Marathoner Frank Meza found dead in river after being disqualified for cheating
A 70-year-old retired physician who was accused of cheating in the Los Angeles Marathon was found dead in a river, police and relatives said.
The body of Frank Meza, who was disqualified Monday after video showed he left the course in March during his record-setting time of 2:53:10, was found in the Los Angeles River by Los Angeles police at about 10 a.m., KABC reports. Meza insisted he did not cheat.
A cause of death had not yet been determined, but officials told the station that drowning is not suspected.
Meza’s wife, Tina, told The Daily Beast he had been rocked by allegations that he cheated in March and during several previous marathons by cutting courses. He had repeatedly denied the accusations, telling the Los Angeles Times he left the Los Angeles Marathon to look for a bathroom and used a sidewalk for some time during his search before returning to the course.
“Running was very important to my husband,” Tina Meza told the website. “He had been running marathons for the last 30 or 40 years. He was very fast, quite fast, and now unfortunately he won’t run marathons anymore.”
Meza told his wife early Thursday that he was headed out for a run, she said.
“I said, ‘It will be good for you,’ and he said, ‘I’ll see you later,’” Tina Meza recalled.
But Meza never returned and his body was found later that morning in the river near the city’s Cypress Park section.
“That’s all we know,” she said.
A message seeking comment from Los Angeles police was not immediately returned early Friday.
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