LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police in Kentucky have arrested a man who they say walked into the office of his wife’s naturopathic caregiver and shot him dead.
Omer Ahmetovic of Bowling Green has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and was being held in the local jail Friday. The citation for his arrest on Wednesday did not describe a motive. His lawyer didn’t return phone calls. But a lawsuit filed in January by Ahmetovic and his wife, Fikreta Ibrisevic, lays out a series of grievances against the caregiver, Juan Gonzalez.
The lawsuit says the Bosnian refugee couple met Gonzalez in early 2016, after Ibrisevic was diagnosed with a form of soft-tissue cancer. The couple looked into natural therapies while waiting to be scheduled for traditional cancer treatments.
They said Gonzalez told them that “chemotherapy is for losers,” and guaranteed he could cure her within three months.
Instead, despite spending $7,000 on herbal treatments and visits with Gonzalez, who gave her dietary instructions and massages and soaked her feet, she developed even more tumors, according to the lawsuit, which sought compensatory and punitive damages.
As the couple saw Gonzalez from January through May last year, what began as one tumor turned into seven. The original tumor grew so large it could be seen outside her body, while her eyes turned yellow and her legs became swollen, the lawsuit said.
The suit said the couple consulted other experts who said Gonzalez had administered so many herbs that Ibrisevic had a toxic reaction. She belatedly underwent chemotherapy, but it couldn’t save her.
Gonzalez “systematically preyed upon the plight of the plaintiffs and told Fikreta and Omer a series of misrepresentations and concealments,” the lawsuit said. As Bosnian refugees, they were “more vulnerable to being misled,” the suit said.
Gonzalez’ attorney filed a motion in early February asking that the lawsuit be dismissed. Weeks later, Ibrisevic died, leaving behind her husband and their two children.
And days after that, Ahmetovic, 35, went to Gonzalez’s clinic and shot him, Bowling Green police said.
No one answered the phone Friday at the clinic. The Natural Health Center for Integrative Medicine said on its webpage that “we have lost to a senseless crime, a loving soul.”
Gonzalez, 59, was remembered for his “sincere passion for helping people,” chiropractor Michael Elkins told the Daily News of Bowling Green. Elkins said his friend “demonstrated selflessness in his endeavor to lead people to a healthier lifestyle.”
The couple’s attorney in the civil matter declined comment Friday.