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Silver Lake 'walking man' was under investigation in overdose

Sole matesMarc Abrams, the Silver Lake physician known as the "walking man" who was found dead in his hot tub earlier this week, was under criminal investigation in connection with his treatment of a 25-year-old patient who overdosed on prescription drugs, according to several law enforcement sources.

Authorities investigating Abrams -- well known in Silver Lake for his brisk and shirtless walks around the reservoir -- conducted a series of undercover operations in which officers posing as patients were able to obtain powerful prescription drugs based on obviously questionable notes signed with names including "Dr. Kevorkian," "Dr. Pepper" and "Dr. Dre," according to a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Abrams kept nighttime office hours and "catered to nothing but addicts," the official added.

Authorities served a search warrant on Abrams' office in North Hollywood last year, but the affidavit detailing the probable cause for the search was filed under seal. Investigators seized patient files, among other records, according to law enforcement officials.


The case was presented to the district attorney for potential prosecution, one official said, but no charges had been filed against Abrams at the time of his death, which is being investigated as a potential suicide, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

A lawyer for Abrams said he was "a fine physician with an impeccable record" who had done nothing wrong. The lawyer, Michael A. Zuk, said he had no knowledge of any criminal investigation and had not been contacted by or spoken to any law enforcement agency on Abrams' behalf.

Abrams "was a very popular figure -- not some sleazy, shady doctor who was giving away scrips on the corner," Zuk said. "He was a beloved figure in the community."

The investigation began in the wake of the October 2008 death of a patient named Joseph Garcia, who died of an overdose of the painkiller Oxycontin, sometimes referred to as synthetic heroin. Other drugs also were found in his system. There is a thriving black market for such drugs, particularly among young adults, according to law enforcement officials.

Garcia's mother, Lori, filed a wrongful-death claim against the doctor last year, alleging that he was professionally negligent in prescribing drugs that resulted in the overdose. Garcia could not be reached for comment, but her lawyer, Robert Gibson, said law enforcement officials from "multiple" agencies had contacted her about the criminal investigation surrounding her son's death.

Read the full story here.

-- Scott Glover and Lisa Girion

Photo: Marc Abrams walks past a mural bearing his likeness on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake on May 6. Abrams would walk 20 to 30 miles a day, often reading a newspaper. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times Audio slide show

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Comments () | Archives (35)

lol Dr. Dre, Dr. Pepper? Hilarious. The Silver Lake Walking Man was a damn drug dealer. He killed himself when he knew the gig was up. What a fraud.

So...I wonder if the school that painted the drug-dealing doctor on the side of their playground will paint over it....likely not...actually there are two painting of him..one near Casbarf...and one on an elementary school....knowing Los Angeles, they'll probably erect a statue to him..."so hip"

Do we know if it was a suicide?

If people want to overdose on ANYTHING that is their choice...Leave it be!

Hmmm, sounds like Garcia's grieving family lashed out at the easiest target. Even if the doctor did prescribe the pills that killed him, I doubt the doctor forced a lethal dose down his throat. RIP Dr. Abrams, my memories of upi shall remain untarnished.

Why is it the Times constantly chooses to publish obituaries of souls such as Dr. Abrams? Two weeks ago it was some Unitarian 'minister' who had Kesey's bus tour camp out at his wigwam in Northridge.

The noting of 'Doctor' Abrams who walked 20+ miles a day never seemed to pass the 'smell' test on source of income. He allegedly had sold his medical practice right? I guess now the 'real' Dr. Feelgood is shown for what he really was.

I wish the Times sanctioned obituaries would recognize people who actually have given something to the rest of us instead of their constant 'de rigeur' homage to a worthless ilk such as this.

Assuming that he ignored recognizable signatures such as "Dr. Dre", keeping nighttime hours, and dispensing powerful drug to questionable "patients", there is a strong likelihood that "guilt and fear" motivated Marc Abram's suicide.

It's wrong to illegally give out drugs , but seriously as an adult if you are dumb enough to abuse drugs, don't blame others for your stupidity.

Great drag the guys name through the mud after his death.
The mother is obviously only after money if she cared about her scum bag drug addict son she would have been there to prevent his death.
This story only illustrates the sort of vultures out there , a so called mother picking the bones of her progeny's death ect, ect, ect .

BWAAHAAA! A drug addict abuses his prescription and his mommy wants to sue? How very 21st century!

I knew there was more to this story.
Have a great weekend..

While most of us grow up with images of all doctors as noble humanitarians ,
We need to realize that some of them are humans of less than noble character .
While many are honorable , some just had the academic ability to get through med school then milk it for whatever they could get .

I used to have a house in Silver Lake for fifteen years during the eighties and nineties. Often, when I would be driving back and forth from work. There he was, walking at his normal brisk pase with paper in hand. Not once did I ever see him look-up.After time,I dismissed him as a excentrict. Then one day,I was having a cup of coffee with my neighbor.He told me that he that the walking man was a doctor. WHAT!? I said.What kind of person would go to a guy like that? How could you get a hold of him for a one on one talk? After reading articles about Dr.Abrams,it turned out to be true.But still,who would go to a person like that?How could a anyone work after just walking thirty miles? If it were me,I would be CRAWLING to my office.

someone at the LA Times must feel pretty silly after glorifying this guy just a few weeks ago in that silly story.

This latest article about 'the walking man' describes him as known for walking around the reservoir shirtless every day. Hardly an apt description. The man walked through at least three neighborhoods for hours a day every day. I would pass him at 11AM, then again at 1PM, still walking, then see him again at, say, 3PM, miles away, still walking, still reading the same newspaper. This was not simply someone exercising, it was a man with a compulsion (compulsive disorder perhaps). Though a quirky fixture (which is always fun in a neighborhood), he also seemed mentally unstable.

Should the investigation prove his innocence how big will the article be?

When I read that he walked 14 miles a day----my first thought was---how does he have time to do that everyday and be a fulltime doctor, too?

It's sad to see how many people who have posted here lack the ability to think critically. How easily you swill down the pablum thrown at you and throw this guy under the bus. How many times have the police and the media had it wrong in big ways? Ever heard of the concept, innocent until proven guilty? You guys are truly pathetic. It's frightening to think you walk among us.

RIP Dr. Abrams.

Ohhhh...I get it now. Somebody's son abuses his precription signed by a guy named Dr.Pepper. Then Momie calls a "Whip-Flash-Willy". Willy files papers and tells Momie that all they have to do now, is sit and wait for a judgement. Meanwhile, Momie applies for credit at Macys,Be-Bees etc. for present and future family who will be comming out of the "wood-work". Hold on to your horses mom! Why not get the city involved, go to work on this case and see if all of us, can get a piece of the action? This way, we can start to keep our pools and parks opened? Sound good?

OK, lots of questions remain unanswered. And if the man is exonerated in death, one does wonder whether the story will get equal play. Meanwhile, this sounds a bit vague to me: "were able to obtain powerful prescription drugs based on obviously questionable notes signed with names including "Dr. Kevorkian," "Dr. Pepper" and "Dr. Dre," according to a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case." "notes?" Don't prescriptions for certain drugs have to be written in triplicate on pre-printed forms? What was "questionable"? "Obvious" to whom? Did a pharmacist fill an "obviously questionable prescription"? Did the reporter ask these questions? If it turns out all this is true, then that perhaps explains how this guy was out at all hours of the day walking my neighborhood. I await further facts. Then I'll make up my mind as to whether he was the simple eccentric he was portrayed as, or a sleazy doctor enabling addicts.

I think Garcia's mother has as much right to sue as Michael Jackson's family has. Nobody shoved those drugs down Jackson's throat either. My feelings about Abrams have shifted from seeing an extremely dedicated exerciser whom I admired greatly, especially when I heard he was a doctor, to seeing him as a greatly disturbed and sad soul. Yelp has reviews of him going back years and most of the comments there are not very favorable. He is constantly described as a doctor feel-good who gave you whatever you asked for. Now I understand better why he had the energy to work, he simply showed up and wrote scripts. The moral for us here is never judge people's insides from what you see on the outside.

Mark was probably the person i have ever known. He was a loving and caring person who would never do or assist anyone to cause harm to anyone or to themselves. I am very lucky,privileged and proud to know him and to call him my friend!!!

California, the land of scams.

Lori Garcia is not the reason for Dr. Abrams death, she is a mother with a social conscience. She believes that if she steps out of her grief and brings sanctions against the medical practitioner who prescribed the drugs that led to her son's death, other mothers won't have to experience the same pain. Joey Garcia wasn't always addicted to drugs, Joey was a great kid, full of energy, an athlete, a friend, a brother and a son. His mom was the quintessential soccer mom who was involved in the community. It is unfair and cruel to characterize her as a grieving mother who was "going after" the doctor for personal gain. For those who feel compelled to make disparaging remarks please know that she continues to grieve the loss of her son Joey while fighting her own battle with cancer.

It seems that every story has to have a conspiracy theory attached. Perhaps he was working for the CIA? Silverlakes answer to Rick Ross?

 
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