911 calls give clues to John Geddert's last moments

Mar. 4—Two 911 calls released Wednesday shed light on the final minutes of former U.S. Olympics women's gymnastics coach John Geddert, who killed himself last week at a mid-Michigan rest area amid confusion over when he was supposed to turn himself in to face felony charges.

On Feb. 25, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed 24 charges against Geddert, a longtime associate of Larry Nassar, the disgraced sports medicine doctor who is in prison on sexual assault and child pornography charges.

The charges against Geddert included 20 counts of human trafficking of a minor and one count each of first-degree criminal sexual assault, second-degree criminal sexual assault involving a minor, racketeering and lying to a police officer, according to Eaton County District Court records.

The 63-year-old had been scheduled to appear for an arraignment at 2:15 p.m. that day in Eaton County District Court 56A, according to the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Nessel told reporters at a 1 p.m. news conference that Geddert was believed to have turned himself in at the Delta Township substation and would be arraigned later that afternoon.

Michigan State Police troopers found his body at 3:24 p.m. at a rest area off eastbound Interstate 96 in Clinton County, the agency said.

According to one of two edited 911 calls The Detroit News obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Geddert had been with relatives at least an hour earlier, and that they thought he had been on his way to surrender.

Although the name of the first caller was edited out of the tape, the dispatcher later addressed her as McKyleigh, which is the first name of Geddert's older daughter. The caller also identified herself as being with Brittnei, which is the name of Geddert's younger daughter.

The caller, who was sobbing when she got on the line, told a Clinton County dispatcher that Geddert had said he planned to turn himself in to authorities but when he failed to show, the family started tracking his phone to find him.

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They grew suspicious when his vehicle, described as a truck, was parked at the rest area for about 30 minutes and decided to go there, she said.

Once arriving, they found his body with a gunshot wound in the head, the woman told a dispatcher. Her sister, brother and mother were nearby as she dialed 911, she said.

"What type of vehicle is he in?" the dispatcher asked.

"He's not in a vehicle," the daughter responded. "He's on the ground by the Dumpster."

The discovery prompted a second 911 call around the same time.

A motorist who said he had just pulled out of the rest area called to check if first responders had been notified about a possible medical emergency.

The driver reported spotting someone talking on the phone, distraught, as the former coach lay near the Dumpster and another person appeared to stand by to help.

"It just dawned on me: I better really make sure that's what was going on," the caller said.

The dispatcher said an ambulance was already on the way to the scene.

Clinton County Sheriff Lawrence Jerue told The News that Geddert died from a single shot to the head.

On Feb. 24, a special agent in Nessel's office described to a judge how Geddert allegedly mistreated gymnasts over the years, including pushing them off balance beams, tossing some into walls or forcing them to train injured, according to a court transcript obtained by The Detroit News.

The hearing where the details of the charges were disclosed was held to establish probable cause that would authorize the felony complaint against Geddert.

He was the fourth person to be charged in connection with the Nassar scandal, though officials say only one charge, an accusation of lying to police in September 2016, is linked. That interview with police took place about two weeks after Rachael Denhollander became the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault.

Geddert had been considered one of the most successful women's gymnastics coaches in state history. The state native coached the gold medal-winning 2012 U.S. women's gymnastics team at the London Olympics.

He also owned Twistars USA, an elite gymnastics facility near Lansing where multiple victims of Nassar trained and said they were assaulted by the former doctor who worked for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics.

In January 2018, USA Gymnastics suspended Geddert amid the fallout from the Nassar scandal and he transferred ownership of the facility to his wife, Kathryn.

The criminal investigation started after Nassar was incarcerated in February 2018, leading to the charges against Geddert that involve fewer than 50 victims, Nessel said during a media briefing Feb. 25.

Nessel has said the crimes alleged against Geddert resulted from his own behavior, which encompassed incidents between 2008 and 2018.

The two sexual assault charges against Geddert are alleged to have occurred in January 2012 and involve a reported victim between the ages of 13 and 16.

His death sparked strong responses from prominent gymnasts, activists and others across the world amid unresolved litigation and issues involving USA Gymnastics, MSU and other organizations.