The body found in Thompson Bay has been identified as long-time Lake Havasu City businessman Pishit Patel – who owned Island Inn Hotel and Sam’s Beachcomber RV Resort.
Patel, 64, known as Peter by many in Havasu, was identified by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office as the deceased male found off the shoreline of Rotary Park on Thursday morning. According to the press release the Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the “apparent drowning,” but the official cause of death is pending an autopsy by the Mohave County Medical Examiner. The Sheriff’s Office said there were no suspicious circumstances observed.
A longtime friend, George Sharma, said Patel appears to have taken his own life. He said a friend of Patel found his cell phone, smart watch, and a note in his home on Thursday morning after Patel went missing on Wednesday.
“I’ve known him for 28 years,” said Sharma, who is a developer with Desert Resort Properties. “We met over different business opportunities and from there on our friendship grew. We have been every good friends throughout this period and stood by each other in the good days and the bad days – in the previous recession in 2007 and 2008. This time, I don’t know what happened - he couldn’t handle it.”
In addition to the Island Inn Hotel and Beachcomber Resort, Sharma said Patel also owned several storage units in Havasu as well as several hotel properties in Williams and a Marriott in California.
Sharma said the pandemic created financial hardships for Patel and he was also struggling with depression.
“We knew what was going on and I tried my level best to support him and be with him,” Sharma said. “The only mistake I made was Saturday I left for my vacation. Before we knew, Wednesday he was missing. Before that we used to talk at least two times a day, minimum.”
Patel was born in India but immigrated to the United States.
“He was the hardest worker,” said Melinda Broadstock, who said she has been friends with the Patel family since meeting Peter 15 years ago and also did business with him. “He always told me how he rode a bicycle around in India. He was from a middle class family and was in sales. He came over here with $1,000 and moved to the East Coast first, and from there just kept working super hard.”
Eventually, Patel made his way to Havasu in 1992 where he jumped right into the business community by purchasing the Island Inn Hotel.
“There was a time he controlled most of the hotels in Havasu,” Sharma said. “He slowly sold most of them to his employees and moved on from there.”
Mayor Cal Sheehy said he can’t remember a time before Patel was in Havasu, describing him as a leader in Havasu’s hotel and hospitality industry and a respected member of the community.
Mike Vaishnav, owner of Travelodge, said he didn’t know Patel well but said he was well respected amongst hoteliers in town and had a reputation as a helpful and kind person.
“He was kind of like a fatherly figure in this town for the hotel business,” Vaishnav said. “He helped a lot of people with their hotels.”
Outside of the business world, Patel was an avid foodie.
“I will always miss him as a good friend and good company,” Sharma said. “Over 28 years we did a lot of things together so it is difficult to pinpoint one thing, but one of the major things we did was eating good quality food.”
Sharma said Patel particularly loved high quality seafood. Although they would occasionally go to restaurants, Patel preferred to cook the food himself after ordering fish or kobe beef directly from the supplier.
Broadstock said Patel was a fairly quiet person, but had a delightful sense of humor once you got to know him.
She said Peter was also avid tennis players, along with the rest of his family.
Broadstock said she played many games with him over the years and one thing that always stuck out was his willingness to play a game of tennis with anybody – regardless of skill level. Patel also donated money for multiple water fountains at the high school tennis courts in town.
“We are in shock here,” Broadstock said. “We still don’t know exactly what happened.”
Broadstock said Patel is survived by his wife and three children.