Mushrooms and PCP Lead Naked Man to Sewer in Search of Kids. Gets Stuck for 36 Hours, and, Of Course, Kids Not Actually There
PCP and hallucinogenic mushrooms seem to be to blame for the rescue of Eugene Gimzelberg, whose "trip" took him to the depths of the Gilbert sewer system in search of his kids. The children, of course, weren't actually in the sewer -- where he got stuck for 36 hours.
Last seen by his family on Tuesday, firefighters found Gimzelberg about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, 40 feet deep in a sewer hole near Loop 202 and Higley Road.
Gilbert police Sergeant Bill Balafas tells New Times that police got a call Tuesday about a man (still clothed) behaving strangely and emptying things out of his wallet in a Gilbert neighborhood.
The cops went looking for Gimzelberg on Tuesday, when they found the stuff from his wallet, but didn't find him.
Balafas says another call came in the next night -- 36 hours later -- about screams coming from a field in Higley.
Sure enough, firefighters found Gimzelberg naked, except for one shoe, at the bottom of the sewer hole.
Gimzelberg told firefighters that his clothes had been ripped off by the water current in the sewer, but Gilbert fire spokesman Mike Connor tells New Times that there was less than an inch of water there.
Naturally, police asked him what the hell he was doing naked in a sewer.
Gimzelberg first told police he was getting his kids out of the drainage system, but the cops were quick to find that story false.
"That obviously wasn't true because we already talked to his kids, and they were fine," Balafas says.
Telling the cops and firefighters that he -- a naked 32-year-old man -- was 40 feet deep in a sewer looking for kids could be seen as a red flag for cops, but Balafas says he later recanted that story.
Gimzelberg told police he had smoked weed and PCP and then ate mushrooms before apparently going nutso and stripping down for his trip into the sewer.
Balafas says Gimzelberg was injured during his fall into the sewer hole, sustaining multiple skull fractures and damage to his lungs, and was still in the hospital as of noon Thursday.
Connor says, not only was the fall into the sewer life-threatening, but firefighters also discovered Gimzelberg showing signs of hypothermia.
"He'd been in the water or whatever junk was in there for quite some time," Connor says.
When he's released from the hospital, police say Gimzelberg will be greeted with citations for trespassing and criminal damage.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.
- Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich Seeks Removal of AZCC Chair Susan Bitter Smith
Thu., Dec. 10, 6:25pm
Fri., Dec. 11, 7:00pm
Fri., Dec. 11, 7:30pm
Fri., Dec. 11, 7:30pm
- Broken-Heart Syndrome Genes Discovered by Phoenix Researchers
- Arizona State Fair Goat GusGus Kids Around in Video After Traumatic Kidnapping