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September 16, 2007 |  6:19 am



Sept. 16, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_0916_grito Franklyn West Storer, 50, woke up on a Saturday morning to discover that his beloved 16-year-old daughter, Mary Alice, had taken a fatal overdose of sleeping pills. In despair, he also took a fatal overdose.

Mary had lived with her father since her parents' divorce and in her brief life, developed a love of classical music, so Franklyn bought records for her, about $1,000 worth, which police found scattered around the home. Before he killed himself, Franklyn placed a few autographed pictures of Mary's favorite classical composer around her body, The Times said.

His sister, Lucille Miller of National City, found the bodies in the Storer home at 5750 Camerford Ave. after becoming alarmed by two letters from Franklyn saying that he was afraid Mary would kill herself and that if she did, "there would not be anything for me to live for."

Beyond that brief, tragic story, The Times offers no explanation of what happened. Was Mary a performer? An aspiring composer? We simply don't know. But a further search reveals at least a few details.

California death records say that Franklyn was born in Ohio and reveal that his wife's maiden name was Bettencourt.

He doesn't appear in the 1929, 1936 or 1938 online Los Angeles city directories, but is listed in 1939 as living at 511 S. Wilton Place, apparently an apartment house.

Franklyn took out a legal notice in The Times on Nov. 14, 1940, saying that he would only be responsible for his own debts and the vital records for March 13, 1942, list a divorce action by Franklyn W. Storer vs. Victoria B. Storer.

According to the 1942 Los Angeles city directory, Franklin W. Storer was an assistant electrical tester at the Department of Water and Power and was living at 5722 Waring Ave., precisely one block from the death scene. Eliza C. McElwain, widow of J.W. McElwain, was also living at that address. Because it was during World War II, she could have been a landlady.

The 1956 street directory only lists Franklyn as living at 5750 Camerford.

The Social Security Death Index has nothing on Franklyn, but lists a Victoria B. Storer, born Aug. 30, 1913, died Jan. 14, 2002, in Turlock, Calif.

Unfortunately, none of these fragmentary details explain the tragedy. We can only speculate.

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And in the classical music/suicide genre we find from Dec. 29, 1939