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Florida doctor accused of raping sedated patients dies by suicide

Eric Andrews Salata was found dead in a ditch Monday, a week after police arrested him at his Naples cosmetic procedure clinic, where two women claim he raped them while they were sedated.

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

An officer found Eric Andrews Salata, 54, dead in a ditch Monday after authorities got a call for a welfare check about eight hours after his ankle monitor appeared to have 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 Collier County sheriff’s spokesperson said.

Police arrested Salata on 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, Naples police said in a statement on Facebook.

Salata was arrested on two counts of sexual battery to a physically helpless person, and detectives with a warrant searched the clinic for evidence, police said. He was released on $100,000 bond the next 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 including Botox, fillers, fat reduction, vein treatment and other cosmetic procedures — with his wife, according to an online directory of businesses in the area. Salata’s wife was at the office at the time of the arrest, according to the arrest report.

Salata’s wife did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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 he is alleged to have raped her, which she became aware of as she was drifting in and out of consciousness and later remembered when she was fully conscious, it said.

The second victim, age 72, told police Salata raped her on Nov. 21 — the day he was arrested — after he administered laughing gas following a fat-reduction procedure, the arrest report says. That victim told police she "couldn't believe" he had raped her because of her age, the arrest report says.

NBC affiliate WBBH of Fort Myers reported days after Salata's arrest that a third woman had come forward accusing him of rape.

Lt. Bryan McGinn, the Naples police spokesman, would not confirm the number of additional victims who have come forward, but he said the police department has received "numerous reports of suspicious or illegal activity" by Salata.

An attorney for one of the alleged victims told WBBH on Wednesday that they plan to bring a civil lawsuit against Salata's 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.