In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Terry Kerns and Bryanna Fox review their investigation of Rick Van Thiel, accused of practicing medicine without a license. Terry and Bryanna and members of the Las Vegas Joint Terrorism Task Force gathered evidence and witness statements that “Dr. Rick” was performing surgical procedures, including abortions. A former porn actor, he preferred to be nude while treating his patients/victims. He was also a follower of the sovereign citizen movement, which believes members are not subject to any government statutes, laws, or proceedings. The case had a surprising twist ending.
Retired agent Terry Kerns served in the FBI for 21 years. Terry, who has a Masters of Science in Nursing and a PhD concentrated in emergency management, worked an array of programs in the FBI; health care fraud, weapons of mass destruction, hazardous materials/bombing, and terrorism investigations.
Her last assignment was as the supervisor on the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Las Vegas, focusing on domestic terrorism investigations. After retiring from her 21 year FBI career, she began her latest journey as the Nevada Office of the Attorney General’s statewide substance abuse/law enforcement coordinator. The primary focus of this position is to address the opioid crisis.
Special Agent (Retired)
1996 – 2017
“Walking into the trailer where Rick Van Thiel was performing these medical procedures, was like walking into a scene from the movie Saw. It was pretty horrifying.”—Retired agent Terry Kerns
Special Agent and Research Fellow (Former)
2012 – 2016
Former agent Bryanna Fox served in the FBI for four years, 3 years as a research fellow in the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico, Virginia and one year as a special agent. As a first office new agent, she completed a rotation that placed her on the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Transnational Organized Crime Squad in the Las Vegas field office.
Currently, Bryanna, who earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of South Florida in Tampa and has published more than 40 peer-reviewed studies and 4 books on evidence-based policing and crime prevention strategies. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The following are links to articles and videos about the investigation of Rick Van Thiel, “Dr. Rick,” the naked fake doctor:
Las Vegas Sun – 6/17/2016: Ex-con accused of practicing medicine without license indicted on felony charges
Don’t Enslave Me -YouTube – 1/24/2013: 15 year old Sebaceous Cyst and Sac Removal on Spine with no Anesthetic – Part 2
Oxygen Network – YouTube: License to Kill Highlights – One-Time Patient Of Rick Van Thiel Opens Up
WTNV Channel 13 – 11/5/2015: Look inside ‘Dr. Rick’s’ medical clinic
Las Vegas Review Journal – 7/24/2017: Man accused of being fake doctor hangs self in Las Vegas jail