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Books, Journals, New Media
January 7, 1998

Sudden Infant DeathThe Death of Innocents: A True Story of Murder, Medicine, and High-Stakes Science

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1998;279(1):85-86. doi:10.1001/jama.279.1.85

Prosecutorial zeal, intellectual arrogance, scientific uncertainty—a fascinating admixture, indeed! These elements are documented extensively in The Death of Innocents, a thoroughly researched and meticulously detailed historical account of several instances of multiple infant deaths in each of three families in upstate rural New York during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. The principal incidents portrayed in this book relate to the deaths of five children of Tim and Wanda Hoyt between 1964 and 1971, all of which were originally ascribed to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The authors, husband and wife award-winning journalists, use the extensive investigation of these bizarre deaths and the eventual murder conviction of Wanda Hoyt in 1995 as a vehicle for an in-depth historical review and analysis of SIDS research in the United States during the last two decades.

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