Patrick James Tyler was born July 13, 1972, in Starkville, Mississippi. His father, James, was a family doctor, and his mother, Maureen, was a medical clerk.
It seemed like the idyllic American dream complete with a white picket fence in front of their new suburban home. But in 1974, Maureen gave birth to their second son, Stanley, who contracted an infection that developed into meningitis. Despite the doctors' best efforts, the infant died a month after birth.
After Stanley's death, Maureen Tyler was twice admitted to the hospital for overdosing on tranquilizers and regularly consulted a psychiatrist. When Patrick was 10, his mother returned to part-time work as an assistant at the local dentist's office, which reportedly helped ease Maureen's grief-induced seclusion.
Meanwhile, James Tyler spent more hours at work, and within five years was appointed chief of family medicine.
Once Patrick started school, he did well academically, although report cards often noted he didn't talk much in class and disliked participating in sports. Dr. Tyler frequently boasted to golfing buddies about Patrick's grades and claimed Patrick was headed for a high-flying career as a heart surgeon. Sure enough, Patrick's grades earned him a full scholarship to the University of Mississippi.
In Oxford, Patrick settled into independent life. Classmates recall he was funny and a caring confidant when it came to affairs of the heart. He met Delilah Glenn in one of his science classes, and the two became friends. Delilah introduced him to all her friends, whom he "dated like a real gentleman," she recalls.
In the spring of 1991, Patrick enrolled in the Peace Corps and served for three years. He returned with Natalie Smith, a fellow volunteer who'd grown up in Houston, Texas. They settled in Miami, where Natalie was set to practice immigration law, and married in June of 1997.
Natalie was "a real go-getter," and billed 3,230 hours in her first year as an associate. Patrick found a job as a researcher at pharmaceutical company, but he quit in 2000 without having advanced up the corporate ladder.
He took a part-time job helping administer the local blood bank, admitting to his colleagues that he enjoyed being "a kept man," even as Natalie complained to her fellow associates that her husband was lazy.
The marriage reached a crisis point when Patrick discovered Natalie in bed with a colleague from her firm. Patrick wanted to divorce without contest, but one of his friends insisted on donating his time for Patrick's case. Legal documents show Patrick was ultimately awarded $250,000 in late 2003, along with his divorce papers.
After the divorce, Patrick returned to Oxford and rented a room from Cyrus Wheatley, an old college friend, and found a job in the information center at Baptist Memorial Hospital. In 2006, Patrick bought a house in the same Whitehall neighborhood where Cyrus and his old friend Delilah both lived
In addition to volunteering for Oxford's Meals on Wheels and bowling in the local league, Patrick is also active in the neighborhood's homeowners association, despite his unsuccessful runs for HOA office. He attends all of the meetings and organizes get-togethers for the residents.