LAW & CRIME

We Thought We Knew You: A Terrifying True Story of Secrets, Betrayal, Deception, and Murder

Kensington. Dec. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781496728814. $26. CRIME
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When Mary Yoder arrived at her chiropractor practice on July 20, 2015, she was her usual self. Later, Mary began experiencing severe gastrointestinal distress. Two days later she was dead, with colchicine found in her system. Her husband and fellow chiropractor, Bill Yoder, could have ordered the heavily regulated drug, but an anonymous letter informed the police that possible evidence could be found in a jeep belonging to Bill and Mary’s son, Adam. However, detectives instead focused on a different suspect: Katie Conley, Adam’s ex-girlfriend, who kept her job as the Yoders’ office manager despite her tumultuous relationship with their son. Phelps (Beautifully Cruel) makes it clear that he’s not penning a whodunit—once investigators focused on Conley, digital forensic evidence uncovered her research into colchicine and her fraudulent purchase of it as well as her plan to blame Adam for the crime. Phelps depicts Conley as a narcissist who feared losing control of Adam, and the book stridently calls out social media efforts to overturn her conviction of manslaughter.
VERDICT The author’s anger at Conley’s glamorization within the true crime community is palpable. Still, though this isn’t the balanced account some might prefer, he presents the evidence competently.
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