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Andy Neiman Was a Comet Flashing Through the Darkness 

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click to enlarge Andy Neiman with his brother, David, in Austin, Texas in May 2021.  David had traveled from his home in New York to escort Andy to a psychiatric facility in Pennsylvania. Andy's stay there did not go well and he left within days for his sister Emily’s home in High Falls, New York.  Not long after his arrival, Emily took Andy to a hospital in Poughkeepsie. After waiting many hours for attention, Andy left the facility and went missing. His body was found June 19 in the Hudson River. - COURTESY NEIMAN FAMILY
  • COURTESY NEIMAN FAMILY
  • Andy Neiman with his brother, David, in Austin, Texas in May 2021. David had traveled from his home in New York to escort Andy to a psychiatric facility in Pennsylvania. Andy's stay there did not go well and he left within days for his sister Emily’s home in High Falls, New York. Not long after his arrival, Emily took Andy to a hospital in Poughkeepsie. After waiting many hours for attention, Andy left the facility and went missing. His body was found June 19 in the Hudson River.

Neiman checked in and out of St. Mary's psych unit in St. Louis for one-week stays in February and March 2021. Later he would spend five weeks at a treatment center in Tucson, Arizona, then a week at a center in his father's hometown of Austin, Texas.

In May, his brother, David, flew to Austin to escort Neiman to New York and on to a facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Neiman stayed only two days, finding his experience there intolerable.

It was then that he called his sister, Emily. And, of course, he would. They had long been first responders to one another. Emily remembers her year in the eighth grade — "the nadir of my life" — when she visited her brother at Wesleyan for what she called a magical weekend. Andy treated her to all the respect and interest that he showed his peers. Looking back, Emily said her brother had given her "a glimpse of the beautiful and joyous future that awaited me. And I knew my pain would be finite."

Emily urged Andy to take the Amtrak to Poughkeepsie, New York, where she picked him up and brought him to her home in nearby High Falls with her husband, Simon Abramson, and three daughters.

click to enlarge Andy with his brother David and sister Emily. - COURTESY NEIMAN FAMILY
  • COURTESY NEIMAN FAMILY
  • Andy with his brother David and sister Emily.

As Emily remembers, her brother woke her about 3:30 a.m. on May 21 in deep distress, saying he had poison all over his body and needed to go to the hospital. The two jumped into her vehicle and arrived about 30 minutes later at the emergency room at MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie.

Because of COVID-19 protocols, Emily could not accompany her brother beyond the ER waiting room. She was told that Neiman would be admitted to the psychiatric unit by 4 o'clock that afternoon. Emily later learned that her brother was kept waiting well past that time, and, in fact, was never admitted. At 9:30 p.m., police in Poughkeepsie called Emily to tell her that her brother had gone missing a half hour earlier from the ER, wearing hospital scrubs and slippers. He had left behind his glasses, shoes, phone and ID.

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