Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Orem, UT: Couple's death still a mystery

OREM Utah (ABC 4 News) – Friday night, Lucy Schwartz and Nicole Grace talked for hours on the phone.

It was the last time Grace was to hear from her friend.

Schwartz was found dead Monday inside the Orem home of former Doctor Joseph Berg.

“She was afraid to leave him because she didn't know what would happen and because of that she lost her life,” says Grace.

Friday night Grace says they talked of marriage, the church “Joey”, nothing about death.

“She knew he didn't have a lot of people in his life and she really loved him and she just wanted to help him,” she says.

And she says it appeared the former cosmetic surgeon was on the mend.

He was released from jail Thursday after spending four months for kidnapping Schwartz last year. The incident also led to assault charges against Berg. He beat and tied her and kept her in a closet.

But Grace says there was another side of him.

“Dr. Berg wasn't a monster he was mentally ill,” Grace says. “He had problems that he wasn't getting treated for. And Lucy saw that and I saw that too. And she was trying to help him. She loved him. He would tell her about his favorite scriptures and things like that. It seemed like he was getting better.”

But after coming home, Grace says Berg was packing his bags. His home had been sold.

“She was looking at apartments and he was staying at his Sundance cabin until they got married,” she says.

Sunday night Berg and Schwartz had dinner with his family.

It was to be the last time anyone saw them alive.

“I didn't think this was going to happen,” she says. “I was just sad and shocked.

So far, no one knows how the couple died. But Grace says Schwartz was happy they were together once more.

“She was so full of life,” Grace says. “She told me of all their plans. She never would have agreed to something like this.

She believes Berg killed Schwartz before taking his own life.

“I think he lost control,” she says. “Something bad happened and he felt bad and he took his own life or he chose for her what to do.”

Grace says as much as Schwartz loved Berg, she would never have committed suicide with him. Grace says Schwartz loved her two daughters even more.

“She would never have put them through that kind of pain,” Grace says.

Orem police conducted an autopsy Tuesday but the results have not been released. Sgt. Craig Martinez says it may take a toxicology test before they learn what happened.

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