Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Pasadenan Enters Mortuary, Drinks Poison, Falls Dead

May 31, 1947

Mrs. Vida Dell, employed by Ives & Warren Mortuary at 100 N. Hill Ave., is used to dealing with the dead and the bereaved. But she wasn't prepared for today's frugal visitor, Joseph Arthur Rawles, who apparently saw no point in incuring the cost of two rides in a hearse.

The 70-year-old jewelry store worker, despondent over poor health and fading eyesight, entered the mortuary, tapped on the office glass to get Mrs. Dell's attention, then drank from a bottle of poison and collapsed. A note on his body explained Rawles' reasons. The deceased lived at 650. N. Madison Ave.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Olivia de Havilland's 'Advisor' Lands in Jail

May 30, 1947

“Psst! Olivia de Havilland! “Operations Everything” is off!”

That’s the happy news police gave today to the Academy award-winning actress, with the arrest of her self-styled advisor, Paul Randall, a 34-year-old artist from Chicago who has been inundating de Havilland with unsolicited advice letters signed “St. Paul” or with a creepy P-in-a-circle motif.

The letters were followed by recent telegrams announcing Randall’s imminent arrival in Los Angeles and demanding de Havilland meet him “alone.” Today he angrily phoned de Havilland’s agent Kurt Frints to protest her failure to meet him at Municipal Airport. He told Frints that he was in town to carry out “Operations Everything,” and that Miss de Havilland, whom he had met twelve years ago when they were doing theatrical work (in Van Nuys, no less), would understand what he meant. He intended to wait at 1738 N. Las Palmas Avenue, where “she better see me.”

Instead it was detectives who came to take a look at St. Paul in his new digs in Hollywood Jail. They wired Chicago for more information, and asked that police psychiatrist Dr. Paul De River examine him. Olivia de Havilland denies knowing her visitor.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Polar Climate Changes Viewed As Menacing

May 29, 1947

At a seminar of the Geophysical Institute of the University of California today, professor Hans W. Ahlmann of the Swedish Geographical Institute, Stockholm warned that profound temperature changes are affecting the North Polar region, and possibly the world. Dr. Ahlmann bases his conclusions on expeditions to the region starting in 1919. Since 1900, water temperatures have risen 3-5 degrees Fahrenheit, and air temperatures are as much as ten degrees higher. This has triggered the melting of glaciers and the incremental rise of the nearby seas.

Ahlmann warned the group of scientists, “If the Antarctic ice regions and the major Greenland ice cap should be reduced to the same rate as the present melting, oceanic surfaces would rise to catastrophic proportions. Peoples living in lowlands along the shore would be inundated.” He urged his colleagues to discover the reasons for these mysterious changes, which are, he believes, already affecting the weather in Eastern Africa.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

House Damaged By Girls' Pony

May 28, 1947

Two little West Covina girls found themselves wondering today if a pony would ever go into a house, and what might happen if it did. They acted out their fancy within the unfinished El Rancho Estates home of Mrs. Bernie M. Osborn, causing $258 in hoof damage to the new linoleum. Sheriff's deputies from the San Dimas substation detained the young equestrians, while the patient Mrs. Osborn declined to press charges until she had a chance to talk with the girls' parents.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Rancher's Shotgun Kills 'Terror' Of Orchardale

May 27, 1947

For the past six weeks, the more nervous citizens of the Orchardale neighborhood (near Whittier) have shuddered at the thunder of a huge animal racing around their homes, yards and nearby farmland by night, never straying close enough to be clearly seen.

That all ended tonight, when Victor S. Moffett, of 2102 Valley View, set a trap at the edge of his orchard, laying down a quantity of feed and lurking in the darkness with his shotgun loaded with high powered shells. Whatever was out there, he was ready for it. The animal suddenly appeared, Moffett fired and... felled a 400 pound wild hog sporting three-inch tusks. The Terror of Orchardale was no more.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Nazis' Victim Convicted in Slaying of Publisher

May 26, 1947
Los Angeles

Angelenos will recall the shocking case of linotype operator Otto P. Parzyjegla, 38, who on February 15 killed his boss, Alfred Haij, publisher of the Swedish newspaper California Veckoblad, in the paper’s print shop at 821 W. Venice Blvd. and dismembered him with a blade from the paper cutter.

The two men had been arguing for weeks, and February 15 was to be Parzyjegla’s last day, with a new operator due to arrive from San Francisco. Parzyjegla claimed that despite his being let go, he still took his job seriously.

Parzyjegla: I told Haij that the linotype machine needed attention. All of a sudden he ran wild and said, “You dirty German, you aren’t going to run my business.”

Parzyjegla, who is a Russian-born Pole, was held prisoner in a German concentration camp, during which incarceration he was tortured by standing in a fake execution by firing squad. He claims that being called a German, and a dirty one at that, triggered a dreamlike flashback state, during which he beat his employer to death. Then he pinched and hit himself, hoping to wake up, and realized it was real.

Within minutes, several people walked into Haij’s office asking for the publisher. Parzyjegla said that he was out, and locked the door. All day, Parzyjegla sat in the print shop with Haij’s body, wondering what to do. “Finally I thought of the blade on the paper cutter.” Wrapping rags around the blade, Parzyjegla dismembered Haij and packed the parts into cartons, cleaned the floor and burned the rags, Then he went home to 415 W. Jefferson Blvd., his 21-year-old wife and infant child. Around midnight, having been unable to sleep, Parzyjegla returned to the print shop with idle thoughts of disposing of the body—maybe he could rent a car, take it someplace—but police, alerted when Haij failed to return home to 1445 S. Hayworth Ave., were already in the vicinity.

Radio Patrolmen B.H. Brown and A.J. Drobatz spotted Parzyjegla in front of 1609 Cherry St., in the act of tossing Haij’s watch away, and observing his cut hand, took him to the print shop. There Parzyjegla promptly confessed and acted out the assault and dismemberment.

Noting that one of the anonymous Black Dahlia confession letters had clearly been prepared in a print shop, Captain Jack Donahoe of Homicide Division expressed interest in Parzyjegla and arranged a line up where six recent female assault victims tried and failed to recognize him.

In Superior Court today, in a juryless trial before Judge William R. McKay, Parzyjegla repeated that since 1939 he has been subject to black outs and “seeing red,” which he claims that he did before striking Haij. McKay convicted Parzyjegla of second degree murder, and invited him back on Thursday for sentencing of between five years and life.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

House Safe Job Nets Burglars $200,000 Haul

May 25, 1947
Los Angeles

Next time his brother Lawrence asks if he can put a safe in his bedroom closet and fly out periodically on his private plane to rummage around in it, Archie Bardin will probably say “nix.” Archie and the missus came home from a day at the beach to find their house at 8655 Airdrome Ave. filled with smoke, a souvenir from the acetylene torch burglars had used to gain access to the floor safe after climbing through a bathroom window.

Detective Harold B. Williams asked about the safe’s contents, only to learn Archie had no clue. Whatever rested inside—cash and securities, Archie thought-- was the property of brother Larry, general manager of the Indianapolis Brewing Company. A call to Indianapolis revealed the missing cabbage to number 250,000 leaves.

The missus told Detective Williams about two strange phone calls received yesterday, from an anonymous, accented caller, but otherwise clues were scarce. Police reckon the crooks knew the location and contents of the safe, which implies the answers will be found in Indiana.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Actor, Doused With Water From Hose, Isn't Amused

May 24, 1947

Homeowners, it's like this: you own your home; the sidewalk and the curb and the street belong to everybody!

Earl Richard Casper, I'm talking to you. What were you thinking, hovering around in front of your pad at 833 N. Cahuenga, arguing with Ted Stanhope (45, occupation: thespian) over how he was parking his car? Turning your hose on Stanhope's engine, killing it and ensuring that both he and the offending machine would remain right there--the former now in a state of indignation? And blasting Stanhope with the hose when he got out of his car to protest?

Casper, you're lucky he just rassled with you on the lawn, took the hose away and called the cops. Next time, can't you just be a normal uptight freak, lurk behind the curtains and mouth bad words?

Monday, May 23, 2005

May 23, 1947
North Hollywood

L. Bruce Bryan is sharper than a serpent’s tooth--or so suggests the preliminary injunction granted today by Superior Court Judge Frank G. Swain, barring Bryan, a writer, from annoying, molesting or evicting his mother Mrs. Ethel Bryan for a period of six weeks, at which date the Bryans will reconvene in court to seek a legal ruling on their three-generation dispute.

Seems Ethel and her 17-year-old grandson (and adopted son) Bruce ponied up $1650 towards the purchase of a home at 6424 Riverton St., North Hollywood. L. Bruce, a writer, and his new wife Katherine put in $350 towards the total cost of $11,750.

Grandma and grandson moved in with the understanding that this would be their permanent residence, but the minority owners began a campaign of harassment, moving Ethel’s bed into a one-room building in back of the house, physically carrying her out of the house in February (she called the cops) and forcing her to sign a document agreeing to pay room and board in the amount of $60 a month until her $1650 stake in the house was exhausted. The last straw was when they changed the locks (on Mother’s Day!) thus denying her access to kitchen and bathroom and forcing her to withdraw from the property.

Through the case filed by Attorney Maurice M. Grudd, Ethel seeks a formal statement of her rights and a ban on further attempts by her son to dispossess her.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Man Claiming Wife's Murder Kills Himself

May 22, 1947

Before shooting himself in the head today, 29-year-old carpenter Rollin Albert Starkey told his mother-in-law, Mrs. Myrtle Foley, that he had choked her daughter Betty in their cabin near Lake Arrowhead. As if unsure that he could count on a woman to do anything, he then phoned police telling them much the same thing.

Investigators J.E. Hamilton and C.J. Bright of Harbor Police Station reported that Starkey confessed that several days earlier he had killed Mrs. Starkey while they were at their Dogwood Canyon cabin making repairs, and had returned to their home at 1610 N. Marine Ave., Wilmington yesterday. By the time officers arrived at the Marine Ave. apartment, Starkey was near death with a bullet in the brain; he died soon after at Wilmington Receiving Hospital.

San Bernardino Sheriff James W. Stocker sent Chief Criminal Deputy Harry Heap up to Dogwood Canyon to have a look. In the Starkey cabin, Heap discovered the deceased Mrs. Starkey, sprawled on the living room floor in an incongruous costume of playsuit, sandals and fur coat, a noose made from a pair of nylon stockings around her throat. There were no signs of a struggle in the cabin.

The cause and further circumstances of the murder and what Starkey had been doing since committing it remain mysterious. If Mrs. Foley knows anything more, she’s not talking.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Arrested Man Sues Turf Club

May 21, 1947
Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia

John A. Gordon, 67, retired hardware merchant who came to Los Angeles from Chicago a decade ago, filed suit against the Los Angeles Turf Club today in Los Angeles Superior Court. He claims he was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted following a January 23 incident when Arcadia Police Officer William S. Orr and two race track detectives detained him at the track on charges of vagrancy.

At the time, Gordon says, he had more than $1000 in his possession. Gordon claims Orr & co. offered to drop the charges if he would agree they had probable cause to arrest him; when he refused, they countered that they would instead charge him with bookmaking, and did just that. When the case went to trial in Pasadena, Peace Justice J.R. Morton dismissed it for lack of evidence that Gordon had accepted a $6 bet.

Gordon is resident of 502 W. Maple St., Monrovia, painfully near to the scene of his humilation.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Ex-Stage Drives Dies in Auto Crash

May 19, 1947
El Centro

George Hornbeck, rancher, who in his youth drove the Imperial Valley stagecoach, was killed today when his car collided with one driven by Jesus Q. Arizaga, 22.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Auto Smashes Into Trolley

May 18, 1947
Los Angeles

Passengers on the "O" line streetcar had their peaceful passage disturbed today when an automobile, estimated to be traveling 60 mph, smashed into the back of the trolley as Motorman Charles Carringer, 33, of 2451 3/4 Daly Street was about to pull away from a stop at College and North Main Streets.

Passenger Antonio V. Castillo, 30, of 618 S. Ferris Street, was killed instantly. The driver, Paul Z. Guerrero, 25, of 184 Darwin Street, was taken to the General Hospital prison ward, where he was treated for lacerations before being booked on a charge of manslaughter. Mr. Castillo has the posthumous distinction of being the county's 300th traffic fatality.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

New Black Dahlia Products Available

Greetings, 1947project aficionados,

In addition to our popular Black Dahlia T-shirts, we've added a line of mouse pads, mugs, tote bags, beer steins and baby bibs. Because as Nathan pointed out, "if there's one thing I will not abide, it's a baby spilling its beer on itself." Nor should you.

Many G.I.'s Fiancees May Be Left Behind

May 17, 1947

The American Consule today stated that many American soldiers seeking permission to bring their German and Austrian fiancees home to the United States had applied too late and would be disappointed.

Under the Soldier-Fiancee Act which Congress passed last June, a former soldier was permitted to bring a woman he intended to wed into the U.S. up until July 1, 1947, where the woman could remain legally for up to three months as a nonimmigrant visitor. If the couple did not marry within that time, her status would lapse.

Almost 700 fiancees have entered the States, while 6000 other cases have been approved, are in process, or have already been denied, with more denials anticipated.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Father Freed In Gun Slaying

May 16, 1947
Los Angeles

A Coroner's Jury today returned a verdict of justifiable homicide in the case against Olin Bray, 53, of 11407 State Street, Lynwood. Last May 12, Bray was working in his garden while his daughter Zula and her husband, Virgil Lawson, 38, visited with Bray's wife Veda. Hearing raised voices in the house, Bray ran in to find Lawson striking the women. Bray retrieved a revolver from under his pillow and fired two shots. These fatally struck Lawson, whose widow corroborated her father's testimony before the jury today.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Family With 11 Children Loses Battle For Home

May 15, 1947

Mrs. Jessie Brink, 41, today lost her civil suit before Pasadena Superior Court Judge Paul Norse, charging unlawful eviction of herself and her 11 children from their residence at 2007 Hulbert St., South Pasadena, last June 27. The court ruled that owner Emily Stockton was within her rights to remove the Brinks, because their tenancy was more that of guests than of renters.

The children include 23-year-old Mrs. Vivian Cornellson, John, 18, Betty, 16, Richard, 12, Ruth, 10, Billy, 8, John, 6, Roy, 4, Connie, 3, Phyllis, 2, and Linda, 3 months. Betty used to have a twin brother, Bobby, but he drowned in 1946 while the family was in Colorado harvesting peaches.

The husband of the family, machinist James, says he is searching for a home within his means. For now, the Brinks' relief check can be sent to General Delivery, Burbank, as the family remains officially homeless (not counting that 60-acre ranch they own back in Oklahoma).

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Escaped Felon Caught Here

May 14, 1947
Los Angeles

Last Sunday, William Harold Evans was one of three San Quentin prisoners who walked away from a Modoc County road crew. FBI agents found him just two hours after his arrival in Los Angeles, at the home of Miss Alexie Goldworthy, 185 W. 39th Street. The convict, a self-styled osteopath serving time for forgery, had been corresponding with the lady from his prison cell.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Day-Old Baby Found Slain

May 13, 1947

Housepainter Robert Snow of 4141 W. 170th St., Lawndale just wanted to do some exterior prep on the vacant house at 465 N. Laurel, readying it for the new owner--then he found the corpse of a baby girl in the shrubs by the driveway. There goes the work day. The Coroner determined that the full-term infant had been born elsewhere, and died from strangulation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mother of Three Choked to Death; Body Flung in Signal Hill Oil Field

May 12, 1947
Long Beach

While driving to his post early this morning, oil company patrolman Bert Winfield made a ghastly discovery, just a block from busy Long Beach Blvd. There in the dirt of the oil field was the body of a woman, still warm and apparently but recently hurled from an automobile. The victim’s clothing included one open-toed white shoe, a three-quarter length black coat and a cotton garrote around her neck.

Seeking to identify her, reporters on the Long Beach newpaper police beat canvased local dry cleaners about a laundry mark on her coat and got a name: Mrs. Laura Eliza Trelstad, 37. Soon they had a husband, too: Ingman Trelstad, 34, 2211 Locust Ave.--just a dozen blocks from his wife's dump site in the 3400 block of Locust.

Ingman Trelstad described his last encounter with his wife for Long Beach Det. Capt. Lorin Q. Martin. The couple had been playing cards with some friends in the late afternoon, and Mrs. Trelstad grew bored. If he was going to play cards, she said, then she was going to a dance. Mr. Trelstad went home to cook dinner for the couple's three children, Audrey, 8, Janet, 7, and Thomas, 3. When Mrs. Trelstad failed to return home, he said he couldn't go out and look for her, as there was no one else to watch the children.

Meanwhile, Coroner's Surgeon Frederick Newbarr made a preliminary examination of the body and announced that Mrs. Trelstad had been sexually assaulted before death. Police called for the public to be on the look out for the missing white shoe, which might be at a primary crime scene. They also requested that anyone who might have seen Mrs. Trelstad at a dance last night come forward to give a statement.

Fight With Police Jails Diana Barrymore, Mate

May 11, 1947
Louisville, KY

If John Robert Howard can't make his young bride Diana Barrymore behave, why should he think that Louisville's police can control her? Howard was also in rude form, early this morning, when officers found the couple honking their car horn at an intersection. Patrolmen John Shepherd and Walker Zettooh stopped to ask what the trouble was, and the car sped off, stopping at the next corner.

The officers followed, but found the Howards unwilling to enter into a dialogue. That's when, if you believe the Howards, officers "knocked down" the lady and hit her husband "with a club." Police counter that the couple verbally insulted the officers, while an unidentified companion sought to calm them. Diana slapped at the officers, so they started to put her in their patrol car, at which point John protested and in the ensuing scuffle was slapped by Zettwooh.

Released from County Jail today on $100 cash bond each after a three hour visit, the young marrieds returned to their quarters at the Louisville Boat Club, where Mr. Howard was recently hired as the tennis pro.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Fugitive Blimp Brought Down After Wild Chase

May 9, 1947
Los Angeles

For several weeks, Harry Hasley has been minding the barrage balloon that floated 300 feet over the Pan-Pacific Auditorium bearing an ad for the current show. It was quiet work, sleepy really... until tonight. The balloon broke free of its nylon tether and while Harry watched helplessly, floated off on the northwest wind.

Numerous city agencies, including the LAPD, Sheriff and Airway Traffic Control began nervously monitoring the blimp's unpredictable progress, concerned that it might stray into the airspace of Los Angeles Municipal Airport.

When the errant bubble finally bobbed to earth, it was spotted by Sheriff's Deputies William O'Keefe and Kennth Hancock, who caught up with it at 105th Street and Wilmington, in the Firestone Park district. By the time Harry Hasley arrived, the deputies had released the remaining helium and folded the runaway gasbag for the trip back to the Pan-Pacific.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Wife Says Mate, Booked, Threw Knife At Child

May 8, 1947
Los Angeles

It is commonly believed that a wife is supposed to support her husband's aspirations. 23-year-old Charles F. Coulter was a mechanic who sought to develop his knife-throwing skills--by throwing knives at baby Danny's high-chair--while baby Danny was strapped in.

Quite an act, and on the first go-round the kid didn't get a scratch, but that didn't appease Charles' grandmother Mrs. S. Nelson or his wife Evelyn, who sought to restrain the would-be carney. In the ensuing fracas, grandma took a tumble. Amidst much screaming, sheriffs came. They booked Charles on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, and so ended a promising career.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Shots At Family Laid to Husband

May 7, 1947
Bell Gardens

Miss Ruby Arnold is just a no-good meddler! Why, if J.D. Pullian, 28-year-old cabbie residing at 6000 Fostoria St., wanted to terrorize wife Marguerite, 24, and little Alene, 7, Corrine, 6, and Louise, 4--well, it was his family and he could damn well do what he pleased!

Marguerite knew better than to make a fuss, even after he blackened her eye two nights ago, beat her up again last night, and punctuated it with a blast from his double-barrel 12-gauge shotgun at the wall over the bed in the front room where the Pullian females were cowering.

This morning after Alene went to school, J.D. locks the littlest ones out of the house so he can get some shut-eye. Next thing you know it's noon, and that Arnold woman who rents the trailer in back has called the cops! Deputies search the house and find the shotgun (and some missing plaster), along with an icepick in Pullian's pocket. Marguerite told everything once they got her down to the Sheriff's East L.A. substation. Phooey, J.D. insisted. They just had a little spat, that's all, and he'd merely shoved his wife. Well, the charge is felony wife beating, and J.D. Pullian remains in the County Jail today.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Murder, Suicide of Couple Seen

May 6, 1947
Los Angeles

The Dorsey house, 6042 Romaine Ave. Usually so quiet, but not today. The dog just barked and barked, and no one came out to walk him. A neighbor finally called the police, who were maybe already wondering why 67-year-old William Dorsey, employee of their traffic division, hadn't come in to work. Inside they found the reasons: 65-year-old Bernadine, shot through the back of the head as she sat knitting in the front room; William slumped on the divan; the revolver where it fell. Colleagues told the usual tale of longtime ill health and general despondency. One hopes they found a home for the dog.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Monrovia's Pet Seal Dies of Poisoning

May 5, 1947
The community's children were inconsolable today as word spread of the death of little Oscar, the baby seal that three policemen found wandering on a street several weeks ago, and which had become Monrovia's unofficial mascot. Officers were working on finding Oscar a permanent home in the Recreation Park wading pool, but failed to protect him from dining on a meal of fish served on a plate that was believed to have been liberally sprayed with fly poison. The unofficial verdict is accidental death.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Toy Balloon Lodged in Throat Causes Boy's Death at Party

May 4, 1947
Long Beach

A child's birthday party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Gale, 2283 Grand Ave., turned grim today when six-year-old Wayne R. Wilson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Wilson of 2263 Grand Ave., collapsed outside the Gale home. Mr. Gale and Elmer Alterman of 2282 Grand Ave. rushed the child to Community Hospital, where Dr. John A. Saltman extracted the offending matter--a small rubber balloon Wayne had been given as a party favor. The boy could not be revived.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fire Threatens Historic Midtown Office Building

May 3, 1947
Los Angeles

A spectacular daylight fire nearly consumed the famed Bradbury Building, Third Street and Broadway, today, but it was saved by the concerted efforts of eighteen fire companies under the supervision of Fire Chief John Anderson. Crowds gathered in the streets to marvel as ladder trucks supported firemen climbing into the burning top floor offices of the Los Angeles Curtain Manufacturing Co. on the building’s Third Street side.

Credit for saving the historic building, constructed at a cost of $500,000 by mining pioneer Lewis J. Bradbury fifty years ago and immediately famous for its grill work, goes in part to courageous elevator operator Minnie Epp, 62, of 123 E. Ave. 35, who remained at her post to ferry firefighters up to the scene of the conflagration. There were two injuries, to fireman Joe Stovall, whose right foot was cut by an axe, and to building employee Gleason Burks, who was struck by a falling hose and knocked from the fifth floor to the fourth, but fortunately suffered only a bruised shoulder.

B.J. Erwig, owner of the curtain company, estimated damages at $8000-$10,000. The cause of the fire is not known.

In other news, it appears 15-year-old Esther Yvonne Brooks is going to be able to keep her nose, which was cut off when she was thrown through the windshield in an auto accident on April 21. The nose, which was missing for more than two hours, was found by Sheriff’s deputies searching the wreckage, and rushed to Wilshire Hospital, where it was grafted back on the young lady’s face. Plastic surgeon Dr. G. J. S. Rambo is cautiously optimistic that the graft will take, and Miss Brooks, of 706 E. Arbor Vitae St., Inglewood, should be back to her old nasal activities by early summer.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Man Wills Son $10 As "Payment For Beating"

May 2, 1947

Last January 7, Robert C. Sweet told his namesake son that it was high time he supported himself, his fiancee and her two children, rather than expecting his father do so. Junior responded with his fists, and the next day the old man went to his lawyer and drew up a new will. That will was filed for probate in Superior Court today, with the novel bequest of $10 to Robert Jr. as "payment for a wonderful beating." The remainder of his small estate was left to his widow Hazel, on the condition that she give none of it to Robert Jr. The elder Sweet resided at 304 N. Canyon Blvd., Monrovia, and the pugilistic scion at 930 Monterey Street.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Caretaker Held in Baby Case

May 1. 1947
Los Angeles

All Mrs. Florence Owens wanted was a place to leave 18-month-old Dale and 3-month-old Margaret while she was at her new job--the one she had to take after separating from her husband, the merchant marine. Mrs. Marian Billingsley seemed nice enough, and she said Dale and Margaret would be no trouble; she'd just watch them like she watched the old folks already parked in her nursing home at 1327 El Segundo Blvd.

And so Flo dropped her little darlings off on April 15 and worked two weeks straight, never stopping to visit, even though she lived just five miles away at 1600 Redondo Beach Blvd.

But give a neglectful, overwhelmed mom some credit. When she did finally stop by, she immediately noticed evidence of torture on her eldest tyke-- the scarred ears, the scratches, the welts and bruises on his hips and back--and rushed him to the Sheriff's Vermont substation. Dale was taken to Torrance General Hospital, and Mrs. Billingsley to County Jail on charges of child neglect and unjustifiable punishment of a child.