Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"No Regrets," Says Boy Who Killed Sweetheart

April 20, 1947
Los Angeles

For as long as there’s been a highway into the hills, young lovers have gone up into Angeles National Forest on Saturday nights to be alone in the dark. Gerald Snow Welch brought his beloved Dolores Fewkes, 16-year-old Montebello High student, to the deserted Horse Flats picnic grounds. He also brought his .22 rifle.

What Welch swore was a suicide pact went awry when both shells he had brought proved necessary to extinguish the young lady’s existence. In fact, he had to beat her roundly with both stock and barrel of his gun to finish the job. Then he carried her body down the mountain to the cops, stated his “purpose in life had been completed,” and expressed impatience for the State to execute him.

From suicide watch in a padded Pasadena Police Station cell, Welch told officers that it was he who wished to die; Dolores had begged to join him. His depression could immediately be blamed on three miserable months spent in the Navy, which culminated in a medical discharge. In service, suffering “religious disillusionment,” Welch came to doubt the things he’d been told in Sunday school. He went to the library and read Plato, Schopenhauer and Emerson. In Schopenhauer, he found justification for suicide. Bu the roots of Welch’s troubles go back a decade, when the then-eight-year-old saw a neighbor, fleeing police after murdering her husband, blow her brains out in front of him.

Welch said he loved Miss Fewkes and longed to join her in heaven. For now, he appreciated the padded cell, a quiet place where he could be alone with his thoughts. And if the State declined to kill him, he would be happy to finish the job himself.


Dee said...

As I was working on a photo project, scanning family pictures, my yearning to know my aunt Dolores Fewkes, who I never knew, took me to a Google search, where I found this article. I would hope any passing readers do not automaticly believe the words of the sick man who said Dolores wanted to die with him. At the same time, I have no absolute knowledge to the contrary.

Her photos that I have scanned for my siblings are of a beautiful young lady, which tugs at the heart strings. I feel robbed for not having known her, or the cousins that might have been.

It is my hope that I will "join her in heaven" with my other loved ones there. The only thing that may prevent this, I suppose, is if I do not forgive the sick man who took her life. So I do so publicly, and knowing God will deal with him justly.

brookey62 said...

hey my name is brooke fewkes
i was just reading your blog and wondring if that is true and did you know that fewkes?
please reply

trent said...

the girl was my sister. she had broken up with this sick jerk but agreed to one more date. It was her last.

Kim said...

In February 2007, Dolores Clark, niece of Dolores Fewkes, emailed 1947project to share the following remarks: "I recently asked my mother to tell me all that she can remember surrounding the circumstances of the death of her younger sister Dolores, who was killed a few years before I was born. Mom says that Dolores was a happy, well adjusted and vivacious girl. "Full of life" is the term she used. She had dated Gerald for a time, but Dolores complained that he was way too possessive of her, so she broke up with him. She told my mom that she wanted to date around-- that 16 is too young settle down with one boy. Dolores only agreed to this one last "date" with Gerald because he told her he had a surprise for her. Dolores left the house that night with Gerald believing that that "surprise" had something to do with being participants on some radio show together. So, if you want the truth, this is it. Because my mom never lies."

Unknown said...

My mom...Golden Megarit (her maiden name) was best friends with Dolores and was haunted by Dolores's murder for the rest of her life.

See, Dolores came to my Mom and told her about the suicide pact, and begged my Mom not to tell anyone. My Mom, after much discussion with Dolores, agreed to keep silent, a decision that she has regretted her entire life. 16 and 17 years old girls often have a misguided sense of loyalty.

We found Dolores's Rose Hills funeral card...the greeting card type that they hand to people walking in to the funeral. My Mom had written at the top of the card...4-23-47...which I am assuming was the day of the funeral.

My Mom told my sister and I of the entire incident about 42 years ago when we were in our teens. She was distraught even then, telling us how she should have gone and told someone of the plan.

She said Dolores was the kindest and sweetest girl she had ever known.