A doctor who allegedly took advantage of two drugged patients has died, spokespeople for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office tells Law&Crime. The incident report describes Eric Andrew Salata, 54, as having been shot in the head. A pistol was found next to his leg.
Authorities did not immediately announce a manner of death.
“At this time the death does not appear to be suspicious,” spokesperson Karie Partington told Law&Crime in an email.
Salata bonded out of the local jail as recently as Tuesday, Nov. 22 after he was accused of abusing two patients at the Pura Vida Medical Spa. The suspect’s purported M.O. was to sexually assault victims after drugging patients who had come to him for legitimate procedures. He even gave one woman what she believed to be tequila, cops said.
Accordingly, he faced two counts of sexual battery by a person 18 years old or older on a victim 18 years old or older.
A deputy was dispatched for a welfare check at 6:17 p.m. on Monday, according to the partially redacted incident report. Salata’s ankle monitor had not detected movement since approximately 10:18 a.m., deputies said.
A woman who spoke to the deputy said that Salata left two notes at his home. Authorities redacted the contents.
“I conducted a search of the area and observed a bottom of a boot sticking up out of a wooded area near the location above,” the report stated. “I continued to investigate and observed Eric laying in a ditch with a gunshot wound to the right side of his head and an exit wound on the left side of his head.”
A pistol was lying next to Salata’s right leg, the investigator wrote. Salata, whose wrist was cold to the touch, had appeared to be “freshly deceased with no signs of decay.”
Both women made their allegations separately against the doctor.
The first woman, a 51-year-old, said she went to the Spa on Oct. 22.
“Victim 1 reported that she was raped by Dr. Eric Salata during her procedure,” police wrote.
Salata allegedly prescribed her the depressant Alprazolam the day before her appointment and told her to take it when she arrived for her procedure. He warned her the procedure was “excruciatingly painful and would take three to four hours,” officers said. The woman said she took the drug, as ordered. Dr. Salata was the only person in the room for her procedure. He administered laughing gas for her pain, she said in the arrest affidavit. It and the Alprazolam made it so “she wasn’t in her right mind.”
Salata allegedly grabbed the woman’s private area and and shook it “with force.” He let go when she asked if he was touching her vagina, according to the affidavit.
“Victim 1 stated she used more laughing gas because she was in so much pain,” cops said. “Victim 1 stated Dr. Salata told her he had experienced the procedure too and knows how painful it is, and he drinks whisk[e]y to help with the pain.”
She said she did not drink whiskey, and Salata offered her tequila, officers said.
“Dr. Salata provided Victim 1 with an unknown clear liquid that she believed to be tequila, and she drank it,” officers said.
The woman said she “blacked out,” but the next things she remembered were separate moments in which Salata was sexually assaulting and then raping her.
The other woman, a 71-year-old, told a similar story. According to cops, she said she went to an appointment on Nov. 21. As in the other case, Salata allegedly offered her laughing gas for her pain. She agreed to take it.
“Victim 2 felt like Dr. Salata was ‘cranking that up,'” police said in reference to the laughing gas.
The incident allegedly escalated to Salata raping her, leaving a bruise on her lip where he kissed her.
“Victim 2 stated she couldn’t believe it because she was almost 73,” cops said.
Both women took a rape kit, officers said.
[Mugshot via Naples Police Department]
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