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No foul play suspected in death of man believed to be missing doctor

August 31, 2011 |  8:47 am

Body of Newport Beach doctor likely found at Arizona clinic
No foul play is suspected in the death of a man whose body matches the description of a Newport Beach doctor who went missing from an Arizona clinic, authorities said.

The identity of the body has yet to be confirmed, but it matches the description of Dr. Kenneth Litwack, 71, an infectious disease specialist with a practice in Newport Beach, said Elias Johnson of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

Litwack checked himself into the clinic Aug. 12 to be treated for pain related to foot neuropathy, the Daily Pilot reported. He went missing Aug. 16, his wife, Louise Litwack, has said.

The body, which was in advanced stages of decomposition, was discovered by a clinic staff member about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A ballpoint pen and papers were discovered with the body, although the writing was illegible.

The body was found about 20 yards from where Litwack was spending the majority of his time, Johnson said

It appeared that the unidentified man was seeking shelter, possibly from intense heat and rain, and took off his shirt at some point, Johnson said.

No foul play was suspected in the man's death, but authorities have not ruled that out.

"This is catastrophic," said David Sheffner, Litwack's friend of 40 years.

Sheffner said he felt "bewilderment" at hearing the news that a body was discovered and that it could be Litwack's.

"He was one of the most loved and respected physicians in Newport Beach," Sheffner said. "It's just a tragedy, a catastrophe for so many people."

The official search for Litwack halted on Aug. 23, when an investigation of the area yielded no clues to the doctor's disappearance, Johnson told the Daily Pilot last week.


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-- Lauren Williams, Times Community News

Photo: Dr. Kenneth Litwack. Credit: Times Community News