On Nov. 9, 2011, Judy Mikovits, a well-known chronic fatigue syndrome researcher at the center of one of the strangest scientific dramas in recent memory, found herself devising the following plan.
She would have to escape by boat.
There was a man in a car in front of her house in Oxnard, Calif., waiting to serve her with a temporary restraining order demanding the return of stolen property to the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., from which she recently had been fired.
She took the small boat moored behind her house down into the harbor, where she got onto a friend’s sailboat and hid there for five days.
By Nov. 14, Mikovits was back at her Ventura County house, having retained a lawyer who assured her that there was no warrant out for her arrest, Mikovits told me last month in her first interview since her legal trouble began. Yet within one week of that phone call, her doorbell rang. Her husband, David Nolde, answered it, and a female voice spoke from the threshold.
“She said, ‘Is Dr. Judy in? It’s Jaime, I’m a patient, she knows me, she said I could come by any time,’ ” Mikovits recalled. “And I said, ‘It’s okay, David, I’ll take it.