Where Are You AJ? Can You Tell Us About Ayaz’s Death at Swami’s Movement Center?

Ayaz Quadir

Ayaz Alam Quadir was born on Dec. 2, 1985.

With his parents, he left Bangladesh when he was young. He grew up in the United States with his mother. His father lived in France, and he visited at times.

His father described him as “a shy but intense human being, who had focused his passion on music.”

Ayaz wanted to be a professional jazz musician. He studied piano at McGill University in Montreal.

Somewhere in life, someone introduced him to heroin.

Life became difficult for him after that. He struggled with addiction for years.

His mother, Samina, lived in Portland and married William Reese.

Reese is the brother of Becky Reese, a physician who lived at the Movement Center in Portland.

In 2007, he almost died from an overdose. It was difficult for his mother, stepfather, and father, who were trying to do what they could to help him.

Ayaz came to the Movement Center under the care of his aunt Becky and husband, Andrew Bonner.

While there, he was close to Jessica, Laura’s daughter. He worked under Jim Brissette, who assigned him to work with a young man named AJ. His last name is unknown.

A source told Frank Report:

There was a young man named AJ. I am trying to find his last name if anyone can help. He came in under Jim Brisette’s supervision.
He and Ayaz were often paired together by Brisette as a team to work on house projects. Jim thought they were a good pair; they would be a good influence on each other. They could learn from each other…yea: a drug dealer (AJ) and a recovering addict (Ayaz).
Only Brisette, Ward, Shoemaker and the Bonner’s knew of Ayaz’s recovery program: that was kept secret from the community.
And only Brisette, Ward and Shoemaker know who AJ is. Perhaps someone from the community can recall that kid’s last name? He was about the same age as Ayaz, young twenties with shoulder-length stringy blonde hair and missing a front tooth. Hard to forget but it seems most people have forgotten him.
AJ was supposedly “caught” buying drugs from homeless people in Oregon Park. Now I wonder how much of this story is true, and consider if he was scoring drugs for Brisette and posse.
The two young men, AJ and Ayaz lived there at the same time and for a short period of time (not even a year I would say).

While Ayaz lived at the ashram, he attended drug counseling meetings. He skipped a few. meetings

The ashram was holding a retreat. Ayaz did not attend. Instead, he stayed in Andrew and Becky’s room.

Near the end of the retreat, he left the ashram. A drug test confirmed he had relapsed.

He went to rehab for three weeks to conquer his addiction. The rehab facility discharged him on August 6.

When he got out, he stayed, it appears, with his mother for the first and second nights. He seems to have visited the Movement Center on August 7, but did not stay overnight.

Andrew Bonner told police he had seen Ayaz at the Movement Center around 4 pm on August 7, rehab.

Ayaz told his mother about his excitement. He was out of rehab, clean, and wanted to stay at the Movement Center again.

His mother was a follower of a Sufi teacher or “master.”

It must have been a comfort to her. The abbot of the Movement Center was a man, though born in the west, who followed the traditions of the east.

Becky described Shoemaker as a master himself.

On August 8, Ayaz was to stay overnight at the Center.

It was his first night at the Movement Center since going to rehab in July.

At some point on that first day, Ayaz got hold of heroin and crack cocaine.

Ayaz did not call him.

During the morning and afternoon, Ayaz’s mother, Samina Reese, became worried. Ayaz did not call.

She called on Becky or Andrew to check on her son.

At about 4:40 pm, Andrew told police he went to Ayaz’s room and found him unresponsive.

About 15 minutes later, Bonner notified the police.

Andrew contacted Samina and her husband, William, the stepfather. He told them of their son’s death.

At 6:15, Portland PD Officers Shroeder and Fox arrived at the Movement Center and went to Ayaz’s room.

From the police report of Officer Kenneth Fox:

I observed (DE) Ayaz Quadir laying on his bed motionless, with his left arm extended straight off the bed, the rest of his body on the bed.
“Mr. Quadir appeared very stiff, was motionless and cold to the touch. I also noted on the floor there was a round blue pillow and next to it was two metal spoons and a syringe sitting on a piece of white paper.
Also next to the spoons and syringe was a dirty white rock like substance which appeared to be crack cocaine. On a small bookshelf directly next to these items were three more white rock like substances which appeared to be crack cocaine and one small bindle of tin foil which from my training and experience may contain heroin.
Under Mr. Quadir’s bed he had his laptop.  There was no signs of a disturbance in the room, everything was neat and orderly.”

While police were still at the scene, Samina and William Reese arrived. The police report continues:

Samina and William arrived on scene and were very distraught. On their arrival I offered to have TIPS respond, they both declined.
Samina told me she had been trying to find out who Mr. Quadir’s drug dealers were recently. She said she believed his marijuana dealer’s name was “Coleman” but she was unable to provide any other information about him. There were no phone numbers listed in Mr. Quadir’s phone for a “Coleman.”
Samina believed he had multiple more drug dealers but was not able to provide any information about them but thought their phone numbers may be in his cell phone. Samina said she would contact me if she was able to find out any additional information about who Mr. Quadir’s drug dealers were.”

Medical Examiner Erin Patrick responded to the scene and took pictures.

The officers contacted Sergeant Morris. Morris instructed them to take Ayaz’s laptop, cell phone, and drugs as evidence.

He told them to contact the on-call Homicide Sergeant and notify them of the death.

We know little else.

On August 8, 2009, Ayaz Alam Quadir died. He was 22 years and nine months.

He moved into the Movement Center at 1025 Ne 33rd St in Portland, Oregon, after leaving a drug rehab facility.

One woman familiar with the Center told Frank Report:

Please note there is no information about any investigation of the death.  Dead… boy with needle seems to be the way the police looked at it.  No involvement of Ayaz’s aunt, Dr. Rebecca Reese, no mention of Dr. Bonner being a family member.  Report states Ayaz had only spent one night at the address where the call came from. No mention of checking out the rehab program.  No interview with the director of the center, no mention that the Movement Center has 60+ rooms, and maybe the drugs were procured by someone in one of those bedrooms.
This young man meant nothing to the police, and that is what they invested in his death.”

A few questions arise.

Did Becky recommend the recovering addict come to this Center?

Did Becky and Andrew know the ashram was rife with drugs?

Did they know Swami Chetanananda used drugs himself?

Becky was the Swami’s physicians and lived there for years.

She and Andrew treated drug-addicted inmates of the ashram.

A source said Andrew and Becky treated the Swami in the aftermath of his drug binges.

Was this the grossest negligence of Bonner and his physician wife? Or did they believe the Swami could help Ayaz?

Is the official story true? Did anyone have a hand in the death of Ayaz or disturb or instead tidy up the death room?

How did Ayaz get his drugs?

We know Daniel Glavin told Frank Report that Jim Brissette asked him to provide drugs to the ashram and did so. Dan was not living at the ashram when Ayaz died.

Ruth Graham reports Ayaz was not the only one with drug problems at the Movement Center.

Graham wrote, “People were coming in clean from addictions and lapsing badly while there, even dying like Ayaz did.”

Dr. Becky and husband Dr. Andrew Bonner with Swami Chetanananda.  

Ayaz’s sister, Sabah, tells of an eerie event.  She came to the room to gather her brother’s possessions. A group from the ashram came in carrying some kind of dagger and did an odd ritual dance and chant.
She could not even have a few moments in peace. A moment of silence to gather the few remaining items that her brother once possessed.
As for AJ?
According to a source, “AJ left when Ayaz died. All I remember is him being devastated to lose his friend Ayaz, and he declared he hated Oregon and left, and we never saw him again. He sure could answer some important questions today, though.”
No matter what the answers are, nothing will bring the late Ayaz Quadir back. The death occurred 13 years ago.
A tender memorial appears online by the writer Amitav Ghosh, who met Ayaz during a trip in the Sunderbans.
All that remains to be said perhaps is that Ayaz was troubled, and it appears his troubles began before he came to the Movement Center. But that did not get better there.
But let us remember that he was a gifted piano player and spiritually inclined.
Ayaz’s mother wrote she had a dream shortly after Ayaz passed. It was a dream “of me trying to hug him, and he dissipates much like a shadow… The dream went on to give me hope that he is well.”
His father wrote that after his son’s death, he listened to his son’s recordings and would pause the tracks.
“The part of me that echoed you, I froze; setting aside my pain in the fifth chamber of the heart, where now you come alive with every beat – and I can hear your music once again. And now you show me from the great beyond that suffering must be our ultimate teacher.”

You can hear some of Ayaz’s piano compositions here.

His Facebook remains online.

There may be no good in reviving this, but I record it in its place as I record the history of J. Michael Shoemaker.

Shoemaker made no public comment that I know of, not one, of the passing of this tragic young man.

I can echo what the writer, Ghosh, wrote to his family, of “the pain of this appalling loss – you have all my sympathy.”

Ayaz himself seems to have had insight into time and death. He wrote the following when he was 14 on the death of his grandfather.

Physical things occur over spans of time; they are not timeless. But in the prodigious scheme of the spirit, Dada is here with us all the time and forever. It is this True Spirit that is timeless.
Dada is with us even more so now than before. We may be unable to talk with him on the telephone or eat lunch with him, but our greatest fortune is that we get to live through him. He is within all of us… We must remember this and seek this spirit and roam in this essence in every aspect of life. We must force ourselves to go beyond this illusionary physical life that human beings are preoccupied with, and find the true peace and divinity that Dada has so beautifully portrayed for us.
It is now our duty and also our therapy to do this: to channel the positive living energy of this human being that we love forever and allow it to resonate through us and through our everyday lives.
I wish peace and strength to all of you. And may Allah bless our special loved one.
Ayaz Alam Quadir

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Ayaz was born in 1985. He was the same age as me by only a few months. He is family to me, though I never met him, being the nephew of my cousin-in-law, Becky Reese.

    The more I read and hear about him, the more I am deeply saddened I never knew him, and the more angry I am that Andrew and Beckie drew him in to that place, just like with me.

    I was not at the ashram when he was there.

    I wonder often if something similar would have happened to me if I was there at that time. We both were suffering from the abuses of the cult, but he did not survive. I can’t believe the police did not already know there were problems with The Movement Center

    I am still damaged by the ashram to this day. It has taken a major toll on my life and health and finances. Ayaz must have faced similar psychological abuse as I did (gaslighting, victim blaming (bootstrapping etc), deception, spiritual bypassing, boundary crossing, neglect, peer pressure, two-faced behavior, conditional love, false promises, triangulation, purity testing, isolation etc…)

    I have no adequate words that would alleviate the pain for the living family of Ayaz. So, I am trying to bring justice to Shoemaker and his associates.

    • You did not know Ayaz. Do not sit here and conjecture about his thoughts and feelings. Do not talk about others. That is gossip. You are taking a tragedy and trying to talk about yourself. Really bad form.

      • I don’t think it is an unreasonable speculation that he was treated like I was treated which is the only conjecture I made. Why would that be inappropriate?

      • Not at all. She’s being empathetic- and is trying to bring justice to this young man.

        How can you possibly attack her for this? Is this Sharon Ward or Moni?

      • “You did not know Ayaz. Do not sit here and conjecture about his thoughts and feelings”

        Um, she said in her first paragraph that she never met him. Get a grip.

    • Your experience does not relate whatsoever to Ayaz. He did not experience what you are projecting or what you experienced. Ayaz was his own sovereign being and his burdens began weighing on him long before he ever stepped foot into the Ashram.

      God Bless his Soul and May he forever rest in peace he is loved by the many who did know him and remembered for the beautiful music he brought into this world.

      Don’t you dare turn his story into your own Ruth. You never even met him one time. You have no right postulating this way.

      • This was definitely written by a flying monkey possibly Andrew or Beckie trying hard to separate the one thing we all had in common and the only comparison I’ve made, that we both suffered under the neglect and abuses of Shoemaker’s cult.

        You would say this about all of us victims, that It’s all our fault from parents failures our our own failures etc.

        You don’t really care about Ayaz and you never did and you knew him.

      • People are constantly posting here asking Ruth to comment on her family members and their parts in this whole mess. So she does that, at no personal benefit to herself–in fact most likely the opposite–and you miserable people still attack her. Why don’t you give her a list of all your preferred ways she needs to correspond so she knows what will make all of you happy. Don’t you just love an anonymous troll that’s so eager to criticize and tear someone down, but too cowardly to use their name.

        • All anyone wants to hear from her is what Andrew and Becky have to say for themselves. How do they look Ruth’s parents in the eyes? How do they look Ayaz’s parents in the eyes?

          • Do you spend your life speaking for people you’ve never met? Or does it just pertain to Ruth because you have some obsessive fixation on her? She’s addressed Andrew and Becky in previous conversations if you bother to pay attention.

  • Why are the police not investigating? With all the drug use that has absolutely gone on in the past and likely the present, why can there be no sting operation to protect people?

    Why is no one investigating those who were left behind? The Molly’s that no longer serve a purpose?

  • The problem is Swami “takes in” people in need… those perhaps in search of a higher calling, those who are ‘lost’, those who are in need. These vulnerabilities are exploited. Forced labor, sex, abuse, drugs are soon common in their everyday existence.

    Should anyone begin to question or dare to leave– they are written off as “troubled”, or “we tried to help, but they had issues.” Their vulnerabilities are used against them. And those in power at the ashram will oppress even the most fearless, determined victims.

    Look at how everyone is attacking Ruth for her persistence. She’s smart, measured, and reflective. She wants justice served but now people are actually telling her they’ve had enough of her “story.” She’s keeping it alive so others will come forward. Not the Dan’s of the ashram– who provided the drugs and removed the asbestos– but the true victims.

    The leaders are narcissists– they triangulate, isolate, belittle, and reinforce a false narrative. Swami needs to be taken down along with Sharon Ward, and Jim Brisette for starters. Please keep coming forward. He’s destroying lives and families.

    • As Chetananda and the corpse-dog handler serve a death-cult its not surprising they solicited people on the threshold of life and death – addicts and other very vulnerable people. You are also right about the response to Ruth. So obvious.

  • AJ is a member or lives at the ashram and there is no inventory taken of those who resided there at the time? Even if he was a visitor it seems they were very strict about who was permitted on the premises and who was not.

    God knows Natasha’s family was thrown out of there. Jayne Lyons didn’t fare well trying to protect her daughter. So who is AJ and why are people keeping his identity a secret?

    Why didn’t Ayaz Alam Quadir’s relatives at the ashram come forward? Why didn’t police investigate ANYTHING at all?

    Is it simply we don’t value brown people in a white ashram? Could be. Brown people are throw aways. They are second tier citizens at best. All should be ashamed of what happened to this promising young man.

    • No one is keeping AJ’s identity secret: someone will remember him.
      I clearly labeled who you can get his last name from: the people who hold all the records of students whom enrolled in their school: Shoemaker, Ward, Brisette was in charge of tracking their labor hours. Those 3 people have the answers you seek.

  • Why is it when tragedy strikes the ashram Swami Chetanananda is nowhere to be found. I’ve never followed any guru, but surely as the spiritual leader, he would be the one to make a public statement– to make people aware of how precious life is– and how we all need to be responsible for those around us??? Something? Anything?

    Liz Bazzani was found dead and Swami Chet makes no public statement.
    Ayaz, is found dead and Swami Chet is silent.

    How do the police reconcile this? It’s shocking how little anything is investigated. Once they are greeted with the attorney Sharon Ward and doctors– they thin blue line falls silent– takes them at their word and moves on. It’s insane. No justice was done. NONE.

    • Dr. G would have performed an autopsy despite the obvious assumptions made at the scene by the people who saw the body. How does the Chetanananda cult always end up above the law, above suspicion and above the circumstances? Where did this young man get all of the drugs they found in his room if it was his first day “home” from rehab?
      I’d say he got them in the ashram. Was Jessica Becker there? She was swamis supplier, right?
      And why did no one even check on this person? My God i want to blow that place up.
      Instead of arguing over a freaking sizzle, can someone be investigating the criminal acts being concealed at this disgusting hell hole?

      • Jessica Becker was not there. Neither was Daniel Glavin. But lamentably Dan Glavin was supplying drugs and providing his connections to fellow drug dealers when Natacha was there.

        Natacha was provided with drugs constantly and I imagine the need for drugs was high.

        Becker told a story of how the swami had her cop drugs on the street. The need was great. But I also believe not everyone knew about the drugs. Dan got a high and privileged status because he was a drug dealer to the swami.

        He got access to women and imagined he was in a spiritual environment gaining wisdom and self realization. The cost – provide drugs and work – often stoned – for the place.

      • That poor corpse addicted dog will have to be offed first.

        I sincerely hope Sharon Ward spends many incarnations as a corpse sniffing dog.

        Which is probably like saying “may all your dreams come true” to a regular person.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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