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Suicide Linked to Heaven's Gate

February 21, 1998|Associated Press

EHRENBERG, Ariz. — A former Heaven's Gate cultist, dressed like the 39 cult members who killed themselves in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., last year, has been found dead in the Arizona desert in an apparent suicide.

Alerted by his daughter, who had received a note from him, authorities found the body of Charles Edward Humphrey, 55, Tuesday in a small tent near Ehrenberg, just across the Colorado River from Blythe, Calif., said Lt. Don Davis of the La Paz County Sheriff's Department.

Humphrey's head was sealed in a plastic bag with pipes running to a car's exhaust pipe and a tank marked "carbon dioxide," Davis said. Next to his body was a purple shroud, an item found with the other cult members March 26.

Humphrey was wearing black sweatpants and a black T-shirt with a patch on the sleeve that read "Heaven's Gate Away Team," Davis said. Humphrey carried a $5 bill and five quarters, Davis said, similar to the money Heaven's Gate members had on them in the mass suicide.

The cultists committed suicide with drugs and alcohol in their systems and plastic bags over their heads.

Humphrey had failed in a previous suicide attempt.

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