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The Yosemite Murders (True Crime) Mass Market Paperback – January 4, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: True Crime
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (January 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345438345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345438348
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Since he was seven, Cary Stayner had dreamed of capturing women . . . and killing them

They were crimes that grabbed headlines around the world and stunned America. Four women dead, their bodies charred and horribly mutilated. Now Dennis McDougal, acclaimed author of the spellbinding true crime tour de force Mother's Day, brings his considerable investigative and narrative skills to the Yosemite murders to give you the most complete account of what really happened. Drawing on several personal conversations with the confessed killer and interviews with the victims' families, McDougal presents the definitive story, and answers many lingering questions. What demons drove this quiet handyman and nudist colony habitue to burn, mutilate, and murder four women he didn't even know? How did he overpower a woman and two teenaged girls? And most disturbing, did the glory-seeking FBI actually hinder the investigation, leaving the killer free to kill once more before he was caught?

THE YOSEMITE MURDERS offers valuable insight into these savage and senseless murders in the heart of America's most beautiful wilderness.

About the Author

Dennis McDougal, an investigative reporter who worked for the Los Angeles Times for ten years, is the author of several true crime books: In the Best of Families, Angel of Darkness, and Mother's Day. He is also the coauthor of Fatal Subtraction: How Hollywood Really Does Business.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
McDougal once again goes beyond the headlines of a tragic California crime and offers up more information on the Sund/Pelosso/Armstrong murders of Yosemite in 1999 that you will find anywhere else. "The Yosemite Murders" paints the horrifc picture of Cary Stayner, a 37-year-old good-looking slacker who confessed to the killings of four beautiful, meaningful women. This book details the 1972 kidnapping and seven year debacle of Cary's younger brother Steven. Also, McDougal digs into the Stayner background to deliver more information than we have ever read about this poor family. And whether Steven's disappearance and reemergence into a media darling had any impact on Cary's future. He also brings to issue whether or not the FBI may have committed heinous errors and led to the death of an innocent Yosemite employee. McDougal lays the case out in an easy-to-understand order that never panders to the lowest common denominator. This book is FAR from boring. It brings a very complex case into focus and is the necessary text for the federal trial against Stayner later this year. I have read approximately 3,000 true crime books, and without a doubt, "The Yosemite Murders" ranks near the very top.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. McKirdy on July 12, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a reader of True Crime for over a decade. I had watched the "I know my name is Steven" show when I was young and always remembered bits and pieces of it. I specifically searched for that book and found this one as well. I read about Steven Stayner's ordeal first, and then about Cary. I think it's a bummer he wanted so badly to be in the spotlight. Anyway, I found this book to be disappointing. Sure it had all the details of the crimes and how he was apprehended, but there was no ending! I think it's pretty safe to assume this book was published before Cary even went to trial. After I read it, I had to Google the outcome of the case because the book left me hanging. I would like to know what went on during the trial, what extra details came to light, etc. I expect that from a True Crime book, and I really felt like this was an incomplete account of the whole story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
McDougal wrote a high speed page turner alright!I couldn't put this book down! i recomend this book to people who want to know the details of this tradgic murder case. Vivid detail, and what really happend.McDougal stabs at the how,who,what,when,were,how questions and delievers answers to every question you still have, I can almost guarentee that.Not only does it focus on the 4 murders in the beautiful park, but also of Steven Stayner's child hood and what was believed what happenend.Full of facts and even colored pictures of;the 4 victims, Joie Armstrongs cabin, the hotel room the 3 were taken from, and a few more you can't find anywhere else.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jill R. Ballinger on January 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
MCDOUGAL'S chronicle of the Yosemite Murders of Carole and Juli Sund, Silvina Pelosso and Joie Armstrong is a well-researched piece that includes conversations with local law enforcement and residents. The book draws the conclusion without explicity explaining the egotism of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and how that attitude of machismo prevented investigators from locating the alleged killer before he killed again and subsequently confessed to the crimes. McDougal thoughtfully covers the accused killer, Cary Anthony Stayner's, turbulent and well-publicized family, without offending or exploiting its members. Because of the deadline for publication of the book, the trial (which has not yet begun) is not included. People interested in an objective view of the events from February to October of 1999, will find an accurate account in the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By California Dreaming on November 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you believe in curses, and you read the full story about the Stayners (which is available in "Yosemite Murders") you would most likely say, "That family needs to go to New Orleans and find themselves a witch doctor to break this curse! And fast!" And then you'd probably burn some incense for good luck.

But I'm not much of a fan of curses myself, at least as a believer of them -- call me a disbeliever, as there isn't any scientific proof that they have any power at all -- but I suppose you have to wonder a bit after reading this story and following current events. From the kidnapping of Steven Stayner at age seven and his early death on a motorcylce in his early 20s, to the untimely early death of Timothy White -- the other boy that Steven "saved" from a pedophile who died in his mid-30s -- and the murder of Steven's uncle, to the murders and conviction of Cary Stayner, you'd at least have to say, "If it weren't for bad luck, the Stayners would have none at all."

It is interesting to contemplate what might have been if Steven had never been kidnapped, and I'll bet if you could enter an alternative universe where he wasn't, no one today would even have heard of the Stayners outside of Merced. But it was not meant to be, and as they say, you have to play the hand you're dealt. And I would say at this point that the Stayners are terrible card players. Oh sure, Cary might have been able to bluff his way for awhile. But ultimately he was the worst player of all.

And all of the victims of Cary would certainly call him worse than that, I'm assuming, although according to this book, quite a few of the relatives of those killed took the high road.
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More About the Author

With the publication of "Dylan: A Biography" (Turner Publishing, May, 2014), Dennis McDougal has authored a total of eleven books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles in a career that has spanned over 40 years. Currently, he is working on "The Acid Chronicles," a book and documentary film about the renaissance of LSD as a powerful tool in the treatment of mental illness.

Before he began covering movies and media for the Los Angeles Times in 1983 and, more recently, the New York Times, McDougal worked as a staff writer at dailies in Riverside and Long Beach, California. A UCLA graduate, McDougal holds a Bachelor's in English and a Master's in Journalism. He was awarded a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University and spent a year teaching and studying in Palo Alto, Japan and Canada. Over the years, his journalism has won over 50 honors, including the National Headliners and George Peabody Award. He was a producer for CNN during the O.J. Simpson murder trial and co-produced "Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times" (2009) for PBS.

A contributing writer with TV Guide, McDougal has also written for Los Angeles Magazine, Premiere, and the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine.

McDougal has lectured in journalism and creative writing at UCLA, Stanford, and the California State Universities at Fullerton and Long Beach. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Memphis, Tennessee, have five children, and 14 grandchildren.

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