Heart Failure Killed Man Who Feared `Curse'

A man found dead in unusual circumstances last month after expressing fear he was the target of a witch's curse died of heart failure, medical examiners reported yesterday.

The death of Christopher Case, 35, had drawn wide interest because he had told friends he feared he was under a witch's curse. The cause of death was acute myocarditis, said Rich Garner, a medical investigator with the King County Medical Examiner's office.

Officers found Case's clothed body April 18 in the waterless tub of his apartment in the 1300 block of North 152nd Avenue in North King County after they were asked to check on him by a woman friend in Fayetteville, N.C.

The woman, whose name was not disclosed, said Case, a former radio broadcaster in Raleigh, N.C., told her in phone calls that he was afraid a witch in San Francisco had put a curse on him.

The Fayetteville woman said Case told her the witch had cast a spell on him because he would not return her affections, according to King County police.

"There was no sign of a crime, no sign of violence, robbery or foul play," Garner said.

About 10 burned-down candles and crucifixes were found by investigating officers in Case's apartment, and lines of salt had been poured along the base of the apartment walls.

Another Fayetteville woman, Sammye Souder, a psychic and a teacher who was a friend of Case, said he expressed his fear to her in several phone calls a few days before his body was found.

Souder said Case was stable and healthy and did not believe in witchcraft. She said she advised him to get help.