One year anniversary of Juliet Lee’s passing

Today marks the one year anniversary of Fox 5 DC’s article about the passing of Juliet Lee, which was announced on the MLE website the day before. This remains the only significant information about the shock death, with no additional salient media coverage, autopsies, or criminal investigations having been promulgated since that date. A statement about the passing was picked up by and several other outlets, which gave a date for the tragedy as September 9, 2019. Several social media comments contradicted that infomation, and gave her final date as August 16, 2019.

Searching the Montgomery County (MD) police database for mid-August 2019 events in Germantown, MD (Juliet’s hometown) brings up the following incident on which appears to correspond to Juliet Lee’s passing. The record is of minimal interest until the penultimate field, which is “SUDDENDEATHUNDETERMIND”. [I have redacted the address field even though it has only a street name and lacks a house number]

Direct linking to the entry is not allowed; if you want to view it for yourself, the easiest way is probably to go the police database website and search for Crime Report #190039103. This brings up the question: if the incident was labeled a crime, what was the result of the criminal investigation? Other unanswered questions include:

  • If the August 16 date is accurate, why did 24 days elapse between the tragedy and any announcement of it?
  • Who contacted Major League Eating about the fatality and when was that information provided?
  • Was Juliet Lee transported to a hospital and what medical personnel attended her?
  • Other than the Fox 5 article, why was there minimal media coverage of the incident? As far as I know. the Washington Post (Motto: “Democracy Dies in Darkness”) and its associated social media outlets have made absolutely no mention of Juliet Lee’s passing. (Washington Post search link)
  • Why was the record in the Montgomery County police database categorized as “WORKING CODE” ?
  • Why was Juliet Lee’s husband (or ex-husband), Joe Callow, not mentioned in the statement about her death; Juliet’s daughters are the only relatives mentioned.
  • Juliet Lee’s final video for Major League Eating was uploaded on August 22, six days after August 16. When was that video filmed and who recorded and uploaded it?
  • Why was there was no posting about Juliet Lee’s passing on MLE social media until the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest in July? A post at the bottom of was the sole mention by the organization.

2019 EatFeats post about the fatality. An anonymous comment appears to have some inside information about the incident.

Comments (5)


  1. Reflections said

    September 11, 2020 @ 7:25 am

    This heartbreaking tragedy will likely remain the greatest mystery in all of competitive eating, and that Juliet was a high-ranking, long-time, well-known eater adds to the speculation.

    But we can retain those fond, warm memories of her,
    so that she will always be alive in our hearts and minds.

  2. Anonymous said

    September 11, 2020 @ 8:38 am

    May Juliet Rest in Peace, and may her family find comfort in their good memories. I am suspicious that police cars went to her house though looking into a possible homicide or suicide could be the reason. While this does cast a poor light on Juliet, her death remains a mystery. Her health must have also been not very good and as she seemed to be anorexic. There are other eaters who struggled with the same disease. Juliet did not participate in a large number of contests. In that regard MLE is correct. RIP Juliet Lee.

  3. Anonymous said

    September 11, 2020 @ 10:40 am

    OJ, perhaps I’m wrong, but it feels as if you’re implying that something improper occurred, which I don’t think is the case.

    Juliet Lee led an interesting life but was by no means a widely recognized celebrity. It’s understandable that The Washington Post wouldn’t have its staff write an obituary for her, and if her children didn’t wish to write and pay for a death notice to be published, then we shouldn’t expect to read anything about her death unless it was suspicious. Given their young age and their desire for privacy, which was expressed by one of the commenters whose friend spoke with them, it seems they wished to grieve privately.

    Joe Callow seems not to have been her husband or ex-husband. It was sometimes hard to know the truth about Juliet, but she and Joe told many eaters they weren’t married. On some level it seems to have been easier for them to tell media and strangers that they were married, but in private they often claimed to be just friends. The omission of Joe from the Germantown announcement supports the idea that they were friends not family

    MLE may not have known about her death for quite some time until after they posted her final eating video. It’s hard to imagine that editing those videos is a top priority for them, given that it’s a small part of their competitive eating business, which itself is only a part of their public relations business. A week or two or three to edit and upload it doesn’t strike me as strange, and if word of her passing didn’t reach them until much later, they would have had no reason not to post it.

    Regarding the date of her death: I think it’s wiser to trust the police report, which is corroborated by the commenter who claims that his/her friend spoke with Juliet’s daughters at her salon.

    Untimely deaths are unfortunately common. Nothing improper has to have happened for Juliet’s passing to be unexpected but natural. I’ll just assume that’s what happened and that her daughters wished for privacy.

  4. Anonymous said

    September 11, 2020 @ 10:57 am

    Guys, I think it’s fairly normal to call the police if you find someone dead. Wouldn’t you do it? I would. And then of course a police car would arrive.

  5. Anonymous said

    September 12, 2020 @ 9:23 am

    1040 that is the most sensible thing I’ve ever read on this website and you’re right by all accounts

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