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24 November 2011

Cam Lyman (1932 – 1987) aristocrat, dog breeder.

Camilla Lyman was born to an old and rich Boston family. Her father, Arthur T. Lyman was well-connected and served as Massachusetts commissioner of corrections and commissioner of conservation at different times. Camilla’s mother, Susan Cabot Lyman, let her know that she was an unwanted child.  Camilla was a breeder of champion Clumber spaniels, and had a professional handler’s license, but usually showed only her own dogs and those of a few friends.

Lyman's father died in 1968, and as Cam he started dressing male. He grew a thin mustache and his hair started thinning. It is assumed that he was taking steroids prescribed for the dogs. He legally changed his name to ‘Cam’ in 1985. He also became more erratic, and became infamous for outbursts at dog shows, especially when his dogs lost. The care of the kennels slipped.

Clumber spaniels
He disappeared in 1987, presumably murdered, the dogs simply abandoned. George O’Neil who had power-of-attorney and handled his every-day business later reported that a phone call with him ended abruptly, and that he later found the phone ripped from the wall and the doors open.

However Lyman’s disappearance was unreported to the police for over a year. For nine years after that, the only police involvement was a missing-person report. The estate was never searched, no-one was questioned. The family hired a Boston private eye who concluded that Lyman had been dead since his disappearance. This was used in probate court to enable the estate to be sold.

Cam’s body was found in 1997 in the septic tank on his estate on Rhode Island by the new owners. He left behind 58 dogs and a $1.9 million trust fund. O’Neil was later charged with illegally draining the trust.

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