In the Best of Families: The Anatomy of a True Tragedy

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On a cool California evening in the exclusive ocean community of Palos Verdes Estates, a police cruiser pulled up to 2019 Via Visalia, a rambling ranch house nestled in the hillside. Inside, the police found a shattered pair of eyeglasses, a bloody pile of clothes, and the naked body of a middle-aged woman that showed signs of being raped and beaten. In the hours that followed, two astonishing facts would come to light: that the woman's husband was the personal attorney to President Ronald and First Lady Nancy ...
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In the Best of Families: The Anatomy of a True Tragedy

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Overview

On a cool California evening in the exclusive ocean community of Palos Verdes Estates, a police cruiser pulled up to 2019 Via Visalia, a rambling ranch house nestled in the hillside. Inside, the police found a shattered pair of eyeglasses, a bloody pile of clothes, and the naked body of a middle-aged woman that showed signs of being raped and beaten. In the hours that followed, two astonishing facts would come to light: that the woman's husband was the personal attorney to President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan. And that her younger son Michael was the prime suspect in her murder. The crime made the national news wires and rocked the conservative community of Palos Verdes. But the story behind the murder was that of a family tormented by a dark, painful secret destined to end in tragedy. Dennis McDougal, an acclaimed Los Angeles Times reporter and the author of Angel of Darkness, the account of serial murderer Randy Kraft, takes us on a frightening journey into the Miller family's world. From Roy and Marguerite Miller's impeccable, conservative, and religious California background to the well-heeled childhoods of their sons Jeffrey and Michael, from Roy's rise as a prominent Los Angeles attorney and his connection to Ronald Reagan's famous "kitchen cabinet," and Marguerite's obsessions with healthy food and holistic medicine, the Millers sought to build a bastion of success, family values, and spiritual enlightenment. But slowly and steadily both of their sons were dragged down by an insidious, dark force marked by violent behavior, religious and sexual ravings, and outright paranoia. First one, then the other of Marguerite Miller's sons were stricken with schizophrenia. As each boy descended into his personal hell, Marguerite, who had never missed a PTA meeting or a school recital, turned to a succession of holistic health cures - including expensive treatments with health food and hypnotherapy. But at age 23, older son Jeffrey Miller, once an overachiev

The author of the critically acclaimed Angel of Darkness delivers a true and tragic story of suicide, matricide, and violent mental illness among the rich--a horrifying tale reminiscent of the recent Menendez murders. Eight pages of photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Clearly Roy Miller, a California tax attorney whose clients include Ronald and Nancy Reagan, is a professional success. But his family life is quite another story. In the picture presented by McDougal, his wife was an obsessive nutritionist and a smothering mother. Their older son, Jeff, who majored in religion at college, became a religious fanatic and, hospitalized for schizophrenia, committed suicide. Then an even greater tragedy struck when the younger son, Michael, raped and murdered his mother in 1983. Michael had been treated for schizophrenia for several years and, after a number of sanity hearings, was tried and found guilty but insane. He has been institutionalized for 10 years and his prognosis is dismal. McDougal ( Angel of Darkness ) had to fight for access to the court records, which had been sealed at the request of both the prosecution and the defense, one suspects because of the prominent figures involved. This is a compelling tale of the destruction of a family by mental illness. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446516723
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 330
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 1.21 (d)

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