Coroner: Elderly woman, man found dead in Hacienda Heights home were stabbed

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Coroner’s officials have identified an elderly woman who was found stabbed to death inside her Hacienda Heights home along with a yet-unidentified man.
JUNE COLLINSJune Collins, 84, and the unidentified male victim were discovered dead on the afternoon of Oct. 7 inside Collins’ home in the 16600 block of Carriage Place in Hacienda Heights.
An autopsy determined both victims had been stabbed to death, and both deaths have been ruled homicides, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said Wednesday.
The second victim, described only as a man, remained listed at the coroner’s office as John Doe.
When found by deputies asked to check on the elderly resident, both bodies were already well into the stages of decomposition, slowing the investigation, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said investigators the slayings occurred about a week before the victims were discovered.
No suspects had been identified Wednesday in connection with the mysterious double-homicide, and the motive remained unclear. But detectives continued gathering clues.
“It’s moving forward. Slowly, but it’s moving forward,” Corina said.
There were no signs of forced entry at the home, the lieutenant said. But inside, “There were signs of struggle.”
It was unclear what type of sharp weapon was used in the killings, Corina said.
Robbery was not believed to the motive, investigators said.
Collin’s Toyota Corolla was discovered missing from her home. It was found the following afternoon, abandoned in the 12100 block of Magnolia Street in El Monte, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Detectives continue looking into how the car ended up in El Monte, Corina said, and the car was being examined by crime lab investigators.
The identity of the man found dead along with Collins remains a mystery.
Detectives had not yet linked any missing persons’ cases to the double-homicide investigation, Corina said.
Many people would often come and go from the home, he said.
Collins had a son who was in jail at the time of the killings in connection with an elder abuse case, officials said. Collins had a restraining order against him.
Officials and neighbors said deputies had responded to the home several times in the past to deal with her the son when he lived there,.
Associates of the son, including drug addicts, continued to show up even after the son was jailed, sometimes staying there, authorities said.
Capt. Tim Murakami of the sheriff’s Industry Station said the elderly woman had dementia, which the frequent visitors appeared to be taking advantage of.
Because of the ongoing issues at the home, deputies would regularly checked on Collins, the captain said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO of June Collins, 84, of Hacienda Heights courtesy of the California DMV.

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Shotgun slaying of Norwalk father and son remains a mystery

0718_NWS_WDN-L-NORWALK-SHOOTFOLO1NORWALK >> Detectives continue seeking clues into the mysterious shotgun slaying of a father and son found fatally shot inside their Norwalk home earlier this week.
Walter Vicente, 49, and Andrew Vicente, 24, were found shot to death shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday at their house in the 12300 block of Gettysburg Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials said.
A family member, who was a son to the older victim and brother to the younger victim, found the men shot to death when he stopped by to visit, Lt. Dave Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. It was unclear when exactly the shooting took place, though it was believed to have been within a matter of a day or days.
No suspect has been identified in the double-homicide, and the motiveremains unclear.
“There’s nothing apparent that indicated it was a robbery,” Coleman said. The shots were fired from within the house, however there were no signs of forced entry into the home.
Walter Vicente’s body was discovered in the living room of the home, while Andrew Vicente’s body was found in an adjacent bedroom.
0718_NWS_WDN-L-NORWALK-SHOOTFOLO2Neither the father or son appeared to have no ties to gang acivity, and investigators were aware of no one who would want to do them harm, the lieutenant said. Walter Vicente was a plumber, he said, adding that he believed his son was also involved in the trade.
“It’s a mystery,” Coleman said. “We just don’t have much at this time. We’re obviously going to get into their personal lives.”
Detectives were also still trying to determine the last time someone saw the father and son alive.
An autopsy determined the men both died from shotgun wounds to the head, and both cases were ruled homicides, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
An exact time of death was not clear, however coroner’s reports indicated a neighbor reported hearing possibly gunfire shortly after 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Anyone with information was aksed to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTOS of Walter Vicente, 49, of Norwalk (above) and Andrew Vicente, 24, of Norwalk (below) courtesy of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Deputies to canvass Pomona neighborhood seeking witnesses in La Verne double-slaying


POMONA >> Sheriff’s homicide detectives investigating the mysterious slaying of an Elderly La Verne couple in their home late last year plan to canvass a Pomona neighborhood Friday for motorists, pedestrians and train passengers who may have key information to help solve the case, officials said.
Armie “Troy” Isom, 89, and wide Shirley Isom, 74, were found fatally stabbed and beaten on Dec. 26, inside their home at the end of secluded Roughrider Road in an unincorporated near La Verne, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
The case remains unsolved.
““We have not determined a motive,” Lt. David Coleman of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said last week.
“We’re still working all the clues that came in,” the lieutenant said. “We have multiple leads we are following.” Coleman declined to discuss what those leads were.
The search continues for a man spotted by neighbors walking away from the Isoms’ sprawling estate shortly before the couple was found mortally wounded.
The man, who has since been labeled a suspect in the killing, was last reported to be walking south from the isolated neighborhood where the victims lived. But he has not been found.
In an effort to develop new leads in the investigation, and track down the mysterious suspect, deputies plan to pass out fliers to drivers in the 3100 block of Garey Avenue in Pomona Friday.
The flier will include a composite sketch of the suspect previously released to the public in early January, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. The canvassing will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the 3100 block of Garey Avenue, just south of the Isom’s neighborhood.
The operation is being held on the same day of the week as the killing, and covering the same time of day. Troy and Shirley Isom were discovered slain shortly after 1 p.m. on the day after Christmas.
“As people come through, we’ll hand out fliers and ask them a couple simple questions,” Lt. Andy Berg of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
Deputies will ask drivers and pedestrians if they were in the same area on the afternoon of Dec. 26, and whether they’ve seen the man pictured in the sketch.
Deputies will strive to delay motorists as briefly as possible, Berg said. Deputies will not be looking for traffic violations, he said. They will not even ask driver’s names, unless they have information pertinent to the double-homicide investigation. Homicide detectives will be on-hand to interview anyone who may be able to help.
At the same time, deputies will be aboard commuter trains on the nearby San Bernardino Line passing out fliers and questioning passengers, Nishida said. No trains will be delayed as a result of the canvassing.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
— Staff writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this report.

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Death of Pasadena toddler under investigation

This from the Star-News: 

PASADENA — An autopsy is scheduled to be performed today on a 2-year-old Pasadena boy found dead in his crib yesterday, county coroner’s officials said this morning.

Some preliminary results could be available late this afternoon, officials said.

Police received a frantic call from the boy’s mother saying the toddler was unresponsive. Paramedics rushed to the home in the 500 block of North Summit Avenue on Tuesday morning, but were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive the child, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have not said whether they suspect criminal conduct. Their investigation coincides with a push by LA county supervisors to better monitor the county’s child welfare system.

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LAPD bomb squad seen travelling east on 10 Freeway toward ONT

Earlier this afternoon, a convoy including the LAPD Bomb Squad and several blacked out SUVs was spotted travelling at a high rate of speed east on the 10 Freeway toward Ontario.

There’s been plenty of speculation as to why, but no answers from LAPD, other than a terse statement that the crew was headed to a sensitive situation.
Several Twitter users caught sight of the convoy as well including:
Any thoughts?
Here’s some newsroom speculation:
  • A situation at ONT, which is technically part of Los Angeles
  • Escorting a high level dignitary
  • Taking Michael Jackson’s body somewhere.
What do you think?
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Moe chimp news


Esquire ran the definitive Moe story on its Web site today. The tale, by Richard Shapiro, tells the story of Moe through the words of St. James and LaDonna Davis. It’s a touching tale much of it familiar to residents of West Covina and the San Gabriel Valley.

Here’s the final paragraph of the piece titled “St. James, LaDonna and Little Moe: The Worst Story I Ever Heard.”


After all the years St. James and LaDonna shared with Moe and everything they’ve endured, how could he be gone forever? How could they not someday see their boy again?

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Sanford Clark and the Wineville Chicken Ranch Murders

Reporter Ruby Gonzales put together an interesting piece about Sanford Clark for today’s papers.

Clark, the nephew of Gordon Stewart Northcott, was ultimately sentencedto five years at Nelles for his role in the case that led to the deaths of Walter Collins, Lewis and Nelson Winslow, and an unidentified latino youth.

Here’s the top of Ruby’s story:


Jerry Clark, 17, was on his way to a hockey game when his father, Sanford, pulled the car over and revealed a shocking past.

When he was 15, Sanford Clark became the main witness against his uncle, Gordon Stewart Northcott, who kidnapped boys from the Southland in the 1920s then molested and killed them at a chicken ranch in Wineville.

Not only did his uncle rape and beat him, Clark told authorities he was made to help dispose of the bodies and, at gunpoint, ordered to shoot one of the boys.

“Sanford said he never planned to tell Jerry the story,” said Anthony Flacco , who is writing a book about Clark and was at the Whittier Museum last week doing research.

But he said Clark was worried reporters working on an unrelated killing near their town would unearth his past. His concern was that his children would hear about it from others. His fear didn’t materialize.

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Christine Collins mystery solved

From the mailbag:

Mr Girardot,

Just wanted to let you know that the fate of Christine Collins has been solved.  Collins is listed in the death index under Christin Collins.  This linked her name to a Kathleen Collins in the social security death index.  Collins indicated that this was an alias she used after the high profile trial.  The time period fits and I’m fairly certain it is her.  Collins died on 12/8/1964.  There is also an interesting back story.  At one point in time, she was staying with James C. Borton in 1930.  Borton took in Collins because he and her father were members of the Knights of Pythias.  She also spent sometime in Oakland Californa in the early 1930’s, with friends they met when the family was in Hawaii.  At one point in time she took a telephone number under an assumed name as well. As it turns out, her sister, at  one point in time, was listed on a passenger manifest as visiting Hong Kong in 1930, in the midst of the events involving her son.  She is listed under race as Octoroon.  Even in my work as an Archivist, I have never come acrossed that term.  It’s a guess, but I believe that Aimee Dunne was of Chinese Origin, which I also thought was an interesting note. 
I’m planning on taking the research further and write a book.  I’ve spent too much time learning about this family, so I need to justify it somehow!


Chris Garmire
California State Archives

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The fate of Christine Collins


I’ve had several emails this weekend asking about the fate of Christine Collins’ the real life woman played by Angelina Jolie in Clint Eastwood’s “The Changeling.”

Perhaps the best answer is on Roxanne Adam’s blog, “Dispatch from the Third World of Los Angeles.” Adams came across some records that indicate a Christine M. Collins died in 1996 in a tiny East Bay community. Here’s a portion of the entry:

One Christine M. Collins, born on April 24th 1900, died in 1996 in Lafeyette, a city located in Contra Costa County, California; this is the only official public record I could find. Since her son was nine years old when he disappeared in 1928, it’s entirely reasonable that she was born in 1901.

And the photo caption:

Walter Collins’ mother, Mrs. Christine Collins, who confronted Gordon Northcott in jail concerning her son. “I did not kill Walter,” he told her. “I believe you,” she replied. Later, when Arthur Hutchens claimed to be her son and she did not accept him, she was sent to a psychopathic ward. She later filed suit against the police for this action.

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Morning fish wrap

ALHAMBRA — Two women in Alhambra were robbed Tuesday night within an hour of one another while walking down the street, according to police.
ALHAMBRADetectives have not been able to interview the victim of a recent shooting but hope to question her tomorrow, authorities said.

PASADENA — What happened to the most electrifying man in Pasadena?

SACRAMENTO — Lawmakers headed back to Sacramento to deal with budget shortfall.

SAN PEDRO –Divers searching the ocean floor Tuesday discovered what they believe is the boat owned bythe brother of U.S. Reps. Linda and Loretta Sanchez.

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