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Are You There Alone?

Are You There Alone?

The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates

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In the tradition of In Cold Blood, The Executioner's Song, and A Civil Action, Suzanne O'Malley exposes the human mystery of the most horrifying crime in recent history and the legal drama surrounding it.
As a journalist, Suzanne O'Malley began covering the murders of Noah, John, Paul, Luke, and Mary Yates hours after their mother, Andrea Yates, drowned them in their suburban Houston home in June 2001. Over twenty-four months, O'Malley interviewed or witnessed the sworn testimony of more than a hundred participants in this drama, including Yates herself; her husband, Rusty Yates; their families; attorneys; the personnel of the Harris County district attorney's and sheriff's offices; medical staff; friends; acquaintances; and expert witnesses.
O'Malley argues persuasively that under less extraordinary circumstances, a mentally ill woman would have been quietly offered a plea bargain and sent to an institution under court supervision. But on March 12, 2002, Andrea Yates was found guilty of the murders of three of her five children. She is currently serving a life sentence and will not be eligible for parole until 2041.
O'Malley's exclusive personal communications with Andrea Yates and her interviews with Rusty Yates allow her to offer fully realized portrayals of people at the center of this horrifying case.
In "Are You There Alone?" O'Malley makes a critical contribution to our understanding of mental health issues within the criminal justice system.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743266178 | 
  • February 2004
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The Prophecy

A little before 10:00 AM -- 9:56, to be exact -- Russell "Rusty" Yates's cell phone rang in the sixth-floor Shuttle Vehicle Engineering Office he shared with three other National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) employees. It was his wife, Andrea, calling. Not even an hour had passed since he had left her at home with the kids. She'd been sitting at the kitchen table eating Corn Pops out of the box. He'd given her a 300-milligram morning dose of the antidepressant Effexor and, the previous night, a 45-milligram dose of the antidepressant Remeron with a 15-milligram dissolvable Remeron SolTab booster.... see more

About the Author

Suzanne O'Malley

Suzanne O'Malley's investigative reports on the Yates trial appeared in the New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; and on Dateline NBC. She has written for the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, Salon.com, and Texas Monthly, and has been a producer and consultant for NBC and MSNBC. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She lives in New York City and Houston. Visit www.suzanneomalley.com.

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