ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended July 02, 2000
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: 30Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Case of Late LDS Doctor Before Grand Jury
Salon 26Jun00 D2
By Arthur Allen

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- An Orange County, California grand jury is looking at the circumstances surrounding the attempted murder of businessman James Patrick Riley and the death by suicide three days later of his business partner, Dr. Larry C. Ford, an LDS Church member and biotech researcher who's system for preventing the transmission of AIDS might have saved millions of lives.

On-line E-zine Salon takes a look at the bizarre case, titling its article "Mad Scientist" and examining what is known of Ford's double life. While police believe that Ford was part of a conspiracy to kill Riley, they don't have evidence that directly implicates him, and since he is dead, can't interrogate him about it. They also have don't have the person that actually pulled the trigger and shot Riley in the face, but think they have the man that drove a get-away vehicle.

What makes the case even more bizarre is the ties Ford has to South Africa and the claims that he was involved with biological warfare. Prior to his death, Ford had claimed that he had links to the CIA. But even these links don't make sense, and none of it makes sense to his friends and neighbors, most of whom admired Ford and thought he was a genius.

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.

The suicide note that Ford left claimed that he was innocent of the murder attempt, and told police that valuable information was hidden elsewhere in the house. However, the part of the note that told where the information was is illegible. Police are not sure where the information is, or if Ford was playing a joke on the police.

Then police were told by Ford's assistant that the two had been lovers and had been involved with drugging young women with whom they had sex. Allegations, also unproven, arose that Ford had performed unauthorized medical experiments on unwitting patients. But police have no evidence that these allegations are true.

But they are sure that Ford led a double life. News reports have made much of Ford's gun collecting hobby and his friendship with Neil Knobel, who was once surgeon general of the South African Defense Force, and brought Ford, a returned missionary who had served in South Africa, back to the country, where he helped them develop a policy of educating the military to use condoms, "Our whole policy of protecting members of the defense force against HIV [educating them to use condoms] came from my relationship with Larry," Knobel told Salon's Allen.

But Ford also tried to hold trials of BioFem's product in South Africa with Knobel's help, and ended up meeting Wouter Basson, who was in charge of South Africa's secret chemical/biological warfare program. Basson, who has been called South Africa's Mengele, brought Ford to teach about contaminating ordinary items to make them biological weapons. One of the germs that Ford talked about, a species of clostridium bacteria, turned up in jars in Ford's office refrigerator when police searched the building after Ford's death.

Ford also made no secret of his feelings about South Africa, claiming that the whites there were more productive than the blacks and advocating less tolerance toward blacks convicted of breaking the law. He said that he believed South Africa was going to hell in a handbasket.

But in spite of all the damning innuendo and information in the Salon article, nothing known by the public yet shows that Ford committed any crime. Since Ford is dead, the target of the investigation is his tax accountant, who evidence seems to show drove the get-away vehicle from the murder attempt. It may also be that prosecutors are trying to bring out evidence about Ford's connections to South Africa, to make cases against other Ford associates.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

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