Heaven's Gate 911 call eerily calmApril 18, 1997
Web posted at:7:00 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent Greg Lamotte
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The unnaturally calm voice of former cult member Rio DiAngelo was the first to notify authorities of the mass suicide by members of the Heaven's Gate cult. The tape of that eerie 911 call has now been released to the media.
DiAngelo was also the first to discover the 39 bodies at the "Heaven's Gate" headquarters in Rancho Santa Fe, California, and phone in what he hoped would be an "anonymous tip ... regarding a mass suicide."
"Well, uh, I think there was a religious group that committed suicide," DiAngelo told the emergency dispatcher who answered his call. He went on to describe receiving a notice about the mass suicide via a group mailing. DiAngelo described the scene inside the house where the suicide took place, noting the distribution of the bodies by room.
DiAngelo's name soon surfaced, however. Originally known as Richard Ford, he changed his when he joined the cult. DiAngelo left the group just a month before the suicide.
San Diego County sheriff's deputies did not respond to DiAngelo's call until a follow-up call two hours after the original notification. An investigation is underway to determine why there was no immediate response to DiAngelo's calm voice as heard on 911 tapes.
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