ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
For week ended March 05, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 09Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Suicide Of LDS Doctor Puzzles Friends, Company
(Doctor's suicide puzzles friends)
Orange co CA Register 5Mar00 P2
By Anh Do and Mayrav Saar: Orange County Register
He's recalled as devoted and caring. 'Something had to have spun out of control,' says one.

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- The apparent suicide of an LDS doctor, entreprenuer and AIDS researcher shocked friends and family and has cast a pall over the company he co-owned, as his co-owner recovers from a gunshot wound to the face. Dr. Larry C. Ford, an LDS Church member an co-owner of Biofem Pharmaceuticals, was called a generous friend, deeply religious man and a 'boy genius' by those who knew and respected him.

Ford died Thursday, March 2nd of what investigators believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had become a suspect in the attempt on the life of his business partner, James Patrick Riley, who was shot in the face by a masked gunman on Monday, February 28th as he arrived for work. Police had searched Ford's house the day before and Ford met with his lawyer for several hours that morning.

The company the two business partners owned, Biofem Pharmaceuticals, was a startup that planned to start human trials in the summer of its anti-AIDS suppository and contraceptive Inner Confidence. The product was conceived of and developed by Ford, who was called a brilliant and unorthodox researcher by colleagues and friends. The firm claimed that the suppository, which is based on lactobacilli bacteria, the active ingredient in yogurt, would prevent transmission of AIDS and other venereal diseases and work as a contraceptive for as much as eight hours. While Biofem has a patent on the product, the use of lactobacilli on AIDS is being tested by several laboratories around the country, according to Jonathan Kagan of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. Biofem has three scientists that will continue their work on the product.

Police are still seeking a motive in the shooting of Riley, and have made one arrest. They have charged Los Angeles businessman Dino D'Saachs with driving the gunman to and from the shooting. They believe a third person masterminded the attempt on Riley's life, and think that Dr. Ford's apparent suicide is related.

Several colleagues claim that Ford at various times misrepresented his work and career. Company documents claim that he was a fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, but the professional organization says he wasn't a member.

He also claimed to be an associated clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine, but colleagues there say all he did was volunteer to help train residents, committing just 75 hours a year. UCI's OB/Gyn Department Chairman Thomas Garite says Ford volunteered in order to develop a relationship, "Larry's main interest was in research. He wanted to develop ties to the department so he could have access to patients." Garite said he was fired last June after he stopped coming to campus.

But friends and family believe he was an ethical man, "Two things characterized Larry best. He was a brilliant intellect, and he was as compassionate as he was brilliant," said Bruce Haglund, bishop of his LDS Ward. Ford taught Sunday school each week and provided Boy Scouts and adult leaders with free physicals prior to camp each summer. "He helped hundreds of people," recalled Haglund. "His kitchen table often had someone lying down on it because they wanted help."

Ford graduated from UCLA Medical School, where he became known for both dazzling medical breakthroughs and a wacky wardrobe. "Larry was never a mainstream person. He always looked at thinks a bit differently," said Dr. William Ledger, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Cornel University's New York hospital.

While a resident at UCLA, Ford developed a reputation as a skilled researcher, and patented a test for infections even before arriving at UCLA, according to Dr. Hunter Hammill of Baylor College in Houston, Texas. "Larry was the boy genius of his class." Hammil says he received a sample of bacteria on the day of Ford's death that he wanted him to test in connection with the Inner Confidence suppositories. Hammill is bewildered at the events, "Larry was a kind soul. He wasn't the kind of person who would kill himself or shoot anybody. He just wasn't the angry young man."

Ford moved from Los Angeles to Irvine in 1987 and connected with Riley to found Biofem Pharmaceuticals in 1990. The Los Angeles Times reports that the company was having trouble raising money to continue its research. The Times also reports that Ford was a hunting and gun enthusiast, with a collection of guns and plans for African Safari's. He had spent months researching AIDS in South Africa.

He has three children, two sons studying at BYU with plans to go to medical school and a daughter, who is interested in exercise therapy. "His children are very intelligent. And caring," said neighbor Eve Christensen. "They obviously learned that from their father." Bishop Haglund and Ford's wife, Beth, believe that the LDS faith will help them recover from the tragedy. "Larry wouldn't have done this if he hadn't reasoned, in his own way, that this would be best for his family," Haglund said. "He was just that kind of guy."


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information