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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Death in La Mirada

 

1957_0501_electrocute

May 1, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_0501_thompson All he wanted to do was keep their dog, Roxy, out of the flowers.

Two weeks ago, aeronautical engineer Neil Thompson, 30, rigged up an electric wire to shock the boxer if it got near the flowerbed of the home he shared with his wife, Mary Lynn, and their young daughter, Pamela, at 14342 Figueras in La Mirada.

He plugged the system into an outlet in the garage and staked a wire around the flowerbed. But he didn't have the right kind of fuse, so he improvised one, assuming that a 40-watt light bulb would provide enough resistance to reduce the current so it wasn't lethal.

When Thompson came home from work that night at 6:30, he went into the garage and noticed that the system's warning light was on.

Instead of finding the dog, he discovered his wife lying face-down on the ground in a pool of water with the her chest across the wire and a bump on her head. She had been watering her flowers with a hose when she received an electric shock.

 

1957_0501_wire

He called the Fire Department, but it was too late. When she was declared dead at Carobil Hospital,  Thompson became hysterical and was placed under sedation. They had been married three years. Until their daughter was born, Mary Lynn Thompson had tutored deaf children at the John Tracy Clinic.

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