Cam Lyman

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Cam Lyman
Born
Camilla Lowell Lyman

(1932-09-04)4 September 1932
Disappeared1987 (aged 54-55)
StatusDeclared dead in absentia
1995
Body discoveredDecember 1997
NationalityAmerican
OccupationDog breeder

Cam Lyman (September 4, 1932 – sometime between 1987–1995), born Camilla Lowell Lyman in Westwood, Massachusetts, was a multimillionaire breeder of champion Clumber Spaniels and Bernese Mountain Dogs who notably died under mysterious circumstances. Lyman's father was Arthur T. Lyman, a prominent Bostonian and scion of the wealthy Lyman family who made their money in the China Trade and later in cotton mills and the cotton trade. Lyman was a trans man. The Independent reported that, as a middle aged adult, Lyman was "known to acquaintances as a man" and cultivated "a male identity".[1] Lyman's family members, however, have contended that there is no evidence that Lyman ever received sexual reassignment surgery and that therefore he should still be considered a woman.[2] Lyman disappeared in 1987 and was declared dead in 1995.[3]

Biography[edit]

Lyman bred and trained Clumber Spaniels and Bernese Mountain Dogs and was well known for being talented but rather reclusive. Beginning around 1978, when he moved from the family estate "Ricefields" on Thacher Street in Westwood Massachusetts to a home in Rhode Island, Lyman began to wear men's clothing, cut his hair short, and reportedly took steroids and grew a mustache. By 1985, he had the typical appearance of a male and went by the first name Cam. It was during this time that Lyman began to associate with a man named George O'Neil. O'Neil became caretaker of Lyman's estate and fed, showed, and took care of his dogs.

In 1987, Lyman's relatives failed to receive the customary Christmas card from him. They investigated his disappearance and discovered that no one had seen or heard from Lyman in months. Police questioned George O'Neil, who claimed that in the summer of 1987, he and Lyman had a fight over the phone about the dogs, and Lyman hung up on him. The next day, O'Neil went over to Lyman's house and found the phone ripped out of the wall and the doors wide open. O'Neil claimed that he believed Lyman had gone to Europe to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. However, O'Neil failed to provide police any proof that Lyman had gone to Europe. O'Neil also failed to explain why he had not informed anyone of Lyman's disappearance for nearly six months.

In December 1997, Lyman's body was found in a septic tank on his estate in Hopkinton, Rhode Island by owners who had recently purchased the house.[4][5] His final will named the American Kennel Club's Museum of the Dog as the sole beneficiary.[1]

The story was featured on Unsolved Mysteries, but as of 2011 no one has ever been charged in the case.[6][7]

In 2003, George O'Neil was indicted for embezzling $15,000 from Cam Lyman's estate. He was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $450 in court costs.[citation needed] He died in 2011 without giving any more information on Cam Lyman's death.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Transvestite's millions go to the dogs". Independent Online. July 6, 1999. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  2. ^ Mehren, Elizabeth (December 30, 1994). "Mystery Shrouds Millionaire's Disappearance Enigma". Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ Gerald M. Carbone (June 2, 1995). "Missing millionaire Cam Lyman declared dead". Providence Journal.
  4. ^ Terrence Petty (December 27, 1997). "Transvestite Death A Mystery". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  5. ^ "The Human Skeletal Remains Found In A Septic Tank". Daily News. December 27, 1997. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  6. ^ TV show yields possible clues in case of the murdered Boston heiress, Boston News, August 9, 1999 AP
  7. ^ "Lyman Story To Appear On Tv Program". Sun Journal. April 2, 1999.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hélèna Katz, Cold Cases: Famous Unsolved Mysteries, Crimes, and Disappearances in America, pp. 333–338, ABC-CLIO, 2010