Friday, December 07, 2012

The Death of Co-Author of ‘Three Cups of Tea’ Is Ruled Suicide

Dec 6, 2012 - The Daily Beast

Friends and colleagues mourn the death of David Oliver Redin, who was widely considered innocent of the lying of which his co-author Greg Mortenson was accused, writes Michael Daly.

On Wednesday, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office reached an official determination that David Oliver Relin took his life on Nov. 15 by stepping in front of a freight train outside Portland, Ore.

David Oliver Relin
This 2006 photo shows Greg Mortenson, left, and David Oliver Relin, co-authors of the best-selling book "Three Cups of Tea." (Steven Winslow, Viking / AP Photo)

The 49-year-old coauthor of the bestseller-turned-controversy Three Cups of Tea is said to have driven to the Corbett Hill Road exit of Interstate 84 and left his car in a parking area beside the railroad tracks that run along the Columbia River.

Nearby is a forested area where he had once read to his wife, schoolteacher Dawn Relin, the earliest pages of the book that would become a blessing before it became a blindsiding curse.

In the aftermath of his suicide, Relin’s family said through his literary agent only that he suffered from depression. That struggle could not have been made easier by seeing his first book soar on the strength of his talent and hard work and love of words and attention to detail and lifelong passion for speaking truth for the powerless only to have it all smeared by scandal in which he seemed to have played no witting part.

Relin was so proud of Three Cups of Tea that he dedicated it to his late father, Lloyd Relin, a prominent Rochester attorney who won a landmark bankruptcy case before the Supreme Court and died in 1986. Imagine how the son must have felt last year, when both 60 Minutes and author Jon Krakauer charged Greg Mortenson, Relin’s co-author and the focus of the book, with fabricating significant parts of the story and using charity donations related to the book for his own benefit.

“The first eight chapters of Three Cups of Tea are an intricately wrought work of fiction presented as fact,” Krakauer wrote with palpable indignation in an e-book called Three Cups of Deceit. “And by no means was this an isolated act of deceit. It turns out that Mortenson’s books and public statements are permeated with falsehoods.”

The full, sad story of a literary suicide at The Daily Beast

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