his hands is courtesy of Salty Droid.)
Other staff members were clearly also involved in the cover up. It was also concealed from other staff members, some of whom quit and immediately notified the authorities when they finally learned of it.
Despite three further deaths, twenty hospitalizations and reports of dozens of earlier serious injuries and extreme risk-taking in “self-help seminars” led by James Arthur Ray, the San Diego Police stated that the investigation into Ms Conaway’s death would not be reopened unless new evidence came to light.
There is new evidence – as well as plenty of old evidence they initially didn’t recognize for what it was.
More details in my letter to San Diego Police, reproduced here in an earlier post.
The SD police are reluctant to look into this, but there are other options for anyone with first hand information about this.
James Ray and his staff should be charged with negligent homicide for the death of Colleen Conaway.
Here is the short video James Ray made to promote this event. It has been satirically improved with ethical and technical assistance from The Salty Droid.
UPDATE: A member of Colleen’s immediate family has left a comment on Salty Droid’s blog, outlining the entire story. She spells out in some detail exactly what happened and exactly how much James Ray and his staff knew. Ray is lucky the jury in his current trial for the tree consequent deaths will not be hearing about this.
UPDATE: James Ray was served with a civil lawsuit for wrongful death by Colleen Conaway’s family. This took place in the courthouse during his sentencing hearing on 10 November 2011.
See also my other posts: