Questions surround death of Naples doctor accused of rape

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:

Dr. Eric Salata, a Naples doctor accused of raping patients, was on house arrest when the Collier County Sheriff’s Office went to check on him.

The reason for the welfare check? His ankle monitor showed no movement for eight hours.

Deputies found him dead of a gunshot wound to the head and have said it is not under suspicious circumstances.

Salata was never ordered to give up his weapons after his arrest.

He paid his $200,000 bond, was sent home with an ankle monitor and just a week after his arrest, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said he died by suicide. He was arrested more than a week ago after at least two patients said he raped them during cosmetic procedures at the Pura Vida Medical Spa on 5th Avenue South in Naples.

Pura Vida Medical Spa
Credit: WINK News

The suicide was preventable, according to one lawyer close to the case.

Salata was found in a ditch in remote East Naples woods off Radio Road.

“Three acres or so, very dense, you know, wooded area,” said Adam Homan, who lives nearby.

Homan was shocked to hear about what happened and even more so to hear what the doctor was accused of.

“It seems the way that he reacted to it kind of proved he was possibly guilty,” Homan said.

But now, Salata will never get a guilty verdict.

Adam Horowitz, who represents one of Salata’s victims, calls it frustrating, especially after learning he was never ordered to surrender his weapons.

During Salata’s first appearance hearing on Nov. 22, a prosecutor asked the judge if Salata should surrender his firearms.

“I’m not gonna do that,” said Judge Michael Provost.

Horowitz is surprised to hear that.

“I’m learning it for the first time. So that’s a bit of a surprise to me. I did not know that. We may not be here today, having this conversation if the order had been entered,” he said.

WINK News asked to speak to Provost but a court representative said judicial decision-making is confidential.

Dr. Eric Salata, 54. Credit: Collier County Sheriff’s Department

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office said they are looking into where the pistol came from.

Meanwhile, the medical spa where Salata worked at is no more.

It’s locked up and mail is stuffed in its door handle.

“When someone dies, the claim against them doesn’t go away in terms of a civil lawsuit. But it does change form, you have to file a claim against their estate, right,” said Horowitz.

Horowitz said his client has mixed feelings about Salata’s suicide.

“I will say she was relieved to learn that no, no other women will be harmed, that he can’t do this to anyone again. And but at the same time, it was discouraging and frustrating. She wanted to have her day in court where she could look him in the eye and confront him and hold him criminally accountable,” he said.

Horowitz said he has been contacted by someone else who is a possible victim.

Meanwhile, the Naples Police Department is asking the public to provide information while they continue to investigate.

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