Police found the body of a former U.S. gymnastics coach who had ties to disgraced doctor Larry Nassar hours after he was criminally charged in Michigan on Thursday.
State police troopers found the body of the man, John Geddert, who died by suicide, in a rest area off an interstate at 3:24 p.m. ET in Grand Ledge, Michigan, said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
The “investigation is ongoing; no further details will be released at this time,” according to a police statement.
Geddert’s attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.
Geddert had agreed to surrender at a sheriff’s office Thursday before a 2:15 p.m. arraignment, but he never showed up, Rossman-McKinney said.
“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Nessel said in a statement.
Geddert, who led the U.S. women’s gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, was charged with 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor resulting in injury, one count of racketeering, two counts of criminal sexual conduct and one count of lying to police, according to a state criminal complaint filed in Eaton County.
In the two criminal sexual conduct counts, Geddert, 63, was accused of “sexual penetration” of a girl under 16 in January 2012, according to the complaint.
“John Geddert used force, fraud and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him,” Nessel told reporters hours before Geddert’s body was found.
“The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and self-harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault,” she said. “Many of these victims still carry these scars from his behavior to this day.”
The charge of lying to police was tied to allegations that Geddert’s knew about Nassar’s crimes.
Several gymnasts publicly accused Nassar of sexually abusing them at Geddert’s Twistars gym in Dimondale, Michigan. Nassar, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 10 minors in a Michigan court in January 2018, is serving up to 175 years in prison and is expected to be behind bars for the rest of his life.
“Mr. Geddert knew that Nassar was sexual abusing these patients and that he failed to take action,” Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said. “And that when he was asked about it by police officers during the 2016 investigation into Nassar, he lied about that.”
The people Geddert was accused of abusing have not been identified.
The 2012 women’s gymnastic squad was led by the “Fierce Five” of Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney, who won gold in the team all-around competition.
Douglas won gold in the individual all-around, while Maroney scored silver in the vault and Raisman won gold in the floor exercise and bronze on the balance beam.
Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse, reacted to the news of Geddert’s death by addressing survivors on Twitter. She urged those who have shared their stories of abuse to “be safe” and know that they are loved.
“To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you,” Denhollander said. “Thank you for telling the truth. What you have done matters.”