Florida doctor accused of raping sedated patients dies by suicide

A Florida doctor accused of raping his sedated patients was found dead on Monday in what has been ruled a suicide, officials said.

An officer found Eric Andrews Salata, 54, dead in a ditch on Monday after receiving a call for a welfare check about eight hours after his ankle monitor had apparently been switched off, according to the incident report, which adds that a gun was found near his body.

The Medical Examiner ruled the death a suicide, a spokesperson for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said.

Police arrested Salata Nov. 21 at his clinic, the now-shuttered Pura Vida Medical Spa in Naples, after two women alleged he raped them while they received cosmetic medical treatments under sedation at the spa, according to a statement the Naples Police Department released on Facebook.

Salata was arrested on two counts of sexual battery to a physically helpless person, and detectives executed a search warrant on the clinic in search of evidence, according to police. He was released on $100,000 bond the following day, and ordered to surrender his passport and wear a GPS monitor until his arraignment, which was set for Dec. 19, according to jail and court records.

Salata operated the spa — which offered cosmetic procedures including botox, fillers, fat reduction and vein treatment — with his wife, according to an online directory of businesses in the area. Salata’s wife was present at the office at the time of the arrest, according to the arrest report.

Salata’s wife did not immediately return requests for comment.

Both the spa’s website and its Facebook page were inaccessible Thursday.

One of the victims, age 51, told police Salata raped her on Oct. 24 when he was supposed to be administering a skin tightening procedure, according to the arrest report. Salata prescribed her an anti-anxiety drug before the procedure, which he described to her as “excruciatingly painful.” He also gave her laughing gas and a clear liquid that she believed was tequila during the procedure and before raping her, which she became aware of while drifting in and out of consciousness and later remembered when she was fully conscious.

The second victim, age 72, told police Salata raped her on Nov. 21 — the same day of his arrest — after administering laughing gas following a fat reduction procedure, the arrest report states. That victim told police she “couldn’t believe” he had raped her because of her age, the arrest report states.

NBC affiliate WBBH of Florida reported days following Salata’s arrest that a third woman had come forward accusing him of rape.

Lt. Bryan McGinn, public information officer for the Naples Police Department, would not confirm the number of additional victims who have come forward to NBC News, but said the department has received “numerous reports of suspicious or illegal activity” perpetrated by Salata.

An attorney for one of the alleged victims told WBBH on Wednesday that they plan to bring a civil lawsuit against his estate and that they expect the number of victims to skyrocket following Salata’s death.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

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