The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has confirmed that 70-year-old retired doctor Frank Meza, whose L.A. Marathon result was recently disqualified and whose body was found in the Los Angeles River on July 4, died by suicide. A CNN report claims the cause of death was “blunt-force traumatic injury,” and a report by the LA Times implied he jumped from a bridge.
Meza was the subject of numerous recent media reports alleging he cut the course at marathons, racking up age group wins and supposedly bettering the M70 marathon record held by the late Ed Whitlock of Milton, Ont. by more than 90 seconds with his 2:53:10 finish at L.A. on March 24. His stats included a 5K split that would have bettered the age-group world record in the 5K. Marathon organizers found video images of Meza leaving the course and then re-entering at a different location, which is against the rules.
Dan Adams of Pinon Hills, California, who was upgraded to first in his age group after Meza’s disqualification, ran 4:10.
Statement regarding Frank Meza https://t.co/zF2PONG1tv
— Derek Murphy (@MarathnInvestgr) July 5, 2019
According to an ABC News report, Meza started the Aztlan Track Club in 1974, and was a volunteer running coach at L.A.’s Loyola High School. He had been on a leave of absence since June.
Meza’s death prompted criticism of the publicity surrounding Meza’s course-cutting, after investigators discovered he had been disqualified twice and subsequently banned from the California International Marathon.
Dr. Frank Meza, 70, was found dead in the Los Angeles River last Thursday. The Los Angeles County coroner's office listed his cause of death as "blunt force traumatic injuries" and said the manner of death was suicide. https://t.co/zrWAPEdQBs
— CNN (@CNN) July 8, 2019
Meza steadfastly denied cheating, claiming he was in the habit of leaving the course to relieve himself, and then returning.
According to the CNN report, Meza leaves his wife, Dr. Tina Nevarez, his daughter Lorena Meza, his son Dr. Francisco Meza and his daughter-in-law Dr. Sara Tartof.