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 Post subject: Fasting death
PostPosted: 11 Mar 2010, 10:52 
Grand Poobah
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BARTOW | A minister's wife who went on a religious water-only fast for more than three weeks has died.

Nancy Ulm, a registered dietitian and nutrition specialist with Watson Clinic, does not advocate fasting.

According to Ulm, a long-term fasting diet can lead to:

Electrolyte imbalances.


Possible cardiac failure.

She also said that possible side effects from a fasting diet include lack of energy and/or inability to focus.

Ulm said fasting diets are dangerous for people with chronic disease, such as diabetes, because they affect the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

Evelyn Boyd, 55, was dead for at least a day and no more than three days before her body was discovered Friday, Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Vera Volnikh said.

Boyd shut herself into her bedroom Feb. 7 and had no contact with her family before her death, deputies said. Her husband, the Rev. John Boyd, found her early Friday.

Boyd, 52, is the pastor of Higher Praise Full Gospel Ministries in Bartow.

People of many faiths fast, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Wednesday.

"Fasting is well-spoken of in the Bible," Judd said. "But God doesn't intend for you to fast yourself to death."

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the death, but Judd said he doesn't anticipate any charges will be filed.

Evelyn Boyd was obeying what God told her to do, John Boyd said. "God called her home."

The autopsy of Evelyn Boyd won't be complete for about a month, when toxicology results are available.

Volnikh said she thinks Evelyn Boyd died of dehydration. The autopsy found a small amount of liquid in her stomach but no evidence that she had eaten.

Boyd had not visited doctors. John Boyd said his wife didn't believe in doctors.

She had retired from her job as a line worker at Precisionaire at the end of 2008. John Boyd said retirement gave her more time to help people and to become closer to God.

In 2009, Evelyn Boyd began fasting: twice for 21 days, once for 23 days and once for 40 days, a total of 105 days. The longest fast, Boyd said, included bread and crackers. In her last fast, she drank water only and had no food.

He wanted to check on his wife's well-being while she fasted, but he respected her wish to be alone with God.

"She always fasted in the same bedroom," Boyd said. He said one of his two grown sons had moved out of the room to accommodate his mother

He said his wife lived alone in the room after she retired.

"She said God wanted her to use that particular room," Boyd said.

The room had no connecting bathroom. Boyd said that when his wife fasted, she brought plastic bags into the room for human waste and there was a garbage can just outside the room's window.

She brought jugs and smaller bottles of water, oil and prayer requests. And she prayed over the requests, Boyd said.

Boyd said he had gone fishing for speckled perch about 9 p.m. March 4 and returned March 5, about 3 a.m., a total of six hours. The window in Evelyn Boyd's room was open despite the cold weather when they left, Boyd said.

He checked on his wife when he returned and it was "really cold." Temperatures in the area in the early hours of March 5 were in the mid-30s.

Volnikh said the lower the temperature, the longer the woman's body would have taken to decompose. But, she said, there was no way to know the temperature in the room in the days before Evelyn Boyd was discovered.

Boyd said his wife touched more people's lives since January last year than she had at any point in her life.

"Anything she could do for you, she would," next-door neighbor Beverly Clayton said.

"If you were sick, she'd come over with soup or something. And she was a great cook."

Evelyn Boyd had told her husband a year or two ago that she felt her time on earth was nearly at an end. "And she was healthy" when she said that, John Boyd said.

Boyd said he fasts sporadically, usually before a revival or religious conference, but just for two or three days. He said he asks his family to leave him alone during that time. His wife respected his request, Boyd said, so he felt obliged to do the same for her.

Boyd said his wife had gotten "a little chubby" before her last fast, about 170 pounds.

Volnikh said she died at 140 pounds, at 5 feet 5 inches tall.

John Boyd is a retired Bartow firefighter and code enforcement officer. He said he met his wife in a Davenport church. They had been married 33 years and have six grown children, ages 26 to 32.

Higher Praise Full Gospel Ministries has been open two years. Boyd said he has been involved in ministering for more than 30 years.

Evelyn Boyd liked to spend time with family, write, draw, read Scripture and cook, particularly at the holidays. On holidays she would cook for as many as 20, including friends of their children.

Evelyn Boyd's funeral is Saturday at Vineyard Church of God in Bartow.

"I loved her very deeply," John Boyd said. "She was a loving and devoted wife."

[ Rick Rousos can be reached at or 863-802-7514. ]

Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!

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