Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, a prominent physician and academic known for his contributions to the anti-vaccination movement, has been found dead of an apparent suicide, NBC News is reporting.
Bradstreet's body was found on June 19, but his death is only now gaining attention in the national media.
A North Carolina fisherman came across a body, later identified as Bradstreet's, in the Rocky Broad River, on the afternoon of Friday, June 19, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post of Gwinnett County, Georgia. Police say Bradstret appears to have committed suicide.
"Mr. Bradstreet had a gunshot wound to the chest, which appears to be self inflicted."
The Post notes that Bradstreet ran a clinic in nearby Buford, Georgia, and his body was found not far from a lake where he and his family were known to vacation. Just days earlier, officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration searched Bradstreet's clinic, the Bradstreet Wellness Center.
Bradstreet was a prominent figure in the anti-vaccination movement, publishing research that claimed that vaccines cause autism -- a claim that is soundly rejected by the vast majority of physicians. At his Georgia clinic, Bradstreet employed treatments that can most charitably be described as controversial.
"[Bradstreet] has also been blasted for reportedly treating patients for 'mercury toxicity,' based on the belief that an ingredient in a childhood vaccination caused autism, a theory which the leading voices in medicine say is inaccurate."
In fact, says Quack Watch, Bradstreet's research is, at best, based on spurious claims, and at worst, completely fabricated. His clinic employed a form of medical quackery -- "chelation therapy" -- to treat patients for a disease - mercury toxicity - that they didn't actually have.
"Bradstreet's management of [a patient's] alleged 'toxic effect of mercury' is particularly telling. Mercury poisoning is a medically defined condition with specific symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, but Bradstreet and others like him seemed perfectly happy to make the diagnosis without any supporting history, symptoms, physical findings, or laboratory tests."
Bradstreet's family is not convinced that his death was a suicide. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for an independent investigation into his death, and several of his supporters are suggesting that foul play is involved.
"From the minute I heard of his death, I was afraid he was murdered... Praying for the full truth to be revealed.
"I truly believe something is awry here. Blessings to a great man."
The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office has promised a full investigation into Jeff Bradstreet's death.
[Image courtesy of Shutterstock/RidvanArda]